Time for the channel to step in on data protection

Data protection processes have been around since the beginning of IT yet few organisations are satisfied with their data protection and data recovery. Not only are the explicit requirements becoming ever more onerous, but users expect even old or infrequently accessed data to be instantly available.

Common sense dictates that the best possible protection can only be required for certain subsets of information. A recent study by the University of California at Santa Cruz showed that 90 per cent of data stored to network-attached storage (NAS) was never accessed again, with another 6.5 per cent of the data only accessed once more.

Yet organisations must ‘protect’ their data appropriately, within the expectations of their users and any regulatory body with a vested interest.

Research also shows that few organisations have a complete picture of just what data they have and who is using it for which purpose.

Many IT departments do not have specialist storage professionals and are struggling to understand where some of the new solutions might fit into their data protection plans. And should the organisation be looking to make use of continuous data protection or archiving solutions, never mind virtualisation?

Here the channel can seek to make an impact. Provide quantifiable, suitably empirical, assessments of data protection and recovery requirements using the right tools and processes. ‘Discover’ the data in the enterprise and then categorise it by importance and appropriate management policy. Suitable metrics will vary by organisation.

The channel can teach IT professionals and business users about the solutions available and how they can be exploited. Demand will grow for some form of managed services for ’sophisticated‘ data protection systems, especially where skills and staff are stretched.

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