Data protection in 2020

In 2020, organizations jumped into the cloud because it was the only way to survive. With universal remote work, expanded regulations, and relentless cyber attacks, the cloud was the only answer.

As they moved to the cloud, companies realized that legacy data protection would slow them down. The choices were unappealing: protecting cloud workloads with on-premises infrastructure, adopting multiple point solutions, or lifting and shifting the backup infrastructure silo to the cloud.

To protect more data at more locations, in more applications with more requirements, customers shifted to integrating data protection-as-a-service (DPaaS) into their cloud ecosystem.

In 2020, Druva enhanced our DPaaS solution to help customers accelerate their business goals with agility, security, and confidence.

Protecting workloads in the cloud

This year, organizations both large and small moved workloads to the cloud at an unprecedented rate. Small businesses accessed functionality and scale far beyond their data centers’ capabilities. Lines of business capitalized on the opportunity to develop without IT restrictions, while innovative IT teams accelerated their journey to the cloud. With the pandemic as a forcing function, businesses turned plans into reality. 

We saw four key cloud adoption trends:

  1. Oracle on EC2 – Organizations are running business critical-applications in the cloud, so they’re running Oracle databases in the cloud as well. While some use services like AWS RDS, many deploy Oracle on EC2 to preserve stored procedures, maintain DBA control, or simplify the move. 
  2. VMware to VMware Cloud on AWS – VMware teams who want to embrace the agility and scale of the cloud but retain control via vSphere, are adopting VMware on AWS.
  3. NAS usage in AWS – Application developers used AWS EFS and AWS FSx to support custom applications in the cloud, especially for containerized applications and high-performance computing.
  4. AWS with many accounts – As companies adopt AWS at scale, they are using multiple accounts for cost transparency, auditability, and fault isolation. 

As they race to the cloud, teams still struggle with data protection. They do not want to back up the data from the cloud to on-premises because it is expensive and complex. They also do not want to lift and shift their legacy backup environment into the cloud because that is even more expensive and complex. 

Therefore, Druva enhanced the protection of workloads running in the cloud. 

  1. Druva shipped a unified solution for protecting databases, regardless of where they run. Additionally, Druva’s direct-to-cloud architecture delivers industry-leading protection for databases running in the cloud. 
  2. Druva extended its unified VMware protection solution to simplify management and recovery of virtual machines running both on-premises and in VMware Cloud on AWS.
  3. Druva expanded its unified NAS protection to include AWS EFS and FSx, so customers can protect their files and file-based applications wherever they run.
  4. Druva’s global policies enable customers to manage all their accounts with a simple, scalable, automated policy engine.

Application-centric protection

Organizations adopted application-centric protection, especially for Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Kubernetes. With modern applications, backing up files, VMs, and databases is no longer good enough because customers need to recover complex application dependencies including configuration, connections, and customizations. Otherwise, as one admin said, “All I have is a bucket of bits.”

Key environments are redefining data protection requirements:

  1. Microsoft 365 customers expanded from using Exchange Online and OneDrive to collaborating with SharePoint Online and Teams. With SharePoint Online, businesses integrated PowerBI reports and created full-page applications. Meanwhile, customers created educational platforms, telehealth solutions, and line-shift management with Teams. 
  2. Salesforce teams needed a replacement for the end-of-life Salesforce backup offering, and better sandbox access for their developers. Teams looked for a unified solution to protect, recover, and clone sandboxes with accurate (but redacted) data, metadata, and configurations. 
  3. Kubernetes leapt into mainstream production, with its Container Storage Interface (CSI) enabling customers to deploy stateful applications. With a “Data as Code” mantra for recovery, migration, and DevOps, Kubernetes users expect to access their data anytime, anywhere.

Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Kubernetes are more than just data stores, cloud infrastructure, or SaaS applications — they are application platforms that require modern protection solutions.

Therefore, Druva expanded its application-centric protection in 2020, focusing on connecting infrastructure teams with application teams. 

