Deloitte made two significant technology predictions for 2015. The first was the idea of the re-enterprisation of IT, which suggests that there is a shift in the way enterprises are adopting technology, says Demetri Petropoulos, head of business development at Global Micro Solutions.
Whereas in the past, enterprises would adopt new technology before consumers did, the opposite is now true. With the rise of wearables and the Internet of Things, consumers are bringing new devices into the workplace every day, compounding IT management and security challenges.
The second prediction was that we are moving into an era of software-defined everything, bringing with it a host of benefits – by virtualising entire operating environments, enterprises can reduce complexity, improve performance and agility, and lower costs.
Stick in the mud
However, many South African enterprises are still running complicated, legacy environments comprising mainframes and tape backup solutions that don’t accommodate protection of the myriad of network attached devices. This has hampered their ability to move their infrastructures into the cloud or to embrace hosted services and other new technologies. The inability to back up and protect data on workstations, laptops and mobile devices, meant that all information stored on a device was lost forever if the device went missing.
To overcome these challenges, enterprises would adopt hybrid strategies to back up new software-as-a-service (SaaS) and user environments using their legacy infrastructure. This meant they had to manage multiple backup products – one for each data platform such as desktops, servers, databases, virtualised environments and public services.
But there is a new way of doing things. New backup and disaster recovery as a service solutions can back up, in one location, a multitude of different platforms – both on-premise and cloud-based. Backups run automatically and continuously, rather than the usual process of manually backing up data every evening or on weekends. Modern SaaS solutions also give enterprises the ability to backup all workstations – laptops, mobile devices, tablets – and to remotely wipe them if they are lost or stolen. Aside from the cost and IT management advantages already mentioned, SaaS hosting comes with the added benefit of data encryption and regulatory and governance compliance.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect, however, is that these solutions dramatically reduce the recovery time and recovery point objectives – with a seven-second failover in some instances – to ensure businesses are up and running again in no time, should disaster strike.
No hiding from the mobile enterprise
Over the next year or two, many enterprises will move their server workloads into a hosted environment, and there will also be incredible growth in the number of mobile devices accessing the company network. Staff want to be able to access line-of-business applications and messaging and collaboration technologies on their mobile devices, wherever they are, and while enterprises are starting to accept this, they’re also starting to realise that if they don’t move into an environment that allows them to provide users with this kind of work style, they’ll not only be left behind, but they’ll also find it increasingly difficult to back up these kinds of devices.
It makes sense to have a backup and disaster recovery solution that removes the guesswork of how much data an enterprise will have to back up in future, and how many devices it will have to secure. Hosted solutions grow with the enterprise, giving it what it requires at any point in time, without the risk of over- or under-provisioning resources, as is the case with legacy environments.
Enterprise IT gets more complicated every day. By moving infrastructure to a hosted environment, organisations don’t have to worry about the management overheads, skills, support and multiple vendor contracts that come with a self-managed environment. Enterprises should start having these conversations with a service provider, and should prioritise SaaS as part of their IT strategies going forward. It is vital to start discussions around the concepts of Backup as a Service, Data Recovery as a Service, and in particular, true Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Having the ability to back up data, however important, requires a solution and service partner that will provide continuity to your business in the case of a disaster. Those that keep their heads in the sand may not survive.