Digital transformation is quickly becoming a matter of survival, not just for the largest enterprises, but for midsize companies as well.
A recent study by Oxford Economics found that more than half of midsize companies see digital transformation as a core business goal. Why? Because they believe digitisation can improve business performance for a wide range of functions, including more efficient business operations and stronger financial performance.
Data is at the core of any digital transformation initiative. It provides the foundation for understanding where the business is positioned and for making informed decisions about the direction in which it is headed. As organisations expand, it is crucial that their technology systems develop in tandem, so they are able to best support, facilitate and protect business growth. Many companies, SMEs in particular, find that as they grow, the volume of data they send, receive and store grows exponentially, whether that be in the form of employee data, customer data or simply administrative content.
Businesses of all sizes are in urgent need of the right tools to help them navigate explosive data growth, as well as the right resources to help them manage, store and protect all that data. If they don’t invest in storage architecture as they grow, they are at risk of out-growing existing systems which can lead to potentially catastrophic consequences, including data loss and increased vulnerability to ransomware attacks. Unfortunately, ransomware attacks are now almost inevitable, with the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018 finding that 47 per cent of businesses have experienced breaches or cyber-attacks in the last 12 months. This means storage systems also need to provide continuous monitoring, encryption and data retrievability options.
If digital transformation is not handled correctly, it can quickly become a digital disaster. Businesses simply cannot afford to take shortcuts, but many mid-market companies lack the resources and skills necessary to execute a successful transformation. Unlike larger enterprise organisations, they may not have access to the funds required to hire full-time employees responsible for data protection, storage, and management.
At most large companies, for example, data storage and management has become a specialised niche for IT teams. However, without the budget for such dedicated resources, midsize companies may choose to deal with data management themselves, without the proper resources. If not dealt with correctly, this dramatically increases the likelihood of data loss and threatens the potential for business growth.
The good news is that a disruptive technology has emerged that fills the data protection gap for midsize companies, allowing them to execute on their digital transformation initiatives without fear of failure. That solution is converged data protection and secondary storage that eliminates backup and storage silos and scales out seamlessly to help manage explosive data growth.
The beauty of a converged data platform is that it can provide much needed data management relief to midsize companies for a fraction of the cost of typical enterprise solutions. When looking for a converged data protection platform, these companies should look for:
1. Zero complexity: The converged platform must be able to consolidate the components for managing storage, local backups, onsite and offsite replication, and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) all in a single place. Simple data storage, recovery management, and optimised workflows are key attributes to look out for.
2. Powerful data protection: The converged platform must deliver industry-leading recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) for premium data integrity and business continuity. It should also offer “set and forget” data protection that is SLA-based and policy-driven. This gives the assurance that every machine is recoverable according to a specific backup, retention, and replication SLA.
3. Scale-out storage on the go: The converged appliance needs to provide a pool of scalable capacity for either primary or secondary workloads to eliminate costs associated with over-provisioning and disruptive forklift upgrades. Specifically, it needs the ability to expand storage dynamically and scale granularly - adding one drive at a time, or multiple nodes within a cluster - all without any configuration changes to the application.
4. Total business continuity: In the race to zero downtime, the cloud is very important as it can be used as another tier of storage, offering near limitless object storage capacity. Furthermore, the cloud can be a replication location, providing an off-site backup. It can also be a recovery location, allowing disaster recovery to the cloud and testing in the cloud using a copy of the on-premises production environment. The converged solution should offer tight integration with vendor cloud services (and third parties) to make recovery of the entire infrastructure quick and seamless, while offering the highest SLAs with one throat to choke.
Converged data protection platforms can help eliminate complexity and significantly reduce costs associated with primary and secondary storage. For midsize businesses that want to embrace digital transformation and avoid digital disaster, that is nothing short of priceless.
Florian Malecki, International Product Marketing Senior Director, StorageCraft
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