With the accelerating growth of data continuing unabated, many organisations are faced with backup solutions that are unable to keep pace.

The result is the creation of gaps in the backup and recovery strategy, which in turn could easily result in risk and downtime – to the detriment of the business.

When looking at renewing existing solutions or upgrading to a new one, there are many factors that need to be considered.

Here, the benefits should always outweigh the cost and effort of changing a solution. As a result, businesses need to determine whether or not their existing solution can handle both current and future business needs.

Aside from the rampant growth of data, a number of external factors are forcing the hand of business to consider new technology options, including the cloud and multi-cloud environments, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and the proliferation of mobile applications. Data management has therefore become key. Any solution needs to be able to transform data into business information and provide a unified copy of data for both management and governance capabilities, especially with ransomware attacks on the increase.

There are a number of questions organisations should address in order to determine if a solution will continue to support their business needs.

Does your existing solution meet current and future requirements?

Many businesses have a mix of different solutions in play, as a result of legacy systems and the need to bolt on new capabilities as requirements change.  An important question to answer is whether or not these solutions can actually deliver on requirements now and in the future. With the current infrastructure, are you able to manage all of your data? Is there an opportunity for consolidation and process optimisation? Are there duplicate solutions that could be reduced? In order to meet the demands of today’s data environment it is imperative to simplify solutions, lower the total cost of ownerships and ensure a solution that delivers a ‘single pane of glass’ view to protect, preserve and archive data.

How simple is the solution?

The unfortunate side effect of an environment with multiple solutions is an increase in both cost and complexity. Separate solutions for each need and environment each require their own management, maintenance and often their own skill sets, especially when it comes to legacy systems.

Simplifying the day to day operations and infrastructure can reduce both cost and complexity. The data centre, applications and the data environment are all becoming increasingly complex, so driving simplicity into this from a management perspective makes sound business sense. All-in-one solutions deliver a single view of data across the board for enhanced visibility, and they have the added benefit of being easy to deploy and scale out to handle the growth of data.

Is it future proof?

Flexibility is the key to future proofing, as the data environment is prone to change. Businesses may migrate to a new hypervisor, introduce a new application, move to a different cloud or leverage the capabilities of multi-cloud, and backup and data management solutions need to be able to cater to this.

Data management solutions need to be able to accommodate the unpredictable nature of the future. They must be multi-cloud ready and enable organisations to leverage new technologies including AI, ML, Kubernetes, containers, blockchain and more. It is also important to ensure a data management solution incorporates Application Programming Interface (API) and workflow integration and can be incorporated into the overall data strategy, to ensure it can accommodate business needs around data.

Do you understand the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?

Cost is always an important discussion, around any technology, and data management is no exception. When understanding the TCO, many factors need to be considered. This includes the time spent on backup and recovery management, administration, patches and support issues, as well as the infrastructure requirements and costs.

Organisations should examine how easily scalable capacity is, as well as whether or not their solution incorporates deduplication to reduce capacity requirements. It is also essential to understand the risks and associated cost of downtime and how long recovery will take. Ease of migration between storage layers is another factor to consider. Businesses should look for a solution that reduces TCO and provides a cost-effective data management system that expedites disaster recovery and reduces the cost and risk of downtime.

What are the risks of changing versus the risks of staying the same?

Ultimately these questions come down to one single one: do the risks of changing your solution outweigh the risks of keeping your current system in place. Data readiness needs to be the ultimate goal of backup, recovery and data management – your solutions should enable your organisation to leverage data to drive business value. Simplicity, lower cost and modern features are key to handling data requirements now and in the future.