How is government IT modernization like going to the beach? In both cases, you need to take action to protect yourself from getting burned. Data Protection is the ‘sunscreen’ for the data center!
In other words, updating your data protection strategy goes hand-in-hand with IT modernization efforts. Regardless of where the data lives – whether it be on-site, in physical servers, virtual servers or in the cloud – the question of data protection must be addressed.
When it comes to your protection strategy, there are three key principles for agency leaders to consider:
The first principle of data protection is efficiency. In terms of a modernized system, the goal is to increase performance while decreasing the amount of data to send across the network. Reducing infrastructure and overall complexity is also an expectation. The Cloud can play an important role in this regard.
As agencies shift to cloud and hybrid environments, data protection is aided by adopting technologies that move less data and are cost-efficient. Key building blocks include deduplication and leveraging object storage. Ideally, agencies should have the flexibility to move their data where it makes the most sense, with security (such as encryption) present in all phases.
Another principle around data protection is simplicity. Legacy backup infrastructure contributes to much of the complexity and cost within federal data centers. These solutions scale horizontally, requiring the addition of media servers, disk and tape to keep pace with growing data sets. A modernized environment prizes simplicity, and next-generation backup appliances are easy for agencies to install and manage. The end goal is reduced investment in infrastructure while still meeting the service-level agreements (SLAs) that agencies expect.
Again, the cloud can be very useful in meeting this goal. Traditionally, government agencies have relied on tape storage to meet federal record-keeping requirements (three to seven years, in most cases). From a data management perspective, this has introduced complexity and risk that can quickly spiral. The cloud can help minimize the on-premise infrastructure needed to manage this type of aged data and allows for more safeguards in terms of access.
The third principle for data protection is transparency. Data protection should be tightly integrated with the application so that it is transparent to the application-owner or end-user. Self-service and automation are key tenants of this approach.
Application owners desire control of the lifecycle of their data. When it comes to data protection, using a third-party backup application to gain access to the requested data is not preferable. In a modernized system, that approach is reversed – data protection is integrated into the application itself. Power returns to the end-users – the application owners and vAdmins. They have visibility into where their data lives, and they control their backup and recovery.
It is important to note that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to data protection. With so many different use-cases with different RTOs/RPOs, no single solution can provide the capability to meet all expectations and technology requirements. A customized and consultative approach is often required.
Hear more from Brad Montgomery on how government can implement sound data-protection strategies in his interview on Federal News Radio, part of Carahsoft’s “Innovation in Government” campaign.