2018 Business Continuity Trends: No 3 a.m. Calls on Thanksgiving, Please
As we look forward to 2018, we see a lot of exciting business continuity trends on the horizon: turkey, stuffing, apple pie—
No, wait, wait. Sorry! We’ve got Thanksgiving on the mind.
This week, many of our American friends will be taking short weeks to enjoy the holiday with their families. But unfortunately, IT disasters don’t take off for Thanksgiving. Odds are that some IT folks will get rude wakeup calls before they even put the turkey in the oven.
“The server’s down,” someone will say on the other end, or “We’ve been hit with ransomware,” or “The office is on fire,” or “Somebody smothered cranberry sauce all over the BDR device!”
Whatever the scenario, the point is that disaster can strike at any moment.
But the good news is that business continuity technologies are constantly getting better. And in 2018, we’re hoping some of the latest trends will help to eliminate the risk of these late-night emergencies … so that IT professionals can worry more about perfecting their green bean casserole on Thanksgiving, instead of their infrastructure.
The impetus behind 2018 business continuity trends
It’s no surprise that next year’s trends will continue to build upon the trends we’ve already been seeing over the last few years.
And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to uncover some of the underlying themes behind these trends. Maintaining business continuity—eliminating risks and recovering rapidly from disaster—is always the chief concern. Here’s how tomorrow’s technologies and strategies will help meet that objective:
- Reducing long-term technology costs
- Decreasing the need for manual, time-consuming IT fixes
- Smarter software-controlled automation
- A continued move to the cloud
- Detecting problems at the first sign of a potential disaster
- More focus on employee training programs to reduce cybersecurity risks
Keep in mind, some of the latest trends aren’t necessarily new technologies. Countless businesses are far behind in their continuity planning. They’re relying on outdated systems and inadequate protocols for disaster prevention and recovery. In 2018, many of these businesses will finally be playing catch-up.
Now, before you go chopping your carrots, let’s look at some of these trends.
Better Ransomware Protection
Wait, wasn’t that last year’s potatoes?
Yep. Ransomware has become like your mother-in-law’s corn pudding. It’s here to stay. And the suffering will likely continue for years to come.
After Bad Rabbit, the most recent mainstream ransomware attack, we mentioned in a post that ransomware is growing uglier and more sophisticated. The markets that drive ransomware development are booming. The ransom demands are getting a lot bigger. And the attacks themselves are becoming more complex. Experts believe future attacks will be increasingly used as diversions for more insidious cybersecurity breaches (like data scraping and fund transfers) and delivered with more frightening threats, like blackmail.
So, technology providers and MSPs are hard-pressed to provide companies with the best possible protection against ransomware.
We’ve already seen Datto take the proactive step of adding ransomware detection into its data backup systems. But the onus is partially on businesses to see the importance of this protection (and the importance of better backup technologies overall). As we’ve seen time and time again, many businesses don’t decide to upgrade their existing BDR systems until after they’ve suffered an attack. As ransomware gets worse, it’s only natural that more companies will make the investment in technologies that keep their data (and their companies) protected.
More Comprehensive Employee Training
Yes, ransomware is getting more sophisticated and finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in your infrastructure. But, like deep-frying a frozen turkey, the most common cause for ransomware disaster is still human error.
In a recent article, our own Tracy Rock was quoted explaining that “one of the greatest weaknesses in any business is its staff.” For ransomware in particular, businesses are usually infected after an unsuspecting employee opens a malicious attachment or clicks a bad link.
There are several other ways that employees could be compromising the security of your systems. Employees may be installing unapproved software, using their personal devices on the company network, not following proper protocols for saving data and so on.
But you can’t blame employees if you haven’t educated them on better practices or implemented extra safeguards to block unwanted actions.
In 2018, as ransomware continues making everything terrible, we expect more companies to put resources into ongoing training programs (ideally for all staff) on safe Internet practice. A small investment in such training can go a long way toward preventing a costly cybersecurity disaster.
Software-defined networking (SDN) is like braised kale on Thanksgiving. It’s not a new concept, but everyone’s clamoring to put it on the table.
SDN has been around for a while, but more businesses are beginning to see the tremendous value. And more importantly, software is getting better and more automated.
SDN introduced the idea of using software to manage and optimize a network. This has become increasingly important as bandwidth needs (and usage) have skyrocketed over the last several years.
Chances are a few of your departments, or employees, are gobbling up bandwidth with Internet videos and apps. That’s slowing down your network performance for everyone. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should be spending more for a bigger, faster network. Instead, you should be placing greater network controls to limit bandwidth-hogging users unless those activities are business critical.
With SDN, for example, administrators can tell the software to give more priority to business-critical operations than people watching YouTube videos on their lunch breaks.
Last month, a report showed the Pentagon was considering SDN technologies to make its network more agile and to prevent disruptions. SDN can benefit any size organization but it is increasingly critical for large, sprawling networks, like those at healthcare facilities, college campuses, government buildings, and enterprise businesses.
In the years ahead, software will become more autonomous, helping to reduce bottlenecks and curb network-crippling cyberattacks with little intervention by administrators.
Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
DRaaS used be kind of like instant stuffing. You didn’t need to be a chef to make instant stuffing. It was more efficient to buy a box than stock up on all the different ingredients for making stuffing at home, from scratch. And over the years, instant stuffing has gotten better too—many families prefer the taste over their grandmother’s old recipes.
Okay, this analogy isn’t quite right, but you get the idea…
DRaaS used to be a cost-efficient solution for businesses who wanted to safeguard their data with the best disaster-recovery technologies, without necessarily installing and managing it all themselves in-house. You didn’t need to have IT guys to benefit from DRaaS. But today, especially with the growth of virtualization and cloud computing, DRaaS has become a smarter and cost-effective solution for everyone.
With DRaaS from Datto, companies can recover individual machines or the entire infrastructure in a matter of seconds via virtual environment. Datto’s solutions in particular ensure you’re “6 seconds away from your data.”
DRaaS enables businesses to back up their environments smarter and recover faster, which is more important than ever. After a catastrophic data loss, the costs of operational downtime can balloon out of control: as much as $7,000 per hour for small businesses and up to $700,000 per hour for large enterprises.
Looking ahead to 2018, we’re seeing more businesses shifting away from in-house infrastructure spending to invest in today’s best DRaaS offerings from skilled outside IT partners.
Hybrid Cloud Deployments
Last January, we said that hybrid cloud technology would become more prevalent as businesses look to replicate and virtualize their IT environments for greater security. And we’ve seen the evidence of this movement first-hand.
But like the holiday season, things are only just getting started with hybrid cloud. We anticipate 2018 to be another big year for hybrid cloud, as more companies discover the benefits of backing up data both onsite and in the cloud.
Hybrid cloud provides a critical extra layer of protection against on-site disasters. Your on-site backup provides the fastest access to all your data. But what happens if your servers fail or the building is destroyed in a fire? With hybrid cloud, your data would be safe in the cloud, and could be recovered from anywhere.
Are all hybrid cloud technologies the same? No. It matters how your data is backed up, and it can be a mistake to rely on a hodgepodge of different BDR device manufacturers and cloud providers.
What we like about Datto’s hybrid cloud is that it seamlessly unifies your on-site Datto appliances with the resources of the Datto Cloud. You get the fast, dependable backup innovation that Datto’s solutions are known for, backed by the assurance of having your backups stored and archived in Datto’s proprietary data centers.
What’s on your 2018 wish list?
Are there any technologies you’re looking forward to in 2018? Any trends you’re noticing? Let us know in the comments. And from all of us here at Invenio IT, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!