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VP Interview: Veeam’s Dan Middleton on the evolution of Cloud Data Management

Thu 10 Sep 2020

Techerati editor James Orme sat down with Dan Middleton, Vice President UK & Ireland at Veeam

“The possibilities of what the cloud can offer businesses and consumers is now only limited by imagination,” says Dan Middleton, Vice President UK & Ireland at Cloud Data Management company Veeam.

Founded in 2006, Veeam has shot to the top of the data management market as companies race to the cloud to seize its benefits while ensuring data is secure and under control.

Beginning as a data protection solution for virtual machines in on-premises environments, Veeam created, and dominated, the VMware backup market, but the company continues to evolve to meet organisations’ data management needs wherever they are on their digital transformation journeys.

With over 375,000 customers worldwide and the company posting an impressive annual recurring revenue increase of 20 percent year-over-year for Q2 2020, the biggest second quarter in the company’s 14-year history, Veeam is accelerating its “Act II”, evolution into the hybrid cloud.

All bases – backup, disaster recovery and cloud data management – are covered across its software suite, whether an organisation presides over virtual, physical, hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructures. No two organisations’ deployments are the same, and it’s Veeam’s ability to easily accommodate and service a plurality of requirements which goes a long way to explaining its popularity.

The company was also one of the first to realise that data protection is not merely defensive; visibility over data assets is actually a prerequisite for fast-moving digital transformation. This way, data protection serves as an innovation enabler, too.

“Modern data protection must be more intelligent and able to anticipate organisations’ varying needs,” explains Middleton. “By harnessing these capabilities, business leaders and IT have a clearer view of what’s taking place across the business, meaning they can deliver faster and more reliable data services.”

Although data protection remains a core enterprise focus, Middleton says the shift to cloud has forced companies to rethink data management beyond traditional data backup. Veeam now supports clients with backup modernisation, cloud mobility, data security and governance, which Middleton says has created “a more rounded portfolio of solutions fit for business in the digital economy”.

Misconceptions

It’s easy for data management requirements to be overlooked when tempted by cloud’s numerous benefits. Middleton says while more data is being migrated to structured and unstructured cloud platforms, “missteps are easily made”. It’s important organisations choose the right cloud environment, rather than the most popular ones, and that they ensure disaster recovery and availability are front of mind so critical applications and data can be restored as quickly as possible, he says.

“Organisations aren’t necessarily familiar with how to properly leverage hybrid cloud and what kind of options are most appropriate for them. Adopting the wrong kind of solution can lead to availability issues, or even open an organisation up to data exposure or theft.”

“The first thought for many businesses is that they must move entirely to cloud, but IT leaders should consider what tools are most effective and which workloads are better suited to the cloud before taking immediate action,” he says, adding that on-premises solutions can be better suited in some circumstances.

Veeam publishes an annual data protection report which provides a useful barometer of the data management landscape. This year’s Veeam 2020 Data Protection Trends Report demonstrated a stark gap between data reliance and data management.

Over two-thirds (68%) of UK organisations have what Veeam terms an “availability gap”, between how fast they can recover applications versus how fast they need to recover them. Meanwhile, two-thirds (66%) have a “protection gap”, between how frequently data is backed-up versus how much data they can afford to lose after an outage.

“A surprising number of people couldn’t tell you how they would manage and protect data effectively,” Middleton says. “And when data fuels almost every part of our working lives, it’s leaving these people and their businesses exposed to far more risk than they might realise.”

Pandemic pressures

Cloud computing and cybersecurity have dominated the Covid-19 conservation in the IT and wider world in 2020. Companies have relied on cloud services to enable business continuity while employees work from home, and are also acutely sensitive about business asset security now employees work outside of organisational network perimeters.

Cloud has grabbed the headlines, but it’s easy to forget it was the immediate need for distributed data access and availability that stimulated recent month’s rapid cloud investment. Middleton says while data management was a priority pre-Covid-19, it is now the number one consideration in business continuity plans.

Still, he claims the pandemic’s biggest impact has been on endpoint protection and connectivity. While most firms had a simple mobile IT offering that could immediately be called into action, comparatively few had adequate data protection for laptops in place when stay-at-home measures struck.

Such protections include the backing up of all remote workstations to secure endpoints and up-to-date antivirus software. Additionally, regular backups are vital for ensuring data employees create is stored and managed in the usual resilient way. It’s fair to say the last thing organisations need during this turbulent time is data theft or loss:

“In a business climate that’s already being impacted by serious external disruptions like the pandemic and economic instability, businesses simply cannot afford to heighten the risks that they can control, such as data backup and encryption,” Middleton says. “For their future safety, it’s paramount that they safeguard themselves from these dangers and plan for worst case scenarios.”

Veeam under-went its own cloud migration of sorts when its annual conference, VeeamON, was forced to swap out Las Vegas and for a virtual edition due to Covid-19. Did this thwart the event? Not in the slightest. A global audience of 25,000 registered to attend this year’s edition compared to the 2,000 that attended in person at VeeamON 2019. More proof then, that what the cloud can offer businesses and consumers really is limited by the imagination.

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data management veeam
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