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Druva 2018 Predictions: Moving to Cloud and Data Management as a Service

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Rick Powles, VP at EMEA and Dave Packer, VP of Product and Alliances Marketing, Druva

Moving to Cloud and Data Management as a Service

The cloud is becoming a dominant platform for application deployment and delivery, as well as for hosting business data. As more companies start adopting hybrid cloud strategies, there will be a number of shifts in how they have to approach managing data. So what will 2018 hold?

Prediction 1: Ransomware will continue to develop and threaten businesses.

Malware attacks won't go away, and companies will keep running the risk of losing data. Uber was the latest to be hit by a data breach, while ransomware incidents hit companies large and small, from Nissan and Renault through to multiple National Health Service (NHS) trusts. Enterprising attackers that manage ransomware outbreaks may even turn to blackmail.

With GDPR threatening fines for poor data privacy and protection, businesses may feel it is safer to pay off an attacker than risk a breach going public. However, this approach is wrong. Prior to May 2018, when the GDPR will go into effect, companies should be preparing how they will manage data across the business in order to keep it secure. By keeping separate copies of all data, companies can protect it from unauthorized encryption and from being used in the event of an attack.

Prediction 2: GDPR will force better data management practices.

Alongside ransomware, preparation for GDPR will be the biggest area of focus for all IT teams that work for businesses with customers in the European Union (EU). The main goal for GDPR is that all companies should treat customer data as a valuable asset.

This should be obvious - since sales to customers pay the bills and makes a company; profitable; however, some businesses don't invest enough in keeping data secure and protected. GDPR will ensure that all activities around customer data follow best practices for privacy, security, and respect.

Companies must look at both the big picture as well as the details regarding how they handle data. On the detail front, this involves the IT team auditing where employees create and store data, so that all the right steps are applied to manage that data over time. On the big-picture front, this involves bringing all the relevant teams together to discuss how customer data is handled across the business. Working with marketing, finance, and legal teams, IT can put the right data-management processes in place.

Prediction 3: Understanding cloud contracts will force more companies to improve their data protection.

More companies are moving to cloud-based software like Office 365 and Salesforce. However, these shifts can sometimes cause businesses to miss important data-protection considerations. As with most things in life, it's a case of reading the small print.

For traditional on-premises applications, data protection is a well-understood requirement. Backing up emails and files can be done in the background. However, when moving a service over to its cloud equivalent, companies have to check that they have the appropriate data protection level in place.

Most cloud-application providers will have some form of disaster-recovery service for data. However, these services are often not aligned with traditional on-premises solutions. Before you move to a Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud-based application, make sure you know what is included in the service agreement and how long it will take to recover data in the event that something goes wrong.

Protecting your data is easier in the cloud. However, do not assume that the cloud will automatically cover your needs.

Prediction 4: Data management as a service will grow.

Finding a consistent approach to data management across a business can be difficult even when you just have one set of applications in a single location. It can be even more challenging to determine the best data-management approach when you have multiple locations, multiple ways of delivering applications, and multiple service levels.

Data Management as a Service (DMaaS) can help make this easier. DMaaS looks at how you can consolidate data protection and management for multiple platforms, tools, and locations in one place, and then run this over time to meet your specific needs. This should include collecting and consolidating both raw and extended metadata from various sources (e.g., file servers, virtual machines, endpoints, and SaaS applications) and then creating a secondary, golden copy of this data in the cloud.

As more companies choose "as a service" applications to support their operations, data protection and management will have to follow. This change can ensure that companies keep their levels of data protection consistent regardless of where the data is created or what it will be used for. DMaaS should also ensure that the relevant requirements for privacy and compliance are in place and followed.

Prediction 5: Cloud for DR vs. DR for cloud

Public cloud services like AWS and Azure are growing rapidly due to a combination of aggressive pricing, strong roadmaps for functionality, and ease of use for developers. As more applications are deployed and moved into production on the public cloud, it's also worth checking that data management rules are keeping up. For many developers, rules on data protection and compliance will be lower on their list of priorities compared to speed of delivery and security.

Similarly, many companies are choosing the cloud as a platform for their data protection in order to reduce their costs and improve their disaster recovery (DR) strategies. However, it's important to distinguish between using the cloud for DR and the method that you use to protect your cloud services against loss.

A commitment to the public cloud has to be matched by similar commitments to data protection. For example, are data sets created on EC2 or hosted in S3 being adequately protected? Is this information being stored in other locations to prevent disasters from affecting service levels? In other words, are making sure that you aren't putting all your eggs being in one basket?

Whatever approach you take, bear in mind the old maxim "2n + 1." This refers to redundancy, which in the case of data management, means the number of copies of data that should be kept as well as the mediums on which this data is stored. When you use the cloud, it's easy to store data across multiple zones or across multiple cloud service providers.

Prediction 6: Virtualized instances will move to the cloud.

Deals struck between public cloud providers and on-premise IT infrastructure players are supporting the migration to the cloud. Thus far, VMware on AWS was the largest official deal, and Microsoft has announced support within Azure for running VMware on bare metal instances. With large private VMware farms in place, many companies may question the need to spend money on their own hardware when the same service is possible in the cloud.

In our research, we have found many VMware admins looking to move to cloud. About 90 percent of survey respondents stated they are planning to move by 2020, while 47 percent stated that AWS was their preferred destination. This means that about 78 percent of organizations will have a hybrid environment with both on-premise IT and public cloud services.

For more-traditional IT teams, the role for cloud is continuing to grow. The commitment from major industry players should help that growth speed up over time.

Prediction 7: Machine learning will evolve from the next big thing to business as usual.

There was a rash of artificial-intelligence (AI) product launches from the major software companies in 2017, all with the aim of demonstrating how the use of machine learning and AI will become embedded within applications in the future. While this was great for raising awareness of the potential for AI, the fact that most of the work will be hidden behind familiar UIs will mean that, for the most part, all of these impressive advancements will quickly become business as usual where and when they are deployed.

Should this worry us? I don't think so. Like all technology projects, AI and machine learning will have to start small and prove themselves. Using changes in files and data to spot unauthorized activity or the start of a ransomware attack will be a great first step towards improving data management. However, while these services will be useful for IT teams, they will quickly be taken for granted.

Over time, more impressive projects will grow based on these foundations, helping companies improve their performance. However, the value will be created through better data-management services and quality information decisions that are made at the start of this journey to the public cloud.


About the Authors

Rick Powles, Regional VP, EMEA

Rick Powels 

Rick joins Druva with over 20 years of experience in sales leadership. He has a proven background of delivering significant revenue and margin growth within global software and infrastructure businesses across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Prior to joining Druva he was Managing Director UK&I at Acronis and before that held senior sales and management roles at Oracle, VERITAS/Symantec and Commvault. Rick has an enviable track record of restructuring businesses and redefining strategies to facilitate access to and growth into existing and new markets.

Dave Packer, VP, Product and Alliance Marketing

Dave Packer 

Dave has more than 20 years of experience influencing products in the enterprise technology space, primarily focused on information management and governance. At Druva, Dave heads Corporate and Product Marketing, which serves an integral role leading product definition and direction. Previously, Dave held executive positions at Autonomy Corp., Interwoven Inc., and Silicon Graphics. He was also instrumental in the product and market definition of the first widely deployed mobile device, Tablet PC, while at Uppercase, Inc., (acquired by Microsoft in 2000).

Published Friday, January 05, 2018 8:01 AM by David Marshall
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