Backup administrators who have worked with structured data will not completely obscure unstructured data. As with any type of data protection, unstructured data must be accessible, secure and stored where it is adequately protected from unauthorized activities that could damage it.
Technologies that typically secure structured data also work with unstructured data. This can include NAS, cloud, disk, flash and even tape. However, there are some challenges to be aware of with unstructured data.
Data storage capacity is a big challenge. Businesses must account for the rapid creation of unstructured data over time. To ensure data is protected, administrators need to predict how much storage space will be needed today, six months from now, or over the next year.
To protect and secure unstructured data, organizations may also need to revise data management policies, particularly data retention and disposal. When unstructured data files are no longer needed, backup administrators can archive or destroy them to free up disk space.
Challenges in securing unstructured data
In addition to the standard backup challenges, unstructured data has its own challenges due to its size and complexity. Backup administrators should expect the following issues:
- Data storage is already expensive. Unstructured data can make sorting difficult and minimize unnecessary data storage.
- Additional backup and replication costs can add up. For significant amounts of data that need to be backed up, the cost of backup techniques such as B. Replication, can be high and may require additional technical staff to manage everything.
- Changes to primary systems may require backup changes. In situations where primary production systems are upgraded to accommodate unstructured data, a company may need to revise its backup model and associated systems.
- The expansion of data increases the time required for backup and disaster recovery. Backups take longer and retrieving backup data in an emergency can also take more time. This increase in downtime may not be acceptable given the organization’s recovery time objectives (RTOs).
- Compliance requirements can lead to complications. When unstructured data contains protected elements such as B. personal data, this can lead to additional costs.
How to tackle common challenges
One way to address the above and other backup challenges is to re-engineer the entire backup process. This can include how the organization creates backups, backup size and frequency of creation. Some organizations may need to increase RTOs to accommodate longer data retrieval intervals, or even change the technologies they use for data backup. Another option is to use data compression and deduplication to reduce the size of unstructured data files, but this can affect performance.
Unstructured data management applications can analyze unstructured data, classify it, define its characteristics, determine where it is stored and backed up, and assign administrative privileges while tracking the impact of unstructured data on storage devices and overall backup activity.
To streamline the management and protection of unstructured data, backup administrators should do the following:
- Determine how much data can be stored in primary and secondary storage.
- Consider using metadata indexing and data indexing to manage unstructured data.
- Determine how much storage capacity is required and how scalable the storage is.
- Set the level of automation.
- Examine system pricing such as license fees, maintenance and support fees, cost per terabyte stored, and other costs.