Data is growing faster than ever. Organisations of all sizes are experiencing this and the associated challenges, having to store data for longer, dealing with capacity issues on primary storage and ensuring that data protection laws are being complied with. Managing data incorrectly through its lifecycle increases the risk of breach, data loss or of a successful cyber-attack such as ransomware.
Primary storage systems are defined as the area in a computer where data is stored for quick access. Associated terms include Random Access Memory (RAM), memory and main storage.
Secondary data storage does not have the same requirement as primary storage to be accessed quickly. However, depending on its uses, this could become a feature. Secondary storage platforms or devices protect data, often inactive data, that has been copied from a primary storage array to a secure tier of storage such as tape, disk or flash.
Types of secondary storage
Secondary storage systems can have a wide range of uses, from secure data transfer via a physical copy to a full backup of data for disaster recovery purposes. One of the benefits organisations can take from secondary storage is the possibility of reducing cost. Typically, primary storage systems have to deal with large amounts of transactions, constantly actioning user requests and updating. Secondary storage systems typically protect less regularly accessed data and will not have as many transactions to cope with. This means that secondary storage platforms can be cheaper, highly resilient layers of storage. When data is migrated from primary to secondary an organisation can then see a cost saving and increased capacity availability on primary storage.
For smaller organisations, secondary storage hardware is often an external device such as a USB or a hard drive. This can be used to take a copy of data, allowing it to be transported quickly and easily and in some cases even recovered from. An external drive, however, is likely to cause security concerns for an enterprise organisation, as it can be susceptible to loss or theft.
The rise of cloud computing means that data can be quickly and securely stored in cloud platforms while giving organisations the benefits of flexibility, easy deployment and often a pay-as-you-go model based on consumption. Public cloud offerings can make ideal secondary storage systems for organisations with an immediate requirement to store data in a low-cost manner.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
Another use for secondary storage is to keep a secure copy of data as a backup; this may also be used for disaster recovery purposes in the event of a disaster – natural or otherwise. A backup platform is typically a secondary storage platform delivered as an appliance, a dedicated server or a cloud platform, sometimes forming a hybrid solution.
In the data lifecycle, and in line with industry compliance and legal regulations, data sometimes has to be kept for longer periods of time. Storing data for long-term retention on primary storage is inefficient from a cost perspective and also takes up valuable capacity on the primary systems. As data suitable for archiving is irregularly accessed, it can be moved to lower-tier secondary storage systems.
As with a primary storage system, secondary storage needs to be protected against the risks that can threaten a network. With cyber-crimes such as ransomware still a legitimate and growing threat, it is vital to ensure security levels of secondary storage platforms don’t leave data at risk. With so many options and variations on secondary storage, it can be difficult to work out how secure data is. Organisations at minimum need to know:
- Where data is stored
- What security levels are used to protect the data (Encryption is key)
- Who has access to data
- How to get the data back
Since Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation took full effect in May 2018, organisations have had an added responsibility to manage and protect their data securely. They also need the ability to report on parts of it. Backup and disaster recovery in some cases may be the only fully centralised copy of data an organisation has, making it an ideal place to be able to review and report on data. However, this also means that it is imperative for an organisation to have a secure and compliant backup and disaster recovery solution and not an unprotected copy of data on simplistic secondary storage.
Redstor’s unified cloud backup, disaster recovery and archiving solution is operated from highly resilient and secure data centres and data is protected by AES 256-Bit encryption at all times. Taking the headache out of managing a host of solutions, Redstor consolidates the need for complex time-consuming data management and delivers complete data management from a single console. Securely encrypted data is made available, utilising an encryption key held and set by the organisation whose data is being protected, ensuring no unauthorised access. As an expert in the fields of data protection and management, Redstor have 20 years’ experience in helping organisations solve challenges related to data management. To find out more about how Redstor can help you with your secondary storage requirements and stay compliant with data protection laws, get in touch now.