ESG Blog: Talking Data Protection: ESG 360 Video Series
This conversation with Christophe Bertrand, part of ESG's 360 Video Series, is a reminder of the importance of data protection - especially the recovery element rather than 'just' the backup element.

Jun 29, 2018
Mark Peters   ESG Blog: Talking Data Protection: ESG 360 Video Series
Author: Mark Peters


Peters_Bertrand_360This conversation with Christophe Bertrand, part of ESG's 360 Video Series, is a reminder of the importance of data protection (DP) - especially the recovery element rather than 'just' the backup element. This may seem obvious; however, Christophe reminds us that the importance of DP is not to be measured so much as a only a necessary basic cost of doing business, BUT that - when optimized - it can actually return genuine value to the business. So, while the technologies and processes of DP's mechanics continue to improve, it is the resulting data-ROI opportunities of DP that should really be driving the business discussions and decisions in this area.

IT has probably never been more complex and demanding than today: even as approaches such as convergence, myriad clouds, containers, and software-definition (etc.) seek to make operations simpler, so to a degree such elements can also obfuscate some of the underlying subtleties and opportunities of the foundational components. After all, while it’s great to focus on purchasing - for instance - application service levels or business outcomes, some understanding of the IT elements (and considerations or choices) that contribute to those is also often useful. That is the purpose of this video discussion series: it offers ESG’s subject matter experts discussing some of the key trends, drivers, and considerations across various IT areas. We aim to do it succinctly and to deliver it in engaging, plain English - while also tying each technology area back to its eventual potential to positively impact both IT and business results. 

We hope you find this video discussion useful. We will expand - and update - the series regularly.

Please feel free to reach out to Christophe Bertrand or me, Mark Peters, to discuss any of these topics in more depth.


Be sure to watch the other discussions in this series: 

Video Transcript

Announcer: The following is an ESG360 video.

Mark: In the big, complex world of IT, it's sometimes easy to forget the basics that need to be performed to get the wonders of today's digitally data-transformed society actually delivered. I'm spending some time talking to my colleagues today. Christophe Bertrand.

Christophe: Hello, Mark.

Mark: Christophe, thank you for being here. Please, don't get offended, Christophe, that I called data protection basic, but I think that's the way many people view it. Just discuss for a minute or so what is data protection in today's world?

Christophe: That's a great question because it's evolving. It is basic, you're right, because it's fundamental, and if you forget that, you're gonna get into trouble. So it's backup, but more importantly, it's recovery and stability to protect data whether in the cloud or on-premise.

Mark: Now, you say it's foundational, and you also say it's evolving. Are the actual technologies that we use evolving as well, or is it more about the processes?

Christophe: It's both. So technologies are changing, always improving, always getting closer to the recovery point objective, which is how much data you can afford to lose to be as low as possible. This being said, it's also about the business. It's about understanding what you're protecting and really getting the right priorities in order. That's where you start.

Mark: And how do you determine those priorities? So let's say I'm someone that doesn't know enough about data protection. I've been doing this for decades. I heard a bit about doing incrementals and maybe a full backup, and I think I'm done. It's moved on a lot from that, I assume. How do you set the priorities of recovery point objectives, recovery time objectives?

Christophe: So it's very simple. It's about the business. The business will dictate what matters to them, so as a business person, you know what's critical to you. Your mission-critical applications probably deserve better treatment, more performance, better storage, well, and better recovery or recoverability.

Mark: Oh, okay. So you raised the business, which is an important thing because I wanna talk about the impact doing this right can have positively for business, but also, what about just the general cost of this? Because I presume everyone... You know, if you sit down with a chart, you'll say, "Well, everything's important, and I want no data lost, and I want everything back really quickly." Recovery, as you say, is most important. How do you really balance that? Is data protection, in other words, getting more expensive because there's more data out there, or is it becoming somewhat easier because we've got this thing called the cloud?

Christophe: Well, I think if you go back and look at the costs, it's really not about the costs. It's really about the opportunity to recover quickly. Is it getting more expensive in a sense? Yes because you're right. There's more data. You have to put more processes in place, but it's also returning a lot on that investment if you get it right.

Just think. You get hit by ransomware. You fend it off. You fell over somewhere. You keep your business up and running. How much have you saved by just doing that? And that's just the beginning. There are lots of other things going on around data classification, for example, are driven by new regulations, a GDPR, which are other opportunities to improve, so I look at it this way. Every opportunity to change is an opportunity to improve, and I think we're seeing that with data protection.

Mark: And so just to wrap things here, would you say... I already know what you're answer's gonna be, but I'd like you to expand on this a little. So what you're talking about is the data protection need not be viewed as that thing that we love to hate because we've gotta do it. But at the same time, if you do it right, it can return actual value to an organization?

Christophe: Yeah, absolutely. You're right. I mean, backup is boring. Who cares about backup? Everybody cares about recovery. Just think about the society we live in now and what I call the iPhoneization of data protection. You expect everything back quickly, maybe from an app, if you don't really think about losing data because you've been sort of conditioned to get things back quickly.

So this sort of tendency has really driven a change in how products are designed so that the IT generalist...sometimes, they're literally just out of school...can actually perform complex data protection operations so that the recovery and the recoverability can be managed by a broader number of IT folks who don't need a Ph.D. in backup anymore to leverage the great technologies we have.

Mark: All right. Well, thank you very much for your time. I think what, to me, is most interesting is that... I guess because we've used data protection and backup as the terms for so long, we do forget that other side of the equation, which is the value. And if you remember that data is an asset and you called it asset protection, then people might be a lot more interested in backup and data protection than, indeed, they should. Thanks for watching.

Christophe: Thank you.

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