World Backup Day PSA: No one cares about (or relies upon) your data more than you do

Happy #WorldBackupDay !

In COVID-times, we often hear about “the New Normal” to remind us that things won’t entirely go back to the way that they were. But for World Backup Day (WBD), I’d like to remind you of an “Old Normal” that has not changed – your data is still YOUR DATA.

I’ve been in IT and specifically within Data Protection for over 30 years, and one of the only truths that have stayed consistent across all the changes in server OS’s, server/storage architectures, physical-to-virtual, and now everyone’s journey to the cloud is that your data is still YOUR DATA and therefore must be backed up.

  • If not being able to recover from an IT outage puts your organization out of business, it is just YOUR ORGANIZATION that goes out of business … not your cloud provider; not your reseller partner; not your consultant; just you.
  • If not being able to restore important data costs you YOUR JOB, you are the only one fired … not the IT professional at your service provider and not your IT architect who doesn’t actually touch a server keyboard anymore and probably not even your boss; just you.

Simply put, no one has as much to lose as you do when it comes to insufficiencies in your data recoverability. It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned that your “partners” and “extended teams” are; your organization’s data is still your responsibility.

  • Even if you are leveraging Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) where you have a team of dedicated professionals who are experts in not only backup but resumption of IT processes for the sake of your company … it is still your organization’s data and still YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Those other folks genuinely do want to “help you” with your recovery, but whether you are able to recover (or not) truly only affects your organization (not theirs).
  • Even if you are using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) like Office 365, which is in fact natively durable (against site failures), those platforms do not back up your data because that is not their job. SaaS ensures that the service is always running; you are responsible for retaining previous versions (backups) for months or years, regardless of whether you are running on servers or services.

This isn’t meant to be a dire warning or a “soap box”, just a reality check – no matter what changes in IT from Servers/Storage to Services/Microservices … there are some “old normal” tenets that still apply:

  • Users will continue to make mistakes, so you need previous versions (like backups)
  • Regulations will continue to require retention, so you need long-term copies (like backups)
  • Bad actors will continue to do bad things, so you need air-gapped copies that can are assured to be clean
  • Nature will continue to take down cities, power grids, and entire regions, so you need remote copies that are ready to be run for the sake of the broader organization

There is a lot of “new normal” out there, in life and in IT … and it is true that we aren’t “going back” to racks and racks of 2U and 4U servers, stacked on top of SANs (unless you are running private cloud architectures at scale). But even then, most PlatformOps scenarios would tell you that core IT will be increasingly focused on architecting a flexible framework of underlying infrastructure, so that a broader variety of developers and application owners will self-manage their provisioned portions of a “new normal” hybrid ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the “old normal” of you still have to back up your data still applies.

Happy World Backup Day

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