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Druva 2021 Predictions

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Major Rebuild Ahead: 80M apps will be reimagined by 2025
There is going to be a massive shift to rebuilding applications on the public cloud within the next five years, which will change how we think about the public cloud, applications, and the management of them. This, in turn, is going to bend the cost curve.

There has been a near 60 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in public cloud applications. This includes cloud computing, GPUs becoming dramatically cheaper to enable modern workloads, and storage handling and cold storage models becoming more accessible. This shift is going to create a major repositioning of how data is managed and perceived, and how applications and models are built. We call it the “33 Percent Rule”, meaning 33 percent of apps will remain in the data center, 33 percent will be consumed by SaaS and 33 percent will be reimagined or rebuilt in the public cloud.

The Next Normal Will Drive Continued Cloud Growth
In 2020, cloud enabled a lot of the solutions to our unprecedented situation in 2020, turning office workers into remote employees over night and delivering business tools and services on-demand. Cloud will continue to enable the next steps we take, combining security and safety – personal, business, data – to make the most of data and technology for improved experiences, increased automation, and digital services, and accelerated innovation.  There was a formidable acceleration in 2020, driven by increasing capacity, flexibility, and cost efficiency, which is also a significant wake-up call. Companies that do not act now will not only be left behind, but they will also be more at risk. That is not to say everything will be in the cloud, some workloads and data have to remain on-premises. The key is for companies to learn what data should go to the cloud or the edge, and what should stay on-premises.

With cloud companies generating double-digit or triple-digit revenue growth, cloud indexes outperforming the market, and considering the strong Snowflake IPO, investors will be carefully watching public and private cloud companies for market developments. In addition to profitability and a growing customer base, savvy investors should keep an eye on the amount of data under management. This is a key metric of a cloud platform and is a good proxy for the value created tomorrow and today. It will also help separate cloud washing companies from companies that truly embrace the cloud in their service and business model. While cloud computing removes barriers to scalability and affordability, not all cloud companies will be able to maximize the value of data being stored in the cloud. Businesses will vote on the best cloud technologies with their data, not just their dollars. 

With more workloads in the cloud, companies will be focused on three priorities in 2021: on-demand access to data anytime, anywhere and without interruption; managing cloud costs while driving operational efficiencies; and extracting more value out of that data. Achieving all three will require both changes in technology and company culture, however the cloud-powered changes create opportunities to innovate that can only be seized if the relationship to data evolves within the organization. Protect and manage it like an asset, share it in relevant ways, and leverage it and the cloud to make data work. From the new ways to collaborate to the cloud’s safety and the ability to experiment easily and then scale, organizations will drive insights from AI, build new cloud-native applications, and expose their business differently via APIs. Organizations that successfully utilize data to break down silo, will have the opportunity to create closer collaboration, drive faster innovation and realize faster time to value.

Zero Touch Data Protection
In 2021, traditional backup approaches will hit their breaking point. Data sprawl, as organizations run more applications in the cloud and at the edge, makes backing up all the data a challenge. But even backing up all the data will not be enough because businesses will expect disaster recovery for their business applications – whether they run in Microsoft 365, Kubernetes, or virtual machines. Perhaps most importantly, there will continue to be fewer dedicated data protection administrators, so teams will have to do more with less.

To address the challenges, we will see customers push closer toward “zero touch data protection” in three ways:

  1. Application-centric protection – With the increased diversity of applications, protecting VMs, file servers, and databases is not enough. Customers will select backup solutions by how well they protect new environments like Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Kubernetes because applications will only get more complex and distributed. In 2021, teams will choose a protection architecture that will evolve with their business.
  2. Disaster Recovery in the cloud – We agree with Forrester’s prediction that on-premises disaster recovery will fade. As customers consolidate data centres, they will not have either a site or standby equipment for on-premises disaster recovery. Therefore, they will adopt on-demand cloud disaster recovery to meet their existing requirements. Then the simplicity and lower-cost of cloud DR will enable them to protect applications that they could never afford to protect on-premises. 
  3. Data protection as a service (DPaaS) – With more threats, more applications, and more requirements, reliable protection is more important than ever. Instead of trying to build internal expertise around evolving data compliance requirements, security threats, and cloud backup management, customers will partner with a team of experts to project their most valuable assets.

