We currently live in an age where the world is run by technologies that were partly designed decades ago, when networks and their security requirements were much less complex, writes Gary de Menezes, country manager southern Africa at NetApp.
In addition, the rise of mobile devices and the Internet of Things has radically extended the data center and consequently increased the need for back-up and recovery of data circulating within the networks.
From a CIO’s perspective, this challenge is daunting. For example, will any technology or indeed any financial investment keep a company safe from attacks? Is complete safety possible? How is it possible to determine the right level of IT spending to secure an infrastructure? To IT professionals wrestling with defining a data protection strategy, the abundance of choice can be overwhelming. Disk, tape, private cloud, hybrid cloud, backup-as-a-service (BaaS), storage-as-a-service (STaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and various permutations of those architectures are now available. This wide-ranging choice can complicate a technology-selection process, and makes securing the individual technologies more complex.
In any case, it is clear that improving data backup and recovery is a priority for IT groups in organisations of all sizes. Without it, they might be able to collect data – but they will not able to create value from it.

Getting security is hard enough when you control all the resources. Moving them to the cloud, are we just making the job more complicated?
By its very nature, security is something most organisations will want to keep in-house rather than turning over confidential data (even if encrypted) to a cloud provider. At the same time, CIOs cannot afford to ignore cloud as a solution for their backup-and-recovery woes: exponential data growth, runaway costs, legacy systems that cannot keep pace. Public or private clouds offer near-infinite scalability, deliver dramatic cost reductions and promise the unparalleled efficiency they need to compete in today’s 24/7/365 marketplace.
Organisations have individual risk tolerances which will contribute to what type of solution they choose with regards to ‘on premise versus cloud’. In any case, as a prudent IT strategist, each CIO requires airtight security and complete control over data, at any time. Enterprises are searching for the right blend of availability, security and efficiency. The answer lies in achieving the perfect balance of on-premises, private cloud, and public services to match IT and business requirements.
To realise all benefits of a hybrid cloud strategy for backup and recovery operations, CIOs need to manage the dynamic nature of the environment – seamlessly connecting public and private clouds – so they can move their data where and when they want, with complete freedom. This begs the question of how to integrate these cloud resources into the existing environment. This is a challenging task. And it has always been a roadblock for companies seeking a simple, seamless and secure entry point to cloud.

Changing the game
In this context, NetApp’s AltaVault cloud-integrated storage is a game changer. The enterprise-class appliance lets CIOs leverage public and private clouds with security and efficiency as part of their backup and recovery strategy.
AltaVault integrates seamlessly with the existing backup software. It compresses, de-duplicates, encrypts and streams data to any chosen cloud provider. It then caches recent backups locally while vaulting older versions to the cloud, allowing for rapid restores with off-site protection. This results in a cloud-economics-driven backup-and-recovery strategy with faster recovery, reduced data loss, ironclad security, and minimal management overhead. Combined with data protection solutions, this removes roadblocks for businesses to operate efficiently, while keeping IT spending plannable.
Moving data to, from and between several clouds then creates the opportunity for organisations to safely run their business. And with peace of mind, CIOs can focus more on strategically growing the business.