Five simple steps to protect your business data
With the ever-increasing growth and reliance on digital data only set to expand, it is vital for businesses to understand the complex issue of storage and consider the variety of solutions available to ensure core business and customer data and processes remain safe.
In recognition of Europe’s 10th Data Protection Day, here are five simple steps to data protection that all businesses need to consider, for protection against traditional threats whilst watching out for the more silent forms of data corruption:
1. Data should be written across multiple drives for RAID protection to guard against the inevitable risk of hardware disk failure.
2. Data should be automatically protected against the phenomenon of bit rot, where data is corrupted at the very lowest level. This can result in anything from pixel errors in JPEGs to a corrupted database.
3. Data should be continuously protected during normal business operations, allowing for easy restoration of data from any point in time. Snapshot technology provides point-in-time recovery when a disaster strikes or files are deleted.
4. Data must be secured adequately in real-time against viruses and malware through up-to-date security solutions; not only at the firewall but also on the storage device itself, in case someone brings malware stored on a USB drive straight into the office.
5. A second copy of data – and operating system images etc. – should always be stored at a secure offsite location for disaster recovery. The most cost-effective method is a sophisticated and automated replication solution, but a USB drive, traditional tape or backup in the cloud are good solutions too.
Peter Hannah, regional director for UK & Ireland at NETGEAR
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”