Continuous data protection, or CDP, is the most effective form of data protection for an organisation’s business applications and data.
“It is an imperative element for businesses choosing to utilise a modern, risk-free platform,” says Avi Raichel, CIO at Zerto.
What is continuous data protection?
Essentially, continuous data protection is “a mechanism that allows organisations to continuously capture and track data modifications, automatically saving every version of the data that the user creates locally, or at a target repository,” continues Raichel.
With this method of data protection, “writes are saved to a journal file along with the corresponding file changes. By utilising change block tracking, continuos data protection gives the ability to restore data to any point in time with remarkable granularity.”
Nico Fischbach, CTO at Forcepoint, explains that “it’s about making sure that the data in-transit and at-rest is protected (i.e. data discovery, classification, etcetera). Business should make sure their CDP is linked to their information protection and cyber security programs to make sure it doesn’t become a route for data exfiltration.”
“Continuous data protection is one part of a holistic security programme that allows organisations to ensure watertight data protection and privacy” — Francois Rodriguez, chief growth officer, Adeya
Why the need for CDP?
With traditional methods of data protection, the manual failover processes have many steps and each manual step is an opportunity for a mistake to be made.
However, “an automated failover ensures consistency and repeatability. Automation eliminates the risk of mistakes while ensuring fast, seamless and predictable recovery,” adds Raichel.
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The CDP steps: categorise, access and storage
Before implementing a continuous data protection model, Francois Rodriguez, chief growth officer at Adeya, advises organisations to separate their data into specific categories.
For example, he points to the fact that every business has secrets — products under development, customer data, contracts, financials, feasibility studies, and other sensitive information vital to daily operations. By breaking down this data into categories, organisation’s can better define who may access it.
After categorising your data, the next step is to think about how a decentralised, or remote workforce — especially relevant during the Covid-19 lockdown — will access, store, and share each category of information. Rodriguez asks; “Is encryption mandatory, or will a trusted connection suffice? Do you have more stringent requirements for mobile devices? By implementing a decentralised security structure for your remote team, you can efficiently and easily prioritise information security and user privacy.”
Continuous data protection is a form of backup that continually protects an organisation’s data — it has become increasingly popular over the years due to the increasing level of data being handled by businesses.
“Given this, continuous data protection backup makes sense for both large and small organisations. In order to get started, IT leaders need to understand the current available internal storage space, while balancing their current ability to recover data. In most cases, CDP ensures that your organisation isn’t exhausting your current disk space and, critically, works in real-time to achieve disaster protection automatically,” says Rodriguez.
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Implementing the new data protection standard
According to Raichal, implementing CDP has a few key elements, one of which is automated faibacks.
He suggests that once an organisation has an automated and well-documented failover process, they should create an automated and well-documented failback process.
“During downtime companies want business continuity, but once they are back up and running, they want to be able to transfer the data from the DR site back to the production site,” he says.
Rodriguez adds: “By implementing a continuous data protection model, supported by a decentralised security structure, organisations can go from a backup that generally took weeks to achieve and switch to a central backup within hours – an efficient and secure model that any organisation should strive for.”