Data backup is an essential part of enterprises everywhere. Losing vital data can destroy a company’s privacy, finances, and reputation. Backup solutions can support a disaster recovery (DR) plan, and work to save data and the business.
OpenText Security Solutions is a global software company that helps companies keep their data safe.
Enterprise Storage Forum interviewed Scott Bedke — product management lead for Carbonite Endpoint Backup at OpenText Security Solutions— who shares his perspective on the development and growth of the data backup market:
Scott Bedke focuses on emerging technologies, product strategy, and competitive analysis at OpenText Security Solutions. Bedke has over two decades of experience in technology, working with various leading companies, such as NTT Communications, EMC, VMware, Dell Technologies, and Carbonite.
Executive Q&A on data backup
Enterprise Storage Forum: How did you first start working in data backup?
Bedke: I was hired as a technical account manager at Mozy, a company specializing in endpoint and server backup, in 2009. I have been in the data backup industry ever since, being a part of Mozy, EMC, Dell, Carbonite, and now OpenText Security Solutions.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is your favorite thing about working at OpenText Security Solutions?
Bedke: While it sounds cliché, it truly is the people. OpenText has been aggressive with acquisitions by combining the Carbonite, Webroot, and Zix businesses to create an SMB platform for security management, data protection, and threat management. In doing so, the company has brought together people from many different backgrounds, cultures, work experiences, system biases, process design, solution sales, etc. Just in the past week, I’ve had conversations with colleagues in Japan, England, Germany, Canada, and the United States. I enjoy the diversity. It’s the people I collaborate with that make coming to work more enjoyable.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What sets Carbonite’s data backup approach or solutions apart from the competition?
Bedke: From on-site, cloud, and hybrid backup to high availability and document retention, Carbonite provides powerful, secure, and reliable data protection. Carbonite specializes in protecting customers against data loss — including individual devices and network servers —due to drive failure, theft, ransomware, and more.
Carbonite plays a key role in our ability to help customers in their cyber-resilience journey. To ensure cyber resilience, organizations must deploy strong multi-layered security and data protection policies to prevent, respond, and quickly recover from threats. Our comprehensive security and data management solutions, which include the Webroot, Zix, and Carbonite portfolios, deliver end-to-end cyber resilience that keep organizations’ data protected. Additionally, if systems or confidential data have been compromised, OpenText Security Solutions stop the lateral movement, so that businesses can quickly recover from cyberattacks and accidental data loss.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one key data backup technology that particularly interests you?
Bedke: Immutable backups. With ransomware so prevalent and always trying to stay one step ahead of protection methods, it is important to have your backup data continuously protected from unsolicited data modification to guarantee the fidelity of the restored data. Immutable backups means that when the data from each backup job is written to the storage target, the data cannot be changed or modified. Even if the source data is infected or has been changed by ransomware, the backup solution will not replicate or corrupt the existing backups. This allows you to have clean data to restore from a previous point in time in case of ransomware.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one data backup technique that teams should implement?
Bedke: A popular backup methodology is 3-2-1. Three copies of your data on two different media, such as disk and tape, with one off-site copy. While this methodology has been around as long as tape, it holds greater importance as protection against cyber threats. There are many variations of 3-2-1 out there. I recommend evaluating your storage options, budget, retention options, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans and do what works best for your business. The goal is to avoid a single point of failure — if there’s a disaster at your data center, you want to have a copy off-site. If the off-site copy is in the same region as your primary site, consider an additional offsite location outside the geographic region. Go through some recovery exercises to ensure the business feels confident about your data recovery plan.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one data backup strategy that companies should implement?
Bedke: Look for solutions that are purpose-built for the platform you are currently backing up and consider solutions for platforms your business is looking to adopt in the future. To provide a single pane of glass for data management and be a single vendor for backups across many platforms, backup vendors will offer a one-size-fits-all approach. Take time to evaluate how backup and recovery operate and whether the technology is purpose built for the platform you’re protecting. For example, a server backup agent may be presented as an option to backup a laptop but lacks a lot of the features found in most endpoint backup solutions. Servers don’t get shut downshutdown every night, or go to sleep when unused, or have different networks to connect to — laptops do. If a vendor says they’ll backup laptops, look for functionality specific to how a laptop is used. Lastly, avoid being locked into a single solution that won’t support your future growth and environments.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is the biggest data backup mistake you see enterprises making?
Bedke: End users have a lot of power and control over data but don’t realize it or haven’t been fully trained. The hybrid workforce has contributed to more data living outside the corporate firewall than ever. To help maintain productivity, many companies rapidly adopted sync and collaboration applications, such as OneDrive, Teams, and Slack — with little to no formal training and enforcement. A user may delete a file from Teams and not be fully aware that others may need access to that file. Or the IT team will tell users to put everything in OneDrive. Meanwhile, the end user will continue to store files as they always have, such as in a folder under the C: drive. Meanwhile, files outside OneDrive and application files are no longer protected.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What are some current trends in the data backup market that are promising?
Bedke: Backups for SaaS data are interesting. Many organizations make the false assumption that because data is stored with a cloud provider, such as Google or Microsoft 365, that their data is protected. And while it is true that these providers look after the hardware and infrastructure, malware, end-user error, malicious behavior, accidental configuration change, and unintentional deletions typically fall outside the scope of their responsibilities. Most cloud providers offer a shared responsibility model, which means a backup solution is still needed to cover areas outside of hardware and infrastructure failures. While these cloud providers offer some level of restore functionality, they are often limited in scope and capabilities. We are starting to see a lot of new entries into the market that focus on protecting SaaS data.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What are the biggest factors that are driving change in data backup?
