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Data Backup Moves Closer to Data Protection

As threats to our data grow, traditional methods of protecting our information are changing to meet the challenge. 

Modernizing your data protection strategy is now more complex than just reviewing your existing backup software and deciding whether to replace it. Sleeper ransomware can infect your backups, the accounts used for backup can be compromised, and there are new features that can simplify failback after a disaster. Deciding which of the new features being offered by vendors are appropriate to your needs, whether they intersect with existing data protection tools, and which vendor is best for you will need research.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Understanding your risk profile and consequential feature requirements will be very beneficial in the creation of your data protection strategy. The new features being offered by backup vendors should be seen as additional tools in your data protection armory rather than replacements for existing tools such as endpoint protection or effective security practices.
  • Review your data protection strategy holistically, investigating which of these features you need in your environment and determining whether your existing tools may suffice.
  • Decide how, if adopted, the new features may fortify or modernize your current data protection plans and then review vendor offerings.

Impact and Result

  • Cybersecurity issues are an increasingly huge risk to data and IT environments worldwide. This places stress not only on IT staff, pressuring them to enhance their data protection solutions, but also on business owners concerned about their revenue stream.
  • The new features work to mitigate that risk, but some tools also enable an environment to failover much more efficiently in the event of a disaster, and new cloud backup features provide enhanced confidence in the protection of offsite data. In general, the tasks that can now be performed are not only enhanced but also expanded.

Data Backup Moves Closer to Data Protection Research & Tools

Data Backup Moves Closer to Data Protection Storyboard – A brief deck describing new features being offered by backup vendors.

This document will help you to ensure that newly implemented systems and technologies are correctly adopted by the intended recipients.

Data Backup Moves Closer to Data Protection

As threats to our data grow, traditional methods of protecting our information are changing to meet the challenge.

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Many backup and recovery companies are now calling themselves data protection (DP) platforms, with a list of new terminology and features that represent a new paradigm in the backup world. Staying on top of the new terms and DP features is difficult, and now the constant reference to data security and data protection compliance makes it even harder to make sense of how this impacts the business and your data protection strategy.

Common Obstacles

Understanding where backup stops and data protection starts becomes difficult when products evolve. It’s clear, for example, that malware needs to be detected and removed, but does the responsibility lie at the device level, at the backup level, or both? There are myriad vendors now providing numerous additional features to their products. Determining which is best for your environment, or whether you need a combination, can be challenging.

Info-Tech Approach

Start by understanding what the new changes are in the backup marketplace and consider what additional functionality is added by the new features being offered. Consider which of those functions suit your needs and then compare the offerings of the different vendors to determine the best fit.

What’s up with backup?

Problem statement:

Data backup has traditionally been the domain of the operational areas of IT, and security teams have been responsible for threats to data from malicious attacks. As the sophistication of these attacks have grown, backups themselves have come under threat and vendors have had to incorporate new features into their software to address these attacks and protect data. Is there an overlap between these new features and existing security tools used in your organization and are both required? Explore these new features and understand which features are provided by which vendor so your backups and data security management can meet this growing threat.

This research is designed for:

  • IT strategic direction decision makers
  • IT operational and security managers
  • Organizations reviewing their data protection solutions or backup strategy

This research will help you:

  1. Understand the changing role of backup.
  2. Review new features available in backup software.
  3. Give a clearer understanding of what features different vendors are offering.
  4. Plan your backup strategy with regards to data protection.

Info-Tech Insight

Historically, the biggest challenges with backups were; which software to use, how much backup space is needed, and how big a backup window?

Times have changed.

“What does this all mean?”

Thought model: “What are my options?”

The question may well be asked, “Is anything new being offered here?” Backup has always been a requirement along with data protection. What HAS changed is that cybersecurity features are now being included within the backup tools. We consider here:

  • The new threats
  • The new features
  • The vendor offerings
  • The security overlay
  • Cloud disaster recovery (DR)

Info-Tech Insight

Take the time to clearly understand the many different data protection options available.

Graphic of umbrella with options above it and various security-related items below.

The role of backup has changed

Historically backup has primarily been a safety net for the “oops” factor. Someone accidentally deletes or overwrites a file, a folder is deleted, or a system has crashed and the missing data needs to be retrieved. Now however, the ubiquity of ransomware and its insidious nature have changed the landscape permanently.

Data backup is no longer just about operational fallback. It’s now also about cybersecurity and therefore data protection. We need to safeguard against malicious attacks, and particularly relevant to this topic are sleeper attacks, in which malware can be dormant for a period of time and then awaken and spread throughout your organization and even your backup.

High-Level Design Considerations

  1. Backup needs
    Requirements may change because of recovery time and point objectives (RTOs/RPOs). How valuable is the data?
  2. Understand your risk profile
    Some organizations provide a more attractive target than others.
  3. Data type
    Volume/type of data and type of applications (e.g. SaaS).
  4. Best practice
    What principles, tools, and techniques can best be combined to mitigate risk?

