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StorageCraft 2021 Predictions: 4 Ways Data Storage Will Be Different in 2021

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

4 Ways Data Storage Will Be Different in 2021

By Shridar Subramanian, CMO at StorageCraft

Predictions are an inherently risky proposition. After all, they rarely pan out. How many people in 2019 predicted that we would have a global pandemic in 2020 that would dramatically change how we live, work, and play?

With that in mind, we're not swinging for the fences with our data storage predictions because this year taught us that absolutely nothing is predictable. Instead, we believe the following four observations will continue to gain traction in the coming year.

1: COVID-19 will change the data-management paradigm for years to come

Security, backup, and recovery across remote locations have long been a significant challenge for organizations. Of course, this was true even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The problem has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and remote working because data is now further distributed and has compounded vulnerabilities.

The reality is that we won't be going back to the office anytime soon. What's more, many companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Dropbox have announced that their employees can permanently work from home, even after a widely adopted vaccine.

As a result, companies need to manage and protect data at these edge locations effectively. Specifically, they will need to put greater emphasis on simple-to-implement, low-cost, cloud-based solutions that can effectively back up and protect data in remote environments.

2: "Zoomification" will put an unexpected strain on storage capacity

In the COVID-19 era, companies are generating more data than ever. Just think about all the Zoom calls that are now being recorded, shared, and ultimately stored. Many organizations don't yet realize that video storage costs can run into millions of dollars annually. They will soon face a wake-up call as they outgrow their existing storage space and scramble to meet far greater data-storage requirements. 

The same is true for educational and healthcare institutions. For instance, schools are dealing with exponential growth in the amount of data they handle as students and teachers increasingly embrace digital content, cloud services, and online apps. Meanwhile, the rise of telemedicine and the need to access, store, and protect patient data is putting added pressure on health systems across the globe.

The long-term impact of COVID-19 will be a perfect storm of video sprawl and runaway storage costs. Cloud storage costs that start at a few hundred dollars a month may well balloon to a few hundred thousand dollars annually in the course of a few short years. To succeed in this data-intensive reality, organizations need an efficient and affordable way to expand their storage needs while improving their data backup and recovery.

A new scale-out approach to storage will be essential. Such a system will enable organizations to purchase storage upfront at a reasonable price and then scale-out that storage cost-effectively over time.

3: Data storage will embrace zero trust

For years, the famous security maxim was "trust by verify." But now organizations embrace a zero-trust approach to security. They entirely remove trust from the equation and assume that everything-including users, endpoints, networks, and resources-is untrusted and must be verified. Only minimum permissions are granted at just the right time to get a job done, and then those permissions are revoked immediately after completing the assignment or transaction.

A similar approach will soon be embraced when it comes to data protection. Indeed, a new study by Enterprise Management Associates revealed that, given the rise of remote work during the Covid-19 pandemic, 60% of IT buyers have fast-tracked their deployment of zero-trust polices and technology over the last seven months.

Take, for instance, an employee who is requesting to have data recovered from their laptop. What are the real-time credentials certifying that this particular employee can restore a specific machine? What permissions were contained in the backup image, and do those permissions need to be changed to reflect current requirements? If IT is restoring a machine that was set up a month ago, who is ensuring that no one else has access to that machine?

A zero-trust approach to data backup and management will help answer these questions while further protecting enterprise data.

4: Data storage and backup will get more intelligent

Organizations large and small are now collecting massive amounts of machine learning and IoT data. For instance, think about all the data Tesla is currently collecting from its hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road as part of its effort to deliver real autonomous driving. Many companies are now doing the same, collecting and analyzing oceans of data.

But here's the burning question: If your company depends on collecting and analyzing data to operate and succeed, what happens if that data is not fully backed up and easily recoverable? What happens if you lose any of that data? For a company like Tesla, any issues with data could result in inaccurate algorithm engines and off-kilter heuristics that could potentially put lives at risk.

Most companies are thinking mainly about data analysis and much less about data backup or security. But as data increasingly moves from analysis to production environments, that's when protection becomes critical. Cutting-edge storage tools increasingly rely on AI and machine learning to automate the data backup process.

Given the exploding size of enterprise data, these intelligent tools will become vital for maintaining an efficient backup process that can quickly and effortlessly react to changing requirements while saving untold hours on manual backups. 

Final thoughts

In our increasingly distributed work environment, immediate access to data and online collaboration is a must for every business. In 2021, organizations must evolve and enhance their digital environments and make it more seamless to operate remotely. However, the challenge is that these remote work environments generate massive amounts of critical data that needs to be adequately protected and stored. By adopting a modern approach to data storage, organizations can more effectively transform their business and thrive in this new normal.

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About the Author

Shridar Subramanian 

Shridar Subramanian is CMO at StorageCraft. He has more than 23 years of experience in information technology. Shridar joined StorageCraft with the acquisition of Exablox in January 2017. Prior to StorageCraft, Shridar was the VP of marketing at Virident Systems, a leading provider of PCI SSDs, and he also was the senior director of marketing at Monosphere Inc., a storage virtualization software company.

Published Monday, December 14, 2020 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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