Something as important as data protection should “just work” but it is so complicated that it rarely does. In 2021, customers will choose the simplicity of zero-touch data protection.

Evolving Value of Data
After a decade of unfulfilled visions of “copy data management”, customers will demand concrete solutions to sensitive data management and application-centric data reuse 2021. 

With great value comes great risk. As data has become a more valuable asset, it has also become a larger liability.  Of course, regulators and cyber criminals have made those value assessments for years. Regulations like GDPR, require organizations to manage sensitive data, including its deletion when necessary. Meanwhile, cyber extortionists probe vulnerable devices, like endpoints for sensitive data. With the risk of breaches, fines, and loss of consumer trust, in 2021 companies will invest in detecting and deleting sensitive data wherever it is in the environment. 

In 2021, businesses will focus on extracting more value from their Salesforce data.  Since the most business critical data lives in Salesforce, they are developing custom analytics applications on Salesforce. To validate these business-critical applications, developers need access to Salesforce sandboxes. Therefore, in 2021, customers will demand concrete solutions to help them extract value from their Salesforce data.

Growth of Ransomware
While all organizations remain at risk in part due to the work from home, we believe healthcare will be the most targeted industry in the next year. In 2021, ransomware will target healthcare even more so than in 2020. As R&D organizations across the globe scramble to finalise a vaccine for the COVID-19 pandemic, ransomware threat actors will similarly be scrambling to make a profit even more so than before. Threat actors will be targeting medical research laboratories, big pharma, biotechnology companies and any third-party companies that healthcare works with, as these organizations will likely be storing the patient data being analysed in order to create a vaccine. Biotechnology, pharma and medical organizations will have to step up their cybersecurity posture in order to keep up with the wave of new attacks. It will no longer be an option, especially given the pressure for coming up with a vaccine that is tested and safe.

Everyone will need to focus on data recovery, but the threat surface will be dynamic. Protection and recovery must be included in any strategy because successful attackers are taking multiple approaches, while also threatening to expose data they’ve exfiltrated. A strong data protection architecture will be key to ensure endpoints are not cluttered unnecessarily with sensitive or confidential data. Instead, the focus should be on backing up such data, and then restoring it temporarily at a future time, if and when required.  Additionally, organizations should think about more aggressive reminders or maybe even penalties for not following data lifecycles, which will be important to minimize exposure risks. Research suggestions that ransomware attacks show no sign of slowing down.

As studies have shown, ransomware is big money.  With cryptocurrencies flourishing and their traceability questionable, coupled with continued payments from victims (despite all warnings otherwise) the attackers and bad actors will continue their assault and likely try even harder to get to the data.  Unfortunately, as data’s value continues to rise so does the profit in exploiting, exfiltrating and stealing this data.

Markets will Debate the True Nature of a Strong SaaS Business
The digital transformation that companies thought would take 5-10 years is now taking place over the course of months. The rapid pace of migrations and digital transformation is only expected to continue. Nimble companies that can be deployed quickly, meet changing demands, and deliver promised value have reaped the benefits. 

The enterprises who are only now embracing a shift to a “as a service” based models are candidly too late.  “Innovators dilemma” will restrict their ability to fully embrace the cloud and while they may attempt to take an on-premises solution and host it in the cloud, they are effectively building a subscription company, not a SaaS company where customer outcomes mean more than simply a billing change.   

However, in the search for business models to further drive flexibility and customer outcomes, the evolution to usage-based models has become the next business model en vogue.  The ability to harness the latest emerging technologies, cloud computing, machine learning and enhanced digital experiences through a utility-based model has powered some of the newest powerhouse companies.  This business model differentiation will be where enterprises drive towards with best-in-class services readily available with ease of adoption and consumption with limited commitments.  On-premise models were once great, but now is the time for the customer to win.

Authored by Milind Borate, Co-founder & CDO, Druva

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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