The Future of Disaster Recovery and IT

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Click to learn more about author Chris Colotti.

As we enter hurricane season, more than 10% of Puerto Rico is still without power more than six months after Hurricane Maria slammed against its shores. Some might ask how that is even possible in an age with an abundance of technology and resources. Last year’s hurricane season will go down as one of the worst on record, with 17 named storms. 10 of these were hurricanes that created more than $369 billion in damages for residents and businesses.

We also witnessed some of the worst ransomware attacks ever recorded in 2017, and forest fires that burned all through December in California.

As we head into another season of uncertainty, will this be the year IT commits and executes on Disaster Recovery (DR) efforts? Or will we kick the can down the road again?

IT Will Do More to Safeguard our Infrastructures

We’ve heard the best intentions before. Remember when Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast in 2012 and shut down many of our financial institutions? A lot of banking IT pros promised they’d make changes to prepare for natural disasters. Some did. Others didn’t. But with these issues becoming even more widespread, we are all realizing that this can happen anytime. And the need to be prepared is becoming imperative.

So with that in mind, I’m prepared to predict – at the very least hope – that IT will indeed begin to do more to safeguard our infrastructures this year. And with that task, many will gain a seat or a more notable and well-deserved seat at the table.

While many IT pros have had the best intentions of implementing a Disaster Recovery strategy, complexity and lack of undeniable ROI stopped them in their tracks. Organizations struggle to find DR solutions that scale with their growth as they expand across on-premises networks or cloud environments.

But without a doubt, the most significant hurdle we face in implementing a Disaster Recovery strategy is the lack of ROI, as people draw to things that have an immediate return on investment. Similar to life insurance, DR has no immediate return on investment, as the disaster may never happen.

I believe this impediment will diminish this year as we become further dependent on technology and data explodes through IoT. This will be the year that Disaster Recovery moves from being a secondary issue to a primary focus, driven by a convergence of factors including the influx of climate change, new IT regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the growing importance of brand preservation.

While many organizations move to the Cloud, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) will gain further traction. Already, this space is expected to grow to $6.4 billion by 2020. It’s this kind of technology that business and IT leaders will have to evaluate and tackle together, which brings IT closer to the head of the table.

IT Skills Gap Will Continue to Rise

Just as we think we might have a handle on IT issues like DR, we’re likely to see a shortage of qualified IT professionals needed to fulfill our goals. We can’t find enough people to run local IT. And it’s going to get worse at a time when more customers are planning a complicated migration to the cloud with storage and apps.

Given the pace of innovation and influx of data, the skills gap will continue to rise, putting further pressure on organizations to rethink their workforce strategies.

Self- Driving Data Centers Will Become Reality

However, to address this challenge of heavy competition for talent and an increasing skills gap, organizations are turning to automation. IT continues to innovate, including the evolution of self-driving data centers.

Traditionally, legacy storage systems have required a significant amount of manual intervention and management. But more recent solutions are providing automation that hides the complexity but doesn’t eliminate it. Automation and Machine Learning offer multiple capabilities that play a significant part in developing the self-driving data center.

In the future, there will be further development of apps and devices that use Machine Learning, and companies will try to find new and exciting ways to leverage AI. There will always be a philosophical debate when it comes to AI, but there are ways to expand its uses without giving it too much control.

Automation will make self-driving data centers a reality. There will be guaranteed, real-time predictable performance without IT intervention. IT folks will be able to concentrate on more critical tasks that add value to the company rather than keeping the engine running.

There is no doubt organizations will have their work cut out for them, however we will see more investment in the right partners and technologies to ease the burden.


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