  1. For Microsoft 365, Druva helps customers understand and protect their entire Microsoft 365 environment, not just back up isolated components. For example, we support Public Folders, Teams, and SharePoint Online. Furthermore, since Microsoft 365 holds some of a customers’ most sensitive information, we enable customers to discover data for their legal and compliance needs.
  2. For Salesforce, with the acquisition of sfApex, Druva signaled the convergence of scalable data protection and sandboxing. Backup teams, Salesforce administrators, and developers can now collaborate with application-intelligent protection and copy data management.
  3. For Kubernetes, Druva enables application owners and cloud teams to collaborate. The cloud team delivers application-based, policy-based protection  — schedule, retention, location, so the application owner can protect, clone, or recover their applications. 

Ecosystem, not standalone

In 2020, there are no more “standalone” products. Cloud teams cannot have siloed roles, so they cannot have siloed products. Instead, every solution must integrate with a broader ecosystem. 

With an increased focus on cyber threats and regulations, customers demanded integration for:

  1. Security Data is more valuable and more sprawled than ever. Threats, both internal and external, are more prevalent and destructive than ever before. Teams expect a consolidated view of their security.
  2. Visibility and process management Data regulations, especially around privacy, continue to expand, and failing to meet them incurs fines and loss of customer confidence. Therefore, companies are centralizing operations management and visibility to maintain control. 

In the cloud era, simplicity goes beyond an individual product’s workflow to how it fits as a part of a larger workflow. 

  1. Druva partners with Okta, FireEye, and Palo Alto Networks for security management, ransomware protection, and access control. Druva enables centralized security management for data protection, and augments our partners’ security insight with enhanced data analytics.
  2. Partnerships with Splunk and ServiceNow enable customers to get central visibility and control over their data protection environment. As with security, Druva brings visibility to the backup environment, but helps the management platforms to identify potential upstream issues.

Extracting insight from backups

Customers struggled to manage the combination of data growth and sprawl. The data center is no longer the center of all critical data. There will be one ransomware attack every 11 seconds by 2021¹, and they target the weakest spots in the customer environment. Regulators and customers expect companies to manage their private data, and the business still expects to manage costs. 

To cope with these challenges, companies expected their data protection to do more:

  1. Ransomware protection It is no longer sufficient to create immutable offsite backups. Data protection must help detect attacks and streamline recovery.
  2. Automatic cost optimization It is no longer sufficient to enable backup tiers. The backup solution must automatically tier backups to optimize cost, performance, and retention. 
  3. Data recommendations It is no longer sufficient to report on data patterns and data growth. Teams do not have enough time to analyze graphs to extract insight. Instead, customers expect recommendations to guide them to the right actions.

Customers do not just need data protection, so Druva added data insights to the service:

  1. Druva already automatically stored backups in an offsite, separate account. It now detects anomalous data patterns caused by external or internal actions, and generates alerts which are integrated with our security partners in the ecosystem. Druva then quarantines suspicious backups, so customers can restore data with confidence. Read this blog on data resiliency to learn more.
  2. Druva’s long-term retention now tiers older backup data to lower tiers of storage, saving customers money from day one. We also added an even lower cost “Infrequent Access” option for NAS backups that augments local snapshots and replication.
  3. Druva’s storage insights not only track data growth, data age, and non-critical files, but it offers recommendations to streamline customers’ backups. Those same insights can optimize their production environment as well. 

Key takeaways 

2020 did not change the IT world, but it did accelerate the changes that were already in progress, and that change is not slowing. Customers adopted the cloud to streamline the relationship between IT and business. Organizations are moving existing applications to the cloud, and they are not only using SaaS applications, but developing their own customized applications on them.

In 2020, to help our customers manage their data sprawl, Druva extended its unified support for on-premises and cloud workloads, application-centric protection, integration with cloud ecosystem partners, and data insights. 

As 2020 ends, we want to say “thank you” to the customers who trust Druva’s data protection-as-a-service. We run over 6 million backups every day, and we are grateful for the opportunity to protect your most valuable assets. 

If you are curious about Druva’s proven cost-effective and scalable DPaaS solution and would like to learn more, we invite you to explore our resources and reach out for a free demo


¹ Cybersecurity Ventures, “2019 Cybersecurity Almanac: 100 Facts, Figures, Predictions And Statistics,” Morgan, Steve.