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What CSOs need to know about protecting their data, applications, operating systems, and hypervisors

Unitrends is the leading provider of all-in-one data backup, archiving, instant recovery and disaster recovery solutions. The company’s feature-rich backup and recovery appliances offer unified data protection across heterogeneous environments at the lowest TCO in the industry – enabling businesses to focus on their business instead of their backup.

Unitrends’ family of scalable appliances and software solutions protects corporate data, and more than 100 different versions of servers, operating systems (e.g., Windows, Hyper-V, VMware, Mac OS, Linux, AIX, Solaris), SAN, NAS, hypervisors (e.g., Hyper-V and VMware) and applications (e.g., Exchange, SQL, Oracle). Unitrends' U.S.-based support team boasts a 98 percent customer satisfaction rate.

Info Security PG: How has the backup and recovery space evolved over the years?  What is virtualization’s role in this evolution?

Mike Coney: The traditional backup and data recovery model focuses on protecting large data sets – or millions of small files – located across distributed physical assets. And while this approach to data protection is still a dominant one, it isn’t the only one. While the emergence of virtualization -- and resulting hybrid environments – have reduced data center footprint and cost, it has also added complexity in that companies now need to secure tremendous amounts of data on a single, physical asset in addition to protecting distributed data sets across multiple servers.

Securing these living IT infrastructures and protecting the massively growing amounts of data is challenging for limited IT resources. As companies’ data centers evolve to accommodate physical, virtual and cloud systems, so must their data protection strategies. It’s this evolution that has really brought new life to the backup and data recovery market. The best backup and recovery solutions today protect data across heterogeneous environments and easily adapt to agile IT infrastructures. In other words, they provide IT with the flexibility to evolve their data centers as business requirements change, while remaining confident that their data is protected regardless of the environment it resides in.

Another major change in the industry is the demand for easy-to-use plug and play appliances. It’s no surprise that IT departments today are resource-constrained and looking to get maximum value from their technology purchases. As such, there is high demand for all-in-one solutions that can be plugged in and trusted to back up and quickly restore data without requiring tremendous IT resources.

Info Security PG: How can small and medium-sized businesses better prepare to effectively protect their data, applications, operating systems, and hypervisors?

Mike Coney: Most IT environments are evolving, and all are dynamic – adding more hardware appliances, emerging into virtualization or leveraging hybrid infrastructures. The most effective way for small and medium-sized businesses to protect their data is by implementing a unified backup and recovery solution that protects data across on-premise, virtual and cloud environments.

The need to protect consolidated assets has rendered many traditional backup and data recovery solutions ineffective in virtual environments. Additionally, this evolution in backup processes has spawned the emergence of new vendors focused solely on providing data protection solutions for virtual environments. The combination of these factors is forcing many companies to adopt a multi-vendor approach to data protection. Today, many companies are deploying different backup and data recovery solutions in their IT environments as discreet, physical and virtual entities, as opposed to implementing a holistic backup and recovery solution. And many companies are quickly learning that this approach is neither practical nor economical.

For maximum flexibility, companies should look for a backup and recovery solution that protects data across heterogeneous environments. Keep in mind, though, that a true unified data protection solution goes beyond physical, virtual and cloud environments – it also supports  various versions of servers, operating systems, applications (e.g., Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle) and hypervisors (e.g., VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V).

Info Security PG: What broad steps must be included in a CSOs backup and data recovery plan?

Mike Coney: With data centers today more complex than ever, the reality is that experiencing a disaster is no longer a matter of if, but when. When the unthinkable occurs, you want a strong disaster preparedness plan in place to get data, systems and the business back up and running in record time. Here are a few quick tips for disaster recovery success:

  • Implement a solution that you can trust to backup and recover data regardless of where it’s housed. And test and re-test to make sure that everything is working as it should (i.e. information is actually being backed up, and data integrity remains intact during the restore process). 
  • Draft a plan that provides detailed instructions on what to do in the event of a disaster – and practice different approaches to different disasters so everyone is comfortable in their roles. It’s important to identify key personnel and provide them with the ability to work remotely or at a secondary location when a disaster strikes. This means giving them direct access to the recovery systems, data and other resources they need to maintain business operations and recover mission-critical data in record time.
  • Choose a data protection vendor that has solid support.  Lack of support can cripple an organization in the event of a disaster.  It’s critical to know that when you find yourself in a disaster, your vendor will help you through the process – not hold your feet to the fire when you need their help the most.

Company: Unitrends
7 Technology Circle, Suite 100, Columbia, SC 29203 U.S.A.

Founded in: 1989
CEO: Mike Coney
Public or Private: Private
Head Office in Country: Columbia, SC United States
Products: Unitrends provides all-in-one data backup, archiving, instant recovery and disaster recovery solutions that protect information across physical, virtual and cloud environments. The company has two major product lines and a service:

Recovery Series
Unitrends’ Recovery Series is its family of scalable, all-in-one backup, archiving, instant recovery and disaster recovery physical appliances. The latest addition to the product line was Recovery-943, the industry’s first, high-density, enterprise-class, tiered backup appliance. All Recovery Series appliances are powered by Unitrends Release 7.0, the company’s next-generation software that bolsters data protection in virtualized and cloud environments, while providing an expanded range of platform and enterprise application support.

Unitrends Enterprise Backup™
Unitrends Enterprise Backup is the company’s software-only backup and recovery virtual appliance. In September 2012, the solution became the industry’s only native all-in-one Microsoft® Windows Server® 2012 Hyper-V® role and Hyper-V 2012 Server backup, archiving, instant recovery and disaster recovery virtual appliance. Also last year, Unitrends became the first vendor to support Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and VMware® vSphere™ 5.1. Unitrends Enterprise Backup is also powered by Unitrends Release 7.0.

Vault2Cloud is a service that provides cloud-based backup and data recovery. Vault2Cloud integrates Unitrends’ on-premise appliance with its multi-tenancy cloud-based architecture or with the customer organization’s own, private cloud.  Vault2Cloud addresses the cloud computing concerns that have prevented many businesses from taking advantage of cloud-based backup: security, performance of local backup and recovery, and initial data synchronization.

Company's Goals: Unitrends’ strives to be the leading provider to the mid-market of all-in-one backup, archiving and recovery solutions for heterogeneous environments. To accomplish this goal, Unitrends focuses on the overall customer experience and has built a strong corporate foundation based on three key principles: Ensure that doing business with Unitrends is frictionless through easy-to-use technology and simple pricing; build an unrivaled customer support team that maintains a customer satisfaction ranking exceeding 98 percent; and implement a go-to-market strategy that ensures companies are buying through a channel in which they feel comfortable.