ARTICLE TABLE OF CONTENTS
This is about DPM (Data Protection Management).
- What DPM is
- Why organizations need DPM
- Lots more
So if you want to understand DPM, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started!
Why Data Protection Management?
The last couple of years there has been a lot of talk about data.
People want to protect it, companies want to have as much of it as possible, and governments are putting forward initiatives to prevent them from doing so.
In the process, some companies suffered and lost reputation. Do you still trust Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Hardly, since they’ve been so shady with the way they handle your personal stuff.
But today we’re not talking about companies stealing your data. We’re talking about data loss. More specifically, the worst kinds of data loss: accidental and self-inflicted.
We’ve all been there—you stay up late working on a project, the power goes out for a second and you lose all your work. Or you click the “X” button, and when Word asks “Want to save changes to draft_screenplay_Sharknado7?” you click “Don’t save”.
On a small scale, data loss is just an inconvenience. On an enterprise level, however, missteps and accidents can cost people their jobs, companies a lot of money, and markets to crumble.
To prevent this from happening, we have Data Protection Management (DPM)—a series of protocols used to help preserve data.
Why Does Data Need Preserving?
Let’s step back for a minute and ask, what’s wrong with data preservation? The root of the issue is where we store our data.
When it comes to your personal needs, most of your data is stored on your local machine such as:
As such, it’s easy to access. It’s just a click or a tap away.
If you have too much data, you’ll probably use an external drive or USB (although who uses those anymore?). You might even store your data online in Google Drive or iCloud or some other service.
Businesses do the same thing—they have a lot of data and store it on large servers. Recently, we’ve seen cloud servers gain a lot of traction.
Although the cloud sounds like this mystical place in cyberspace, all computer stuff (including clouds) is stored on an actual, physical server. This applies to photos of your cat and to important, classified files of an international company.
Are you seeing the point yet?
All data is stored in a physical place, whether it’s your personal device, an external hard drive, or a huge server run by a global enterprise.
Even if you’re 100% careful, physical drives and servers can crash/malfunction/break for no fault of your own.
In fact, 67% of all data loss happens because of system failures or hard drive crashes.
The Salvation: Backing up your data
One of the best ways to preserve data and prevent its loss are backups.
By definition, a backup is a copy of computer data saved and stored in a different place so that you can restore the original in case you lose it. This way, you ensure your data is safe from things like:
- Power outages
- Human error
But, there are several questions that arise with backups.
First, what if you don’t have space on the server or device for a backup? If you need to back up your data immediately and you don’t have any more storage, that could be a problem.
Second, where do you back up your data? It shouldn’t be in the same place as the original. Let’s use a simple example: if you back up your extremely important Word file on your computer, that won’t be of too much use if your laptop gets stolen.
Third, who has access to your backups? If you’re afraid of getting hacked, you might consider backing up your data to a safer place. How do you know which places are safe?
Simply backing up your data may be enough for personal use. But large companies handling sensitive data need more assurance about its safety, availability, and protection.
That’s where data protection management comes in:
Data protection management: a crucial process
Data protection management is the administration and monitoring of backup processes. Think of it as a series of protocols and good practices in data protection. So, making sure all of your data is backed up regularly, easily available when needed, and in compliance with the latest regulations are all parts of data protection management.
While you may be able to sleep at night knowing that the latest version of your Word file is saved on your laptop, companies have a whole process in place to know:
- Where their data is backed up
- How often it’s backed up
- Whether there’s enough storage for tomorrow’s backup
- And so on
The Data Protection Management Process takes care of these things.
However, DPM can also be referred to as a technology and product category. Then we’re not talking about measures or protocols—we’re talking about software.
Companies that make backup and system administration products also offer software that provides data protection.
Let’s get into both of these in more detail:
Data Protection Management as a Series of Measures
When we talk about DPS as a set of protocols, we’re essentially talking about a company policy. Having good data protection management, in this case, would mean having strong backup processes, methodologies, and tools to preserve data.
On a more practical note, a company that has good data protection management probably backs up their data at specific times of the day, every day. It also always makes sure the data is encrypted (non-readable by third parties), and only certain users have permission to access it.
Here are some examples of DPM measures companies take to preserve their data:
- Implementation of backup techniques: Where is the data backed up? How often? What software is used to do it? All of these (and many other) questions are asked to make sure the best backup techniques are in use.
- Regular audits: A good data protection management process checks the health of the current data protection infrastructure. Companies use DPM to identify potential issues in their protocols almost on a daily basis.
- Compliance: DPM is also used to make sure that backup management processes are compliant with regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and others.
As you can see, DPM is much more than backing up your data. It’s about making sure backups are done properly and all other aspects of data preservation are up to standard.
Data Protection Management as Software
You may also hear people talk about DPM as a tool. In that case, they’re talking about a data protection management program, a tool created to keep data safe.
Such tools can perform a wide range of actions to make sure data is properly backed up and preserved.
Here are some things a DPM software can do:
- Manage storage: DPM applications can be used to configure storage systems and similar software. You can use DPM for space allocation—determining which data goes where in the system.
- Raise an alarm: Data protection management software has a system in place to instantly alert you when there is a failure in the backup process.
- Generate reports: Most DPM apps can simulate a disaster recovery scenario and tell a company if all of their files can be recovered in such an event.
These programs can do so many other things, all geared towards making data protection and everything easier.
What are the most popular DPM products?
There are a lot of data protection management applications available, but perhaps the most popular is Microsoft’s System Center Data Protection Manager. It was released in 2005 and is still used to back up and recover files in a Windows environment.
Companies can use Microsoft’s SCDPM to back up files to disks (for short-term use), Microsoft’s Azure cloud, and even tape for long-term storage.
Other popular DPM apps include:
- NetApp: The company offers cloud data services. They acquired Akorri in 2011, allowing clients to manage, optimize, and plan data backups using advanced analytics.
- Veritas: Founded in 1983, Veritas specializes in data management. Through a series of acquisitions, they now offer advanced DPM services.
- Bocada: One of the market leaders in enterprise backup reporting, Bocada helps companies mitigate the risk of data loss.
- SolarWinds: Headquartered in Austin, Texas, SolarWinds has some rather famous clients—almost all of the Fortune500 companies. One of their products was the target of a major cyberattack in December 2020.
- Dell Technologies: You may know Dell for their laptops and high-performing PCs, but they have acquired EMC in 2016 and got into cloud storage and information security. The company formerly known as EMC now operates as Dell EMC and targets small and medium-sized businesses.