The State of Data Recovery: Applications Now More Critical Than Ever

Walter Angerer (Profile)
Friday, September 7th 2012

Don’t let the headlines, the predictions, and the prognostications mislead you. The world of data backup and recovery is not changing.

It’s already changed.

Fundamentally and permanently, the role of data backup and recovery has changed, and if you’re responsible for designing and implementing your organization’s data protection strategy, the time has come to embrace that change and put into place a program that truly aligns to the needs of the modern business.

In years past, of course, those needs – the needs of the business – were different. In years past, before the business world became fully digitized, before data began growing at astronomical rates, and before critical IT services were expected to be available and accessible to users at all times, the role of the backup and recovery team was as it sounds. The objective was to make sure that the organization had at least one good copy of data that could be used to initiate a recovery in the event of a corruption or loss, and that those backups could be taken without impacting business operations.

As we all know, however, the business world has become fully digitized, data is growing at astronomical rates, and critical IT services are expected to be available and accessible to users at all times. This is the new reality of the modern business, and it’s created a new reality for those who make their living in backup and recovery – one in which the ability to rapidly restore critical applications and ensure service continuity is paramount.

Survey Reveals Changing Nature of Data Protection Concerns

A recent Quest Software survey of more than 200 IT professionals revealed that nearly three-quarters of all organizations now rank restoring critical applications alongside recovering lost data as their top data protection concerns. By contrast, less than one-quarter of respondents indicated that simply being able to recover lost data, independent of restoring the underlying application, ranks as their top data protection concern. (Even fewer still – just 4 percent of respondents – indicated that their top concern is ensuring that backups don’t impact business operations. Clearly, the window has closed on the backup window being IT’s top backup and recovery concern.)

Think about those findings for a moment, as well as the shift in data protection priorities they represent. The overwhelming majority of IT professionals surveyed now say it’s not recovering lost data alone that keeps them up at night. It’s restoring critical applications, and for good reason. Some additional findings of the survey shed light on precisely why.

Multiple Trends Driving Shift

For starters, 70 percent of respondents indicated that at least half  the data their organizations produce is now classified as mission critical. In most cases, that means IT has one hour or less to recover that data before the organization begins losing money. But that’s really only half the story. Until the employee whose job revolves around that data can resume working, the organization is still losing money, and recovering the data alone doesn’t give that person the ability to resume business operations. That requires the underlying application to be restored as well.