World Backup Day was first introduced in 2011. Only a year earlier, Google, Microsoft and Amazon launched their cloud services. It was a time when most IT functions were still overseen by technology generalists, including the now mission-critical task of backing up data. It was easy enough back then; IT just had to backup to tape at night, keep a copy or two around for a month and send another offsite for archival storage.
But those times are long gone. Threats have grown in volume and sophistication. Backup has seen great advancement – even the standard 3-2-1 rule has added a digit or two. Simply put, the day of the IT generalist has given way to cloud experts and those deeply schooled in cyber security, specialists that have really become table stakes for sizable companies today.
Why the need for disaster recovery specialists?
There’s cost. According to the Veeam Data Protection Report 2021, the average hourly toll of downtime is $84,650, the typical outage taking around 79 minutes to resolve. There’s threat increases. Ransomware alone, which can lock up a system for days, doubled in frequency in 2021 according to the “Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.” For the same year, IDC reported nearly 40% of global organizations had become attack victims.
Then there’s the latest wrinkle, Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) – providing resources so anyone can get in the game – which will undoubtedly increase attacks and drive even more demand for talent. In particular, that means backup and disaster recovery (DR) specialists are needed that can advise on data protection strategy, architecture, recovery options, compliance and a whole lot more.
Disaster recovery services on target or overkill?
Consumers expect online services to run without a hitch 24×7 and it’s an expectation that’s carried into business. IT now automates critical processes where moments of downtime can result in major problems, whether it’s a financial trading firm that needs to make split-second decisions or utility operators that must have always-on control over infrastructure.
Workloads can be tiered out with varying levels of urgency assigned recovery time and point objectives (RTOs and RPOs). However, low RTOs are costly to keep and it makes little sense to attribute a tight objective to infrequently used, low priority data. But this, in turn, can require a blend of solutions, so IT skills must be particularly drill down.
Finally, backups today are often automatically sent to the cloud offsite. Simple enough until you attempt to recover from the cloud. While big public cloud providers make it cheap and easy to upload and store data, getting it back out for restore can result in substantial egress charges.
Specialists ensure IT is on target and services are not overkill.
The uptime lifeline
Access to talent is difficult, new advancements require education, threats continue to evolve and require constant training. These are a few more reasons why enterprises are increasingly outsourcing backup and DR to managed service providers (MSPs). That, and the fact that this is why we exist and what MSPs are designed to do.
An IT pro might do a failover or two in their entire career – we handle multiple ones on a monthly basis. We also recover large amounts of data on a daily basis. We understand that creating and carrying out a recovery plan requires precise sequencing, networking and storage expertise. The sequencing alone – the ability for one app to perform being dependent on another – is a hard lesson many enterprises are learning to this day. As for understanding vendor best-practices, advancements and threats, education and training are a part of MSP life.
MSPs are the uptime lifeline. They’re as necessary as all specialists who maintain skills to keep pace with the world around them and stay ahead of technology challenges, so their customers can focus on what they do best, too.