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Archive360 2019 Predictions: The Cloud Will Lead to Greater Business Transformation in 2019

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Bill Tolson, Vice President of Marketing Archive360

The Cloud Will Lead to Greater Business Transformation in 2019

For 2019, leading analyst firm Gartner emphasizes the importance of enterprises continuing the move toward making more innovative use of the cloud-and partnering with cloud service vendors to acquire the needed capabilities to leverage the cloud's unique benefits-noting that this strategy can help companies achieve a true digital transformation.

"Enterprises no longer have the luxury of taking a long time to make these changes," Gartner states. "Cloud, as well as other technology drivers, lower the barrier to entry for new competitors. But cloud can accelerate time to transformation and even make it possible for mature companies to behave like a startup."

Gartner describes transformation as "changing the behavior of people, systems, and ‘things' (IoTs) to deliver business outcomes," noting that achieving this is a top priority for forward-thinking CEOs, whether focusing on digital business, the customer experience, or other business strategies in 2019. With this predictive industry insight in mind, it's important for enterprises to know exactly how the cloud can transform their business in the New Year and beyond. There are two main areas to watch for in the coming year:

1. Securing and Protecting Data in the Cloud with ‘Isolated Recovery'

The continued battery of ransomware attacks that filled headlines in 2018 has justifiably led many companies to reconsider their data protection strategy for 2019. With new and growing threats being planned by ransomware hackers as we speak, the types of traditional backup-such as tape and disk-that have been old standbys for decades are no longer sufficient. One reason is that because of the cyclical nature of backup processes, time-delayed ransomware can quickly infect the backup server. Savvy ransomware hackers know this and can cause intentional delays to ensure the corruption of all backup systems. 

The upcoming year will see the spotlight turn toward a new method of data protection: Isolated Recovery-or the recovery of known good/clean data-which can be set up in a cloud enviroment. This strategy relies on the principles of isolation and "air gaps," and involves using an isolated storage repository - either physical or electronic, with all users restricted except those who have proper clearance. Isolated Recovery involves generating a regularly created "gold copy" pre-infection backup and completely isolating it so the data remains pristine and available for use when it's needed. The only way to ensure that you have a truly uninfected backup is to regularly generate isolated gold copies of a company's most mission-critical data, so you have a clean backup to use if and when ransomware strikes.

In 2019, it will be important for enterprises to fully understand the concept of air gaps and how they relate to the cloud. Cloud storage systems are connected by design for IT access, yet an air gap requires a storage system that's disconnected from the outer world. That's why the "gold copy" status of the backup is such an important requirement for an isolated recovery system.

So the new strategy to secure and protect data in the cloud and guarantee the gold copy status of a backup stored there will be to write it to immutable storage, where it will be "isolated" due to its immutability. Expect to see a growing number of organizations with company critical data-including the financial and healthcare sectors-begin using regularly scheduled, separate backups saved to Azure WORM storage as part of their disaster recovery planning to protect against ransomware.

2. Using the Cloud for Machine Learning  

In 2019, enterprises will gain a long-term business advantage by investing more into AI/machine learning to fully automate many decision-making processes i.e., taking the vagaries of human interaction to achieve more accurate and consistent outcomes. A key part of the AI/machine learning inflection point is the availability of  self-learning or "unsupervised" machine learning capability in which the computer literally trains itself based on the data set provided, with no need for lengthy  training cycles. This is key for adoption of automated categorization, more efficient records management, and higher and more nimble security.

In preparation, companies should ensure that all corporate data is centrally stored, secure, and available-by regularly consolidating individual data silos so that predictive information management security can be realized. The potential benefits are just now being understood by much of application developer market. Predictive information management allows enterprises to address the challenge of managing large volumes of unmanaged employee data, which generally represents around 80 percent of an enterprise's data.

Unsupervised machine learning capability for automated data management are poised to become the holy grail for information handling, but overall cost is a potential issue. To keep costs low enough to make machine learning capabilities available to all, it will be imperative for cloud platforms (like Microsoft Azure) to offer machine learning technology as an included service, and in reality, Microsoft has indeed taken care of this.

In preparation for the year ahead, enterprises should seek a cloud-managed storage and archive solution for compliance and long-term data management built on Azure Cloud Services. It's already possible to find a highly secure, low-cost, legally compliant enterprise storage repository and archive to store and manage records, unstructured data, and legal data sets. Using a solution that's built on the Azure Cloud also means that Microsoft's machine learning technology is already available to all Azure application developers. Predictive information management are coming relatively soon, so 2019 is the perfect time to start moving your data to the Azure Cloud.


About the Author

Bill Tolson 

Bill Tolson is Vice President of Marketing for Archive360 ( He has more than 25 years of experience with multinational corporations and technology start-ups, including 15-plus years in the archiving, ECM, information governance, regulations compliance and legal eDiscovery markets. Prior to joining Archive360, Bill held leadership positions at Actiance, Recommind, Hewlett Packard, Iron Mountain, Mimosa Systems, and StorageTek.  

Bill is a much sought and frequent speaker at legal, regulatory compliance and information governance industry events and has authored numerous articles and blogs. Bill is the author of two eBooks: "The Know IT All's Guide to eDiscovery" and "The Bartenders Guide to eDiscovery." He is also the author of the book "Cloud Archiving for Dummies" and co-author of the book "Email Archiving for Dummies." Bill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from California State University Dominguez Hills.

Published Tuesday, November 13, 2018 7:23 AM by David Marshall
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