Data protection taxonomy

With backup’s growth into data protection and additional features being added, the landscape becomes more complex, and the tasks to be performed can be seen more clearly through a taxonomy.

Why do we need these tools and to perform these tasks? What will we be affecting or protecting? How will it be done and where? Who will benefit most?






Operational Recovery

Disaster Recovery

Retention and Preservation

Governance, Risk, and Compliance

Device Type

Data Type

Content Type

Operational Environment

Protection Technology

Storage Technology

Access Technology

Management Technology

Location Type

Data Relocation

Market Segments

Sales Channels

Our perspective

Security, data loss prevention, and backups...coming together as one?

As data protection needs have changed, so too have the features changed to meet these needs.

Originally user error was the primary concern, so merely having a copy of the data was seen as sufficient.

As major disasters occurred in the world, such as the attack on the World Trade Center, disaster recovery planning (DRP) and business continuity planning (BCP) grew.

Now cyberattacks are front and center as a new threat to business continuity and resilience. Data protection companies who integrate backup technology with cyberthreat detection have become the industry leaders.


Siloed data sets protected from internal user error or system failure.
Arrow point right.

Disaster Recovery

Bidirectional dataflow between systems protected against environmental catastrophes
Arrow point right.

Data Protection

Growth of malware, malicious actors, and cyberattacks has resulted in the addition of cybersecurity features.

Growth and size of the industry

It’s big and getting bigger....

With a focus on data protection, improved features, and the evolving integration of cybersecurity technology, the backup and recovery market (now serviced by data protection providers) is set for global growth and expansion.

  • The global backup and recovery market in 2021 was $9.96 billion (Reports and Data, 2022).
  • Other predictions indicate the market size will grow by US$14.59 billion between 2021 and 2025 with a CAGR of 17.07% (Technavio, 2021).
  • This will drive increased M&A within the industry.

It has been a busy few years

The acquisitions and mergers trend will continue.
  • Some of the largest technology acquisitions over the past three years have been purchases of backup and recovery companies.
  • While some of the acquisitions have been very publicly promoted, many have gone unnoticed.
  • In addition to increased M&A, the acquisition of key cybersecurity organizations by data protection companies has been a focus of many providers.
  • Recent providers (like Rubrik and Cohesity) have focused on developing cybersecurity protection within their products feature set.
A few key acquisitions and feature releases (in no particular order):

Don’t forget your non-tech

Consider your non-tech requirements when reviewing vendors and solutions.

Business Continuity Planning

A BCP requires input from multiple departments with different and sometimes conflicting objectives. There are typically few, if any, dedicated resources for BCP, so it can't be a full-time, resource-intensive project.

IT Disaster Recovery

At its core, disaster recovery (DR) is about ensuring service continuity. Create a plan that can be leveraged for both isolated and catastrophic events.

Puzzle head with icons, pieces are color-coded to surrounding requirements.

Data Loss Prevention

Data loss prevention (DLP) involves taking core measures to ensure sensitive/critical information does not leave an organization electronically.


Backup reporting is a requirement for compliance reporting, and it is crucial to keep organizations compliant with data regulations.


Backup and recovery services as well as general data protection solutions are areas that the IT auditor, company auditor, or external auditors will review.


Logo for SoftwareReviews.
Stop Thinking About Backup and Start Thinking About Data Protection
SoftwareReviews tech note by Darryl Levesque

“Stop thinking about backup and start thinking about data protection. Newer technologies are making it redundant.

There was a time that backing up our data required separate premises-based infrastructure to ensure that we could protect ourselves from data loss. Is this still true in the modern data centers of today?

With the advent of hyperconverged infrastructure, continuous data protection down to the second, snapshot technologies and more, traditional vendors are under attack. Add to this the fact that many cloud vendors provide solutions for premises-based data as well as cloud-based SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS data, and we find ourselves asking the question: Is dedicated software needed to protect the data? Do we really need a premises-based backup solution anymore?”

Categories to review:

Key Data Protection Features

Continuous Data Protection (CDP)

A data protection method that backs up information as it changes, without schedules.

Zero Trust Framework

Works on the principle of least privilege. Providers are leveraging the framework for backup and recovery.

Air Gapping

Isolates one or several backups through various methods so they cannot be accessed by malicious actors.

DR Orchestration

Provides a facility for an automated, sequential recovery of systems after a disaster.

Threat Prevention & Detection

Detects malware during backups and interrogates existing backups.

All the “Other” Cloud

Support for Kubernetes, Office 365, Docker, Gsuite and many others.

Cloud to Cloud

Copying from one provider to another; often used for SAAS applications.

Continuous Data Protection (CDP)


Continuous data protection is continuous backup. Every time a change is made to data an incremental is created that can be restored. Effectively, an electronic data snapshot is created every time a change is made, meaning that data can be restored from any point in time.

