New Year's resolutions for those in IT

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Ah, yes. Nothing like the crushing pressure of New Year’s resolutions to finally address everything we’ve been doing wrong for the past 12 months! (Or 24 months or 36 months or 48 months... who’s counting?) For many, the resolutions for the upcoming year will undoubtedly include healthier diets, more exercise, and less time staring at smartphones.

Of course, if joining the panicked masses overtaking the elliptical machines at the gym isn’t your style, think about the 'digital fitness' of your enterprise instead. Here are some things to keep in mind for better data practices in 2016 that won’t feel like pulling teeth (and speaking of dentistry, flossing regularly is always a great resolution too).

Disaster Recovery: Not a Question of If, But When

It seems like everyone’s moving to the cloud: tier two or tier three workloads are viewed as increasingly critical, and require disaster recovery plans in order to meet ever-stringent SLAs. However, there’s often not enough budget to support DR in the traditional, replica-hardware-at-a-secondary-site sense.

As such, organizations have adopted a utility model -- where they can pay only for what they use instead of making a large capital investment.

If your enterprise has made or will make the switch to cloud, keep in mind that this means you need to properly care for the new storage location. So many organizations forget about backup and recovery, thinking it’s built into the replication offerings of a cloud provider, but it’s often not.

New Year's Eve: Where Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot. Unless, of Course, You Have an Audit

Many organizations assume preserving their data forever means they have an "acceptable" records management policy. Well, you know what they say about that whole "assuming" business. (Actually, just as a general tip for 2016, let’s recommend phasing-out assuming anything data-related or otherwise.)

Unfortunately, most end up wishing they had preserved the right information for the right length of time. Remember, just because your company lawyer created your records management policy, don't assume that it’s rock-solid.

Unless your counsel truly understands information governance, consider tapping the expertise of a trusted archiving partner to craft retention/disposal policies, compliance procedures, and a method for "legal holds" in the event of litigation, audit, or governmental investigation.

An Optimist Stays Up Until Midnight to See the New Year In. A Pessimist Stays Up to Make Sure the Backup Completes

New Year’s Eve shouldn’t be the only time you think about your data backup and recovery! Or the time you think about it at all, frankly. Plan ahead! It’s an age-old mantra, but it’s tried and true: be prepared.

Going forward with data backup and recovery, plan for vast amounts of data. Develop a redundancy plan ("backup of the backup"), ensure security is a high priority, craft a smarter retention plan, and plan for easy access. And keep it on your mind throughout the year.

Oh, and one more thing: your data management solution should cover the full range of data sources, file types, storage media, and backup modes -- in other words, recover anything from anywhere.

In Conclusion...

In general, organizations need to remember to plan for backup and recovery that can span on- or off-premises, and physical, virtual, or cloud, etc, without implementing a bunch of new point-products that cause management silos.

And remember, if you’re someone whose enterprise is skating-by -- despite having less-than-stellar backups -- you still shouldn’t just shrug off these IT resolutions. The start of a new year is a great time to hit "reset" on those bad habits and get some good ones in place -- and limiting the chances of your organization being totally annihilated by a lack of disaster recovery plan sure is a good foundation to build on for moving forward.

Brian Mitchell, senior manager, Product Marketing, Commvault.

Photo Credit: Thinglass/Shutterstock

Brian-MitchellBrian is focused on enterprise applications from Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. Previously, as NetApp Advocate #1, Brian was awarded "Outstanding Contributor by a NetApp Partner" in 2012 and the first "Distinguished NetApp Partner SE" in 2008. Brian has also been featured in numerous publications (including the NetApp 360 blog, the NetApp Tech OnTap newsletter, and the cover of Storage Magazine).

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