Rethinking data protection in the age of hybrid cloud

Two business people sitting at a table having a discussion
(Image credit: Hewlett Packard Enterprise)

Data protection has taken many forms over the years, with organizations transforming their approaches to best meet their changing needs. Be it to reduce the impact of a security incident, maintain constant uptime, or any of the myriad other reasons for modernizing a data protection strategy, businesses must find a solution that meets every one of their goals. This is something that’s often easier said than done, however.

All data protection is not created equal. The age of local-only backups is long over; while they still have their place, organizations are increasingly coming to appreciate the benefits of cloud-based backups and data protections. This doesn’t mean making a hard choice between the two. Approaching data protection from a hybrid cloud perspective is by far the optimal choice for most organizations, marrying the benefits of local and cloud infrastructure to bring the fastest, most secure backups to your business in a cost-effective way.

The consequences of bad backups

The cyber security landscape is forever in flux, with threat actors continuing to evolve their tactics to secure the biggest payout for their efforts. Ransomware continues to be the prevailing threat against businesses and despite the security industry, for many years, loudly repeating the need to implement the fundamental controls that help to prevent the majority of attacks.

Data from Recorded Future shows that in the second quarter of 2023, ransomware attacks were consistently higher than they have been at any other point in the past two years. The months of April and June 2023 both saw more than 400 organizations posted to ransomware victim blogs, and May’s figures, while not quite as high, were still well over 300. 

Data from HPE’s 2022 Getting ahead of modern data threats report tells an even bleaker story. A total of 91% of organizations were vulnerable to cyber attacks in 2021, and 47% experienced ransomware attacks on at least a monthly basis. In other words, a business’ data has never been more at risk than it is right now.

If a ransomware gang gains access to an organization’s data, there are any number of options available to them. They can encrypt it through ransomware payloads, steal it and hold it to ransom, a combination of the two, or simply wipe it all - perhaps to make a name for themselves. The typical ransomware scenario, however, sees cyber criminals encrypting important files, demanding payment in return for a decryptor. The reality is that very rarely is a full recovery possible using the criminals’ own decryptor key. Horror stories abound of victims paying ransom demands, only to realize the criminals put a lot more effort into developing the encryptor than the decryptor. It’s just one of the many reasons why paying the criminals is rarely the best course of action.

The most reliable and effective form of recovery from a ransomware or data-destruction incident is to preempt an attack and invest in a robust data protection and backup strategy. This will provide IT teams with a sense of certainty that they have everything they need to react and recover quickly in the event of a disaster.

Why hybrid cloud forms the backbone of any great recovery strategy

While backups form just one part of any organization’s data protection strategy, it’s still a hugely important piece of the puzzle. The traditional approach has been to store everything in a centralized location, keeping it close to the business. This can help hasten recovery times, but it can be costly and runs the risk of local disasters such as a flood or fire destroying everything that’s valuable. Backups hosted in the public cloud can be more scalable, remotely accessible, and more easily managed, but often lack the control organizations need and often incur high costs of retrieving data.

Hybrid cloud backups marry the best of both on-premise and public cloud backup models, making for the most reliable tool in a recovery war chest. At its most basic, it refers to keeping the data your business needs in both on-prem environments and in the public cloud too.

Hybrid cloud backups offer the greatest resistance to adverse fallout from cyber attacks and thus better value for money. Even if an attack on the on-prem storage infrastructure means data is destroyed, it will still be recoverable from the public cloud. This means that, in most cases, businesses can benefit from the speed of backing up from on-prem storage, but also default to downloading all the files they need from their public cloud should they need to.

Alternatively, for a more cost-effective approach, you can keep just the ‘mission-critical’ data on-prem for fast backups of the most important files and systems in the event of an attack, and keep everything else in public cloud storage to be retrieved at will. This minimizes the need for spending big to have everything in two places at once, while also making use of the marquee benefits of both on-prem and public cloud at the same time.

The data protection partner every business needs

The breadth of a business’ data estate can be intimidating. Choosing the right hybrid cloud backup partner can be crucial in creating a strategy that makes an attacker’s job as difficult as possible, while keeping operational costs low.

HPE GreenLake for Data Protection offers businesses the opportunity to meet all of their service-level agreements (SLAs) while keeping costs low and flexibility high. The setup means businesses can benefit from elastic scale and a pay-per-use structure, allowing them to spin up all the resources they need, when they need them, and only pay for what you use. 

HPE is also on hand to help guide you through the process, backing up all your data from edge to the cloud. Unlike other solutions, HPE GreenLake’s continuous data protection (CDP) allows customers to back up their data in a concurrent way, rather than choosing allocated, scheduled times to initiate backups. It means that no matter when an attack happens, you can be sure that your data is secure in a place that allows it to be utilized again in the most efficient way.

With years of experience in helping IT teams harness the power of hybrid cloud, HPE  GreenLake experts can help customers create the perfect backup strategy that works around the clock with optimum efficiency and flexibility. For those that want to fortify their defenses further, experts can also consult on complementary services like those from Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company and disaster recovery specialist, which remove the complexity associated with recovering from a cyber attack and restore normality in minutes.

For more information, visit Turn your data into intelligence with HPE GreenLake | HPE United Kingdom


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