Written by Mike Andrews, Managing Director at NovaStor Corporation

It’s the time that resolutions, predictions and industry prognoses are made for what’s to come in the year ahead. This article outlines NovaStor’s 2019 predictions in the backup and data protection industry. We’re already ankle deep into the year, so my first prediction is that 2020 is closer than we think.  Putting off decisions is not a decision, you don’t get many second chances when it comes to protecting your data.

CYBER CRIME

Ransomware will not take the year off. Like the common cold, several solutions help with treatment, but there’s no absolute cure.  The reason is that ransomware is always evolving and finding new ways to attack.  In 2019, the attacks will become more widespread, reaching well beyond their favorite healthcare and banking targets.  No company at this time should feel safe without a proper plan in place.  Backup can play a huge role in getting you back to a point in time before you’ve become infected – make the 3-2-1 backup strategy a part of your planning if you haven’t already.

DOWNLOAD A RANSOMWARE PREVENTION CHECKLIST

CLOUD STORAGE

Backup to cloud is no longer just “nice to have” but will continue to grow in importance throughout 2019.

  • Industry regulations like HIPAA get enforced more frequently and businesses cannot ignore breaches without severe penalties. It’s much less expensive in the long run to be proactive about compliance.
  • One of our friends at a major cloud provider defines their business model as a race to zero.  The cost of cloud storage continues to tumble, and this only benefits the consumer.  Just a few years back the cost of cloud storage made this level of protection unfeasible.
  • The cost of running an internal IT team drives more businesses to work with trusted cloud partners to handle their environments. They understand best practices and the importance of offsite data protection and typically deliver IT services as part of their standard contract.

DATA GROWTH

I often refer to companies being “overwhelmed and underfunded” when it comes to IT and backup.  This condition not only affects small business but can be felt across all industries and sizes (including Fortune 500 companies).  IT teams are getting smaller as their responsibilities expand.  With data doubling annually, it makes it nearly impossible for budgets to maintain pace with corporate and regulatory requirements. Finding a vendor that will be in lockstep with your budget planning will be key and the ability to lock in pricing for a length of time will become a matter of survival.  

DATA RETENTION

Everyone knows the golden IRS rule that states that businesses need to maintain 7 years of financial data.  Nearing 2020, regulations are dictating that health records need to be available for 20+ years.  AI initiatives (like autonomous vehicles) will create Exabyte’s of data. Active shooter applications are being absorbed by schools. The list goes on.  Solutions will be needed that let you make changes to how you store data without vendor lock. Cloud is becoming cheaper but may not always be feasible. In many cases archiving to a tape library makes the most fiscal sense for regulatory compliance, but what about accessing data that has been archived? (NovaStor’s answer to this is “Active Archive”.)  You’ll need the ability to archive data, but with policies that determine if certain data needs to be recovered more quickly. This means having near line access to your critical data without compromising data that you don’t plan to view again, but may have to at some time.  Just as important is the ability to purge data when it is no longer required – saving you substantial cost and minimizing your liability.  The days of the retirement “gold watch” are behind us and we know that people eventually move on or retire.  Being able to manage policies centrally takes the guesswork away from the person who will be dealing with this issue 20 years from now.

DATA PRIVACY

2018 introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the European Union with implications for companies in the United States.  This is just the beginning new data privacy regulations (Example: The California Consumer Privacy Act will be going into effect in 2020). New standards make company obligations more complicated. Businesses will be challenged to integrate best practices for data privacy into their existing applications. They will need to flexibly respond to customer demands to avoid penalties while also maintaining business productivity. The expertise required will mean getting data protection experts like NovaStor involved early to address both existing and future issues.

BUYING LOCAL

The end of 2018 set the stage, with so much uncertainty in the world, from government shutdowns, to technical espionage, data breaches (like Equifax), trade wars, and increasing tensions with China and other parts of the world.  Backup and security software is at the heart of all data, and these solutions are made to protect information from getting into the wrong hands. But what if the wrong hands are developing this technology?  With the US government already banning technologies from companies with ties to Russia and strategically blocking acquisitions (like Broadcom’s attempt on Qualcomm) it only stands to reason that corporate America will follow suit. The value of having local, non-call center, technical support to help build your backup strategy should also not be underestimated.

It’s time to turn the light off in our crystal ball and hope that you have benefited from our list of 2019 predictions.  We look forward to hearing your feedback on these and other forecasts that you may have.  The folks at NovaStor and I wish you the greatest levels of success and security in both your personal and business lives.

Mike Andrews, Managing Director, NovaStor Corporation
Mike Andrews, Managing Director, NovaStor Corporation