Editorial

Public sector vulnerable to data loss and application recovery issues

Zerto says some public sector organisations are still using decade-old legacy technologies to protect their applications

Posted 20 May 2021 by Christine Horton


The public sector is being hindered in its efforts to modernise by legacy IT – especially when moving to the cloud.

That’s according to Tony Walsh, strategic account director, UK/public sector at data protection and disaster recovery firm, Zerto.

“Some of the biggest challenges facing businesses today are around the ability to recover applications in a timely manner and minimising the loss of data when they face some form of IT incident or interruption,” Walsh said.

“We see a number of public sector organisations spending a lot of time and money modernising their infrastructure either on premise or by moving to cloud. The problem is that the underlying way that they protect their applications isn’t changing in line with this and that is leaving them vulnerable to data loss and application recovery issues.”

Walsh said it is essential the public sector starts to prioritise modernising the protection of their applications, especially those that are critical to keeping their business and services running.

However, he noted that some parts of the public sector are behind the curve with infrastructure modernisation and the cloud – particularly when it comes to utilising cloud for disaster recovery.

“A number of public sector organisations are still operating a range of legacy technologies and are protecting their applications in the same way they have been for the last few decades – usually using traditional backup and recovery processes and a twin datacentre operational model,” he said.

DR-to-cloud

Public sector organisations can have additional restrictions due to the amount of personal information they hold. Data often has to be kept within the UK and whilst most cloud providers have UK datacentres, it is still an area of potential confusion that can make organisations wary of migrating to the cloud.

“You see the same reluctance with financial institutions – there are many data-sets that are simply deemed not right to be held in the public cloud,” said Walsh.

Walsh said in his experience, there are not many public sector organisations adopting disaster recovery (DR)-to-cloud.

“This may be due to some concerns around data sovereignty and security, but as confidence in public cloud grows, we will hopefully see that trend changing. It certainly falls some way short of rapid adoption,” he said.

“Using a cloud platform as a target for DR has a number of benefits. It can reduce costs, as often you will only need to pay for elements of the cloud infrastructure during test or live failovers. It can also provide a first step towards enabling an organisation to ‘test’ application performance on a cloud platform (using the DR copy) before deciding to carry out a full migration to cloud.”

Almost weekly we are seeing more and more public sector organisations getting hit with cyberattacks – and these are only the ones that become public news. For cyber threats, IT failures or any other form of potential business interruption, the question these organisations should be asking themselves is: how much data loss can we tolerate and how quickly do we need to recover normal business operations?”