3 Backup Reporting and Management Tips for CIOs

December 18, 2015
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There are various factors that contribute to this, such as rapid growth, backup failures, service level agreements, and compliance issues.  Because of these factors, CIOs must be well-versed in the backup process.  In this article, you will find tips that will help CIOs better understand the vast world of backups.

There are various factors that contribute to this, such as rapid growth, backup failures, service level agreements, and compliance issues.  Because of these factors, CIOs must be well-versed in the backup process.  In this article, you will find tips that will help CIOs better understand the vast world of backups.

Failed Backups DO Happen-and Often!

Data backup and recovery systems are areas in the IT sphere that are difficult for companies to manage.  Despite the prevalence of advanced backup systems that do exist in the market today, companies still experience plenty of poor performance and failed backups, poor resource use, and unsuccessful recovery of lost data.  With directives such as HIPAA and Sarbanes/Oxley in place, “the backup problem” is unfortunately the proverbial elephant in the room for many companies, reaching the desks of CIOs and causing a necessity for understanding.  It is vital for companies to acquire a reporting and managing tool that is easily trackable and offers a comprehensive look at their backup layout.

1.     Data Protection 

Primary and Secondary Storage

As data continues to be generated, so does the need for long-term data placement that will keep information and media well-kept and protected.  Secondary storage relates to storing backup data and is generally tape-based.  Because of this fact, this type of storage is much higher in volume and is also rapidly increasing.  As this kind of storage expands, so does the need for the proper tools to appropriately manage it.  

The Complexity of Protecting Data

Protecting data is a complex job that can prove challenging for many businesses and their IT teams.  The tasks are vast and include things such as mirroring, remote replication, snapshot or continuous data protection, and disk and tape-based backup.  As mentioned above, in order for companies to keep up with the ever-growing needs in the world of data protection, management tools must be developed that match the advancement of other storage technologies.   

2.     Resource Management 

Staff Productivity

Even with the most stringent policies in place regarding data storage, business staff inevitably store sensitive data on local drives.  This makes for an extensive area that needs protecting, making true protection quite difficult.  To make matters worse, many backup products on the market offer ineffective reporting and analysis tools.  Also,  IT organizations face many hurdles as they attempt to manage mobile users and user endpoint devices.  It is essential that the appropriate tools be provided for storage administrators in order for them to control backup success of all their nodes on equipment such as PCs, workstations, laptops, and mobile devices. 

It is also important to consider the ever-present question of if an IT department is using its resources effectively and managing their funds well regarding data protection.  An affordable and efficient managing tool is a must-have in order to help companies easily answer these questions and solve a plethora of potential problems.

Budgeting and Asset Management

A helpful, yet controversial management and budgeting tool in the realm of data protection is called “chargeback.”  This is a method of directly charging users for things like the usage of networks and backup assistance, but returning those funds if they are not used, or only charging them to their specific user.  Since backup management is incredibly important but not immediately gratifying, many companies have little interest in funding more than is necessary here.  However, it is important that companies understand that they can easily overpay for storage because they don’t know who is using what, and getting that information can be tedious.  A great incentive to using this helpful budgeting method is that companies can easily discover uncounted servers if they are present, and thereby increase their monthly revenue.  

3.     Compliance / Service Level Agreements 

There is no question that in the world today, the need for efficient storage security is at an all-time high.  Various government mandates require strict regulation regarding storage security and as a result, security systems are being integrated into network systems and storage management systems alike.  It is important to note that both physical AND virtual servers need to be appropriately backed-up and secure, which makes tracking during the backup and restore operations that much more complex.  Something companies must also keep in mind in relation to storage security is the 24-7 connectedness that exists today in the midst of data center networks, applications, databases, and storage and security systems.  This makes the choice for the right backup window that much more difficult.  

With the influx in the need for security, there is also a need for legitimate backup success rates and so today, it is required of most large companies and providers who manage the backup processes of large businesses to report Service Level Agreement compliance, also known as SLA.  This agreement reports the percentages of the daily backup success rates, and may also require things such as a backup timeframe of specific nodes, and verification that the size of the data that is backed-up is appropriate in relation to backup history. 

Conclusion

Though the vendors of primary storage tools have paved the way in developing systems for primary disk storage, they are currently underdeveloped when future needs are considered.  It has been projected that digital information will increase by leaps and bounds in the coming years, making it absolutely necessary for vendors to create a substantial system that will meet these anticipated requirements.  Likewise, vendors of the secondary storage market have attempted to increase efficiency regarding management tools on their individual platforms, but they all seem to fall short as well.  None of them offers a simplified system with all of the necessary tools.  As you can see, there is great need for a system that offers relevant and comprehensive backup and storage solutions.  Storage administrators are on the lookout for a solution that will help them to simplify infrastructures with the appropriate tools.