This is true CDP. Another option is “near CDP,” which backs up at very short time intervals and may be suitable for less critical data.


  • Eliminates recovery point objectives (RPO), as data can be retrieved any time
  • Eliminates backup windows and scheduling
  • Very effective for IT disaster recovery
  • Multiple versions of each file kept with or without versioning
  • Speedy recovery from disk


  • CDP requires physical disk storage with fast performance, and there is an associated cost.
  • Because the data is stored on a server with CDP, that server becomes a potential single point of failure, so high data availability is required.
  • The continuous saving of data to backup effectively doubles the data throughput and may strain resources, creating the possibility of performance or stability issues.

Zero Trust Framework


A zero trust framework works on the principle of least privilege. No one and nothing is trusted, and once privileges are given there is only permission to perform that specific task and no more.

Each person’s identity has to be verified no matter whether they are within the network or they have ownership of the system(s).


  • Reduces organizations attack surface
  • Reduces data loss and/or data breach
  • Enhances security and compliance
  • Increases control over cloud and containerized environments


  • Although zero trust is very effective, it takes time and effort required to set it up. The backup vendors may provide modules to simplify the process.
  • Zero trust may seem expensive to implement, but the cost must be weighed against the potential risks of attack and data loss.
  • Zero trust must account for types of users and different types of devices. The simplicity of allowing staff or equipment with open access is no longer possible.

Air Gapping


Air gapping involves isolating a backup so it cannot be accessed by malicious threats. It is similar to taking backup tapes off premises for storage elsewhere, but now it can be done virtually.

Air gapping may be (i) physical – a different location, (ii) segregated – same location but disconnected from network, or (iii) logical – isolated through encryption or appliances.


  • Ensures at least one backup is not manipulated or destroyed
  • Speedy restore as the backup is trusted
  • Safe from being infected by ransomware in other backups
  • If the network is penetrated, the backup remains safe


  • Although air gapping makes it difficult for external actors to gain access, it’s important to consider internal attacks as well.
  • Depending on the way it’s done, there may be a human element to creating air gap backups, which may expose the backup to human error.
  • Consider the type and location of the backup when thinking about your RTO. If the backup is to slow media such as tape and needs to be physically relocated, that could have negative impacts.

DR Orchestration


The merging of backup and disaster recovery is seen in the inclusion of DR orchestration tools by some backup vendors.

DR orchestration enables a sequenced, automated recovery of the IT environment, enabling critical systems to be brought online before less critical – core infrastructure such as DHCP first before application servers, databases, etc.


  • Reduces complexity in recovery environment
  • Minimizes human error
  • Faster failover as DR elements are tested
  • Close interaction between DR and backup tools


There are various components to DR orchestration:

  • Runbooks: Generally, DR orchestration tools provide a DR runbook that presets the order in which your systems (VMs) recover.
  • Scripting: The runbook can be refined or customized using basic scripts that enable more complex configurations.
  • Testing: Another key component of orchestration is the ability to test the failover process and ensure the runbook and scripts work as expected.
  • Failback: Changes made to systems whilst using the DR environment can be incorporated back into production after the disaster.

Threat & Detection


Threat detection refers to the interrogation of backups to detect and address malware and ransomware threats.

This is done by detecting anomalies to determine unusual input/output patterns of backups and then notifying administrators. Also, existing backups are scanned to detect any malicious software or malware previously missed.


  • Detects ransomware
  • Can detect threats missed in initial scans
  • Prevents encryption
  • Automatically restores affected files
  • Notifies administrators of attack


  • While this is effective for backups, it should not be seen as a replacement for traditional scanning tools based on host machines.
  • Scanning backups does not affect the efficiency of the production process and will not slow down backups.
  • Previously undetected malware can be detected through a retroactive backup scan providing updated signatures are provided.

Enhanced Cloud Protection


Improved data protection for other cloud services is important. New products allow for control of your environment and backup and recover data anywhere in the cloud. Consider all the other data elements within your cloud infrastructure.

Backup companies now provide features that cater for products such as Kubernetes, Office 365, Dockers, Google Workspace, Salesforce, and many others.


  • Protects core infrastructure cloud services
  • Provides greater control over cloud recovery
  • Provides cloud management dashboards
  • Maximizes recovery of other cloud services
  • Provides a backup of core InfraOps services


  • Do not assume that because you are using a cloud provider you are secure.
  • Understanding the recovery capability of your cloud provider and supplementing it where necessary is essential.

“Microsoft is focused on availability, not business continuity. You still need backups.” (Michel Hébert, Research Director, Info-Tech Research Group)

Cloud to Cloud


Cloud-to-cloud backup involves copying data stored with one cloud provider to another to act as an offsite backup.

It is commonly used for SaaS applications to ensure redundancy should there be an issue with the vendor’s backup systems.


  • Centralized control
  • Enhanced data protection
  • Highly accessible data
  • Separation from office network reduces attack surface
  • Scalable to accommodate growth in backