Data backup gives way to data protection and cybersecurity

Data backup is no longer just about operational fallback, new research has revealed. Instead, businesses need to consider it a new kind of cybersecurity

Business leaders need to stop thinking about data backup and start thinking about data protection, according to experts who point out that newer technologies have made traditional backup redundant.

As traditional methods of protecting information continuously change to meet emerging challenges, global IT research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group has published a new industry blueprint, Data Backup Moves Closer to Data Protection, to help businesses modernise their data protection strategy for the current and evolving climate.

Data backup has traditionally been in the operational domain of IT, say Info-Tech researchers, while security teams have been responsible for threats to data from malicious attacks. As these attacks have become more sophisticated, backups have come under threat, and vendors have had to incorporate new features into their software to address attacks and protect data.

With many backup and recovery companies now referring to themselves as data protection (DP) platforms and with a list of new terminology and features representing a new paradigm in the backup world, staying on top of the new terms and features is complex. 

"There was a time when backing up data required separate premises-based infrastructure to ensure protection from data loss," says Darryl Levesque, Principal Research Advisor at Info-Tech Research Group. "However, things have changed with modern data centres today. It is time to stop thinking about data backup and start thinking about data protection. Newer technologies are making backup redundant."

Info-Tech's blueprint explains that understanding where backup stops and data protection starts can be difficult as the products evolve. The firm recommends that technology leaders keep up and understand the changes in the backup marketplace, considering what the new features can offer in terms of additional functionality. Info-Tech also stresses the importance of recognising which of those functions suits the appropriate needs and then comparing the offerings of the different vendors to determine the best fit.

The company recommends that the new features offered by backup vendors be used as additional tools in the data protection armoury rather than replacements for existing tools such as endpoint protection or effective security practices. 

To do this, Info-Tech offers several data protection features that business leaders should focus on:

  • Continuous Data Protection (CDP): A data protection method that backs up information as it changes, without schedules.
  • Zero Trust Framework: Works on the principle of least privilege. Providers are leveraging the framework for backup and recovery.
  • Air Gapping: Isolates one or several backups through various methods so malicious actors cannot access them.
  • DR Orchestration: Provides a facility for automated, sequential recovery of systems after a disaster.
  • Threat Prevention & Detection: Detects malware during backups and interrogates existing backups.
  • All the Other Cloud: Enables support for Kubernetes, Office 365, Docker, Google Workspace, and many others.
  • Cloud to Cloud: Copying from one provider to another; often used for SaaS applications.

These new features can help mitigate data loss risk and enable an environment to failover much more efficiently in the event of a disaster, says Info-Tech.

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