Bedke: Secondary data used for many other purposes. It’s one thing to be able to backup data, but there are many other secondary factors that a backup solution must be able to address. In addition to the ease of restoring data, the ability to perform point-in-time restore and to restore a single file, a SharePoint site, a table within a database, a virtual machine, and a cluster are all important. These restores are not just being done for data recovery purposes, but for DR and BC tests, for legal e-discovery needs, and for QE sandboxes. A business has data on multiple platforms and services — that data needs to be backed up and restored to any of its platforms for multiple purposes.
Enterprise Storage Forum: How has data backup changed during your time in the market?
Bedke: The continual shift from on-premises to cloud workloads. Traditionally the backup administrator had to back up their servers hosting their directory service, mail server, database servers, application servers, and endpoints. Now much of this workload has shifted to cloud services and often with a multicloud approach. This makes backups more difficult and complex. Every backup administrator should understand the responsibility to protect their cloud data is with them and not the cloud platform services. Because of the shift to the cloud, we also see backup administrators moving to more IT administrators. They wear multiple hats, and backup is a smaller percent of their time and knowledge. Backup vendors need to provide broader and easier tools.
Enterprise Storage Forum: Where do you predict the data backup market will be 5 or 10 years from now?
Bedke: Backups are not going away — the need for them will always exist, especially given the persistent state of evolving threats. I anticipate less policy-driven and more intelligent backups using machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other technologies. With all the metrics and data being kept, about data, we will see dynamic retentions, backup intervals, and replication copies based on how the file or object is used by the business. There will also be greater integration with security products and automated handling or remediation of data when suspicious events occur. And this evolution will continue in a multicloud environment, both from a source and target perspective.
Personnel in data backup
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one data backup technology your team wants storage professionals to know?
Bedke: Storage is still a big expense, and because disk is cheap it is often used to band-aid problems rather than fix the underlying problem. There is a big opportunity for cost savings and improved utilization when looking at deduplication and compression capabilities. If the company chooses to manage the storage for the restore target, evaluating the deduplication and compression technology used by the backup provider is a good step in understanding how much storage will be required for the backups. Most backup providers provide some level of compression, but the difference may come in how deduplication is performed. Is it source-side or target-side? File/object level or block level? Fixed block or variable block? A good sales engineer can assist you in making these determinations about your storage requirements. There are additional considerations, such as retention requirements and the type of data being backed up.
Enterprise Storage Forum: If you could give one piece of advice to a data backup professional in the beginning of their career, what would it be?
Bedke: Learn something new every day. Take some time to read journals, blogs, analyst reports. Listen to podcasts. Read books. Technology moves at a rapid pace, and you can’t afford to be left in the dust.
Enterprise Storage Forum: With the shortage of tech talent, how is your team finding and retaining professionals to work in data backup?
Bedke: True, it has become competitive and difficult across the tech industry to acquire and retain talent. I work with many teams such as support, sales, engineering, and marketing. It’s important to me to share the vision I have for the products I manage, and it gives a purpose or why to the work everyone is doing. There is an old saying, “A person without a vision is a person without a future.” If the people working in our organization don’t have a proper vision of the product and company, they don’t see a future with it and will start looking elsewhere.
Enterprise Storage Forum: For the greatest business impact, what should data backup professionals be focusing on most in their roles?
Bedke: Begin with understanding the business and the role of the application. This knowledge will lead to better IT decisions, tradeoffs, and setting SLAs, RTO (recovery time objective) and RPO (recovery point objective). Identify the mission-critical services and data that require high-availability with an RTO and RPO near zero and choose a solution that can offer the disaster recovery-type services. For less critical data where there’s a higher tolerance for data loss (longer RPO) and the time to recover the system isn’t as urgent (longer RTO), choose a service that enables you to meet your RTO and RPO, yet will be cost-effective for your business.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one of your top professional accomplishments?
Bedke: I spent many years in sales as a sales engineer. Experiencing the wins over the years was always thrilling, but one in particular stands out. We had an opportunity with a large telecommunications company where they wanted us to white-label our product, add new product features, and build a purchasing and provisioning portal in 90 days to accompany the product. I led the team as the technical resource, and we were able to
launch everything on time. It was a stressful 90 days but very satisfying to achieve.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is your favorite part of working in the data backup market?
Bedke: Buying data backup is kind of like buying an insurance policy — it’s not really the most glamorous or exciting thing to discuss and market, but it’s something that every business needs. It’s a service that isn’t going away. I look at what are the best ways to get data to the backup target, and what are the best ways to restore that data. The way data is used and stored is ever evolving, so keeping up with the trends and getting a peek around the corner of what’s coming really piques my interest.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one of your favorite parts of the work week? How does it encourage or inspire you?
Bedke: Connecting with the team in one-on-one or team meetings. We as humans are built for connections with others. The pandemic brought a lot of isolation, and I feel that negatively affected our emotions. Seeing someone on camera or in person, listening to their experiences both inside and outside the work routine, conversing about whatever is on our minds, really brings a sense of satisfaction and rejuvenation to me. I’m energized after these conversations and ready to tackle the next task.
Enterprise Storage Forum: Do you have a favorite way to recharge during the workday?
Bedke: Get away from the computer monitors and go outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air, take a few deep breaths, and refocus on the tasks to do before coming back to sit in front of the monitors. I also have a standing desk, so switching between sitting and standing changes up the environment just enough as well to keep the energy going.
Enterprise Storage Forum: What are your favorite hobbies or ways to spend time outside of work?
Bedke: I love to golf. I tend to explore a lot of the rough when I play to get some adventure in. But every round, I’ll hit that one shot or get a birdie on that one hole that keeps my aspirations of being a good golfer intact and keeps me coming back again and again. My 13- and 9-year-old sons enjoy golfing too, so to me, there’s not a lot of things better in life than spending a few hours with them on a beautiful course with no distractions.