Data Protection Market – Forecasts for 2022

In 2022, many companies will need to redefine their data protection strategy and implement new solutions. This is not an assumption. It’s a fact. Are you curious why? Let’s see how the key services that are responsible for the operation of modern organizations are changing.

Data protection in 2021 – a retrospective

In 2021, cybercriminals opened Pandora’s box. We have been flooded by a wave of viruses spreading through the networks of government institutions, large corporations, and small businesses, but also households. The media have covered cyber-attacks such as SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline, T-Mobile, and Kaseya. Somewhere in the shadow of the big ones, there have been dramatic cases of smaller business owners forced to pay horrendous amounts to ransomware gangs.

As if that wasn’t enough, at the end of the year, the world was shocked to learn of a critical vulnerability in Apache Log4j, exposing hundreds of thousands of companies to cyber-attacks. What further developments will we see? What should we expect in 2022? In such unpredictable times, it is challenging to make predictions. However, it can be assumed with almost 100 percent certainty that the rising tide of cyber-attacks, the hybrid working model, and the need for digital transformation will leave their mark on the data protection market. Storware highlights several key trends in the backup and DR segment that are particularly worth watching in 2022.

Backup and Recovery for Modern Workloads

Generational change

Gartner predicts that by 2022, 40% of organizations will have supplemented or completely replaced their backup software. This prediction follows from a simple assumption. Over the past few years, the data protection market has segmented products into two groups. The first includes providers based largely on 1990s architecture. The second comprises new wave representatives such as Rubik, Cohesity, and Storware. These companies are building their solutions using new data security mechanisms.

The previous philosophy of creating a backup system based on D2D2T (D2D2T: a disk-to-disk-to-tape backup strategy) is slowly becoming obsolete. The immediate future belongs to solutions offering new storage media, e.g., deduplicators, and innovative technologies such as object-based memories. This trend will continue into 2022.

Backup of virtual machines: freedom of choice

Companies have used VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V for server virtualization for many years. Recently, however, this trend has been changing. Most organizations use at least two hypervisors, which will remain the case in the coming years. The main reason for running a heterogeneous environment is to reduce costs. While VMware vSphere gets high marks among users, it is not cheap. There is a reason why free server virtualization tools such as Red Hat Virtualization, Proxmox, oVirt, Virtuozzo, and Xen Server are on a roll. The diversity of IT environments poses new challenges for suppliers. The future belongs to those who offer data protection products that support at least some hypervisors. Such solutions provide organizations with freedom of choice because as they expand their environment with a new virtualization platform, they do not have to worry about changes to their backup software. Modern tools are a jigsaw puzzle that fits everywhere and allows you to extend your data protection infrastructure without overturning the entire system.

Backup for SaaS

SaaS has remained the most popular cloud service for years, and all the indications are that it will maintain its priority in the coming years (the most obvious example is Microsoft 365). According to IDC, 80 percent of new applications will be deployed in the public cloud or network edge. Software offered in a service model has several undeniable advantages, such as low implementation costs or the absence of costs associated with purchasing a license. However, one rather controversial issue is data protection.

The service provider’s liability is limited in this respect and does not include such cases as malicious or accidental deletion of data or logical damage. According to research from Enterprise Strategy Group, one in three IT decision-makers rely entirely on SaaS providers for backup issues. This means that many companies still link the availability of the service to the availability of their data. Companies need to understand the principle – my data, my problem. Businesses need a thorough education in the backup area. In any case, this process has already started and will continue in 2022. More and more SaaS companies will also start investing in dedicated data protection tools. This is a market segment with very high growth potential.

Alternatives to 3-2-1 backup

Professionals often recommend the 3-2-1 rule of keeping at least three copies of your data (3 x backup), including two copies on different devices (2 x backup), one of which (1 x backup) is in a different location from your business premises.

The 3-2-1 backup strategy is prevalent, but there are more elaborate, comprehensive strategies such as 3-2-1-1-0 and 4-3-2. The first of these principles involves keeping at least three copies of data and storing data on two different types of storage media, with one off-site copy and one offline copy. Here, ‘0’ means that copies should be stored without errors. Data should therefore be monitored on a daily basis, any errors should be corrected as soon as they are detected, and restore tests should be carried out regularly.

The second of the rules, 4-3-2, means that four copies are stored, and the data is in as many as three different locations, two of which are not connected to the network. As the number of ransomware attacks increases, organizations will look to new data storage methods, such as the aforementioned 3-2-1-1-0 and 4-3-2. The coming year will bring with it the popularisation of these principles.

Backup for containers

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 85 percent of corporations will be using containerized applications in production environments. In the beginning, containers were stateless – data was lost when the container was terminated. Later, stateful applications such as databases necessitated the use of permanent storage that stored data after the container was closed. State containers for databases such as Microsoft SQL Server are expected to grow in 2022. This, in turn, will force the implementation of a production environment for high availability (HA) at the database level and disaster recovery (DR) capabilities in Kubernetes. Another area where the use of containers will increase is the public cloud. The processes involved in migrating data or restoring it to a remote location will require backup tools. Traditional systems are not performing well in this role, and it is expected that the coming years will bring many new products aimed at container backup.

Ransomware: the story continues

Ransomware gangs were particularly aggressive in 2021. They carried out attacks on businesses and healthcare facilities, schools, and critical infrastructure. According to Sophos, the total cost of recovering from a ransomware attack has doubled over the past year to $1.85 million. To make matters worse, attackers are reaching for new methods, not just limiting their actions to encrypting data but increasingly making it public. Another major problem is the proliferation of ransomware as a service model. As a result, attackers do not need to develop their own malware, as they use off-the-shelf products provided by ransomware gangs. Unfortunately, the creators of this malicious software have certainly not exhausted their ideas. Ransomware attacks will increase in strength and become more sophisticated. This drives the need to increase our backup and disaster recovery solutions innovation.

Data backup is becoming more critical every year. Corporations, SMEs, and even individual users who wish to avoid unpleasant surprises should seriously consider how their data is stored and processed. Planning and regular testing of Disaster Recovery is now a standard practice in many companies. This helps in dealing with a crisis situation methodically and calmly. Even in the event of a severe situation, regular and reliable backups make it possible to restore business operations smoothly and quickly. Therefore, choosing backup and recovery tools is one of the most important strategic decisions for many companies.

Paweł Mączka Photo

text written by:

Pawel Maczka, CTO at Storware