March 22, 2021

Enterprises have to deal with ever-growing volumes of data as they adopt new-age technologies such as IoT, big data and blockchain. In this scenario, data availability and protection have become critical aspects of running a successful business. Cloud storage is a popular choice for data backup as it addresses both these concerns and provides greater scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Enterprises look for solutions that programmatically schedule backups across cloud-native services to meet weekly or monthly compliance SLAs. They are also conscious that data backup needs to be protected from cyber attacks, and are adopting solutions with built-in immutability to ensure all backup copies are stored in the cloud in write-once-read-many (WORM) mode to prevent deletion and changes.

Analyst firm Gartner says, “The move toward public cloud, heightened concerns over ransomware, and complexities associated with backup and data management are forcing I&O (infrastructure and operations) leaders to rearchitect their backup infrastructure and explore alternative solutions.” In view of changing enterprise architectures and evolving application designs, data backup strategies need to be defined appropriately to account for workloads running across on-premise data centers, in the cloud and at the edge.

TCS Cloud Exponence enables seamless cloud backup operations by addressing key functionalities such as monitoring, incident, change, release, and problem management along with cost management and security operations, including backup and data archive management.

All-inclusive data protection design 

To design effective data-protection solutions, data availability requirements are evaluated right at the foundation stage and data backup details are defined with appropriate restore policies. While designing a data protection solution, it is important to consider the entire data landscape, or else some part of critical data may remain unprotected, or multiple backup solutions would be needed which may increase the complexity. For example, backing up only virtual machines may not be enough. Instead, the design should incorporate a solution that backs up every device and system as well as every category of data residing or getting created on those devices and systems.

Backup on cloud

Managing the environment for data backup and maintaining accurate copies of backed up data is not a simple task, and it is becoming more challenging with the continuous growth of data. Traditional methods are unable to cope up with the new normal and enterprises are extending their backup target platform to the cloud. To build a cloud-enabled backup solution, it is important to consider the life cycle of organization-specific data, existing investments in data protection solution, recovery objectives, available resources and the data growth aspects.

Leading cloud providers such as AWS provide multiple ways to address the challenging needs related to data backup and management. AWS Backup service is one of the leading solutions for centralized and automated data protection. It is a policy-based service that simplifies data protection at scale and helps with the regulatory compliance obligations as well. It deploys data protection policies centrally to configure, manage and govern the backup activity across multiple accounts and all the resources including EC2 instances, EBS Volumes, RDS (including Aurora clusters), DynamoDB tables, AWS Storage Gateway Volumes, EFS file systems and FSx file systems and so on.

Accelerators such as TCS Cloud Exponence integrate seamlessly with AWS Rest APIs and enable automated backup operations which are aligned to ITSM processes. The platform integrates with cloud storage as well as the native backup services for automated backup operations and management. There can be multiple scenarios -- for example, primary data corruption or data loss due to human error -- where Cloud Exponence enables automated restoration. In addition, it automates many operational aspects of cloud backup, such as onboarding a new storage as a backup target, tagging appropriate backup policies (schedule, retention, etc.) as well as infrastructure-as-a-code aspects of backup environment deployment and backup policy management.

The backup solution should be governed with the following key operational controls:

  • Well-defined access management

  • Retention policies aligned with industry-specific compliance requirements

  • Low-cost storage

  • Encrypting the data at rest

  • Protect from public access

  • Monitoring backup failures with automated alerts

  • Backup data availability during disaster situation

  • Backup interval to be updated in line with RPO requirement

  • Application consistent backup

  • Leverage cloud-native or third-party backup solutions.

  • Reporting backup status through health checks

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Ashish Vyas leads Cloud Infra Strategy and Modernization in TCS’ AWS business unit. With over 20 years in TCS, he has led many strategic customer engagements globally and provided key solutions to address clients’ needs. His specializations include enterprise architecture and cloud technologies.

With over 17 years in TCS, Madhavan Ananthachari is one of the lead architects in TCS’ AWS business unit. He has worked with multiple companies globally to provide solutions in cloud technologies and IT modernization.