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Disaster recovery is still the sore point of digital transformation

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Faced with images of an entire data center devoured by flames, a few weeks ago in StrasbourgInternet users from all over the world have suddenly remembered the golden rule in case of emergency: always have a backup, a safety copy of your IT infrastructure, which allows it to be restored in case of problems. The question is purely practical, and is even more central one year after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced industries and small and medium-sized enterprises to reallocate important portions of their budgets on a digital transition essential to protect operations. of your business. This is what emerges from the Veeam data protection report, a company specializing in disaster recovery, according to which 90% of companies have “significantly increased” the use of cloud services to cope with the difficulty of managing their infrastructures locally (on premise, headquarter).

Generally considered more reliable, especially in the face of an ever-increasing need for security against vulnerabilities and external attacks, the cloud guarantees the ability to quickly remotely access the necessary operational resources, while reducing the digital perimeter subject to errors or targets. of a cybercriminal. “But it should not be considered a sufficient or risk-free solution,” he explained to The print Alessio Di Benedetto, Veeam’s European Sales Manager: «How we protect ours remains central asset, with planning that allows the use of the cloud as part of a strategy that always guarantees the possibility of restoring a service or guaranteeing continuity to the company’s infrastructures “.

According to the report that collects the testimony of over 3 thousand experts in the sector (of which 300 in Italy), it is the pressure of the error rates linked to the integration between cloud systems and infrastructures that create greater difficulties for companies. they were not previously designed for such a transition. Problems that IT managers often face in emergency situations and with the aim of ensuring the continuity of services. This is referred to as an ‘availability gap’ – the difference between an application’s recovery speed and the expected speed to ensure there are no interruptions in productivity – a problem reported by 81% of companies. However, this is accompanied by a “protection gap”, which measures the difference between the frequency of backup execution and the amount of data that you can afford to lose, reported by 82% of companies.

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However, recovery operations do not always work, and in some cases an incorrect management of security procedures can make system copies a useless element to face the crisis, causing waste of time or money. According to the data collected by Veeam, 14% of the data is generally not backed up and in 58% of cases the restoration of the same fails, thus causing disruptions and interruptions in operations.

“There are two main reasons why this happens: backups fail or lag behind their allotted time, and secondly, they don’t meet SLAs,” explains Danny Allan, the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). . The reference is to Service level agreements, that is the parameters of the quality of a service that the supplier would be obliged to honor, disregarded in 40% of cases, compared to 31% in 2019. “When a backup fails, the data is not protected and the impact caused by data loss or unexpected downtime can be enormous: from the loss of customer confidence to the reduction in the value of the shares, ”Allan points out.

But far from being a purely technical issue, the problem produces negative effects above all on the company’s digitization capacity and on the reliability that is recognized by its customers, the sector’s decision-makers report. Over the past 12 months, the research shows, the vast majority (95%) of companies experienced unexpected service outages and a quarter of their servers experienced at least one unexpected outage in the previous year. Incidents that are feared could affect the trust of “customers, employees and stakeholders”.

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“The main problem remains that of preparing the services so that they interact correctly with the data recovery and disaster recovery solutions,” adds Di Benedetto. The example is that of robot vacuum cleaners, which require you to work in a house furnished in such a way as to allow them to pass under furniture and between chairs: “In the same way, digitization must integrate the protection of systems and specific needs to respond to an IT problem ”, Di Benedetto comments. “For a long time the IT sector was considered a cost item, while today it becomes an enabling asset of the service offered in itself: it is a change that is taking place above all on the cultural level, as well as on the industrial one, and which requires a new way of imagine your own infrastructure, ensuring continuity, particularly necessary in a period that sees above all a widespread diffusion of microservices, which make work faster but which sometimes, due to the way they are structured, suffer from greater exposure to risk if this has not been previously foreseen and analyzed “.

Who has responded best to the health crisis
First the emergency, then the consolidation: companies that, in the face of the pandemic, had to accelerate an already planned digital transformation process have had less difficulty than those who had to start this path from scratch, emerges from the report. However, 30% of digital transformation leaders admit that their initiatives have slowed or disrupted in the past 12 months. The barriers to digital transformation can be diverse: IT teams too focused on maintaining operations during the pandemic (53%), reliance on legacy systems (51%), and a lack of IT skills to implement new technologies (49%). What is certain is that, with the onset of the health crisis, the race to the cloud was significant, a resource that made it possible to protect company operations and to which 91% of companies referred since the first months of the pandemic. Now the goal remains to proceed along the path of digital transformation, which will involve the global production sector in particular in the next twelve months, in which it will be difficult to foresee significant changes to the current situation. However, the main obstacle remains the economic uncertainty deriving from the health crisis, which worries 40% of IT decision-makers, and will significantly affect the digitalization strategies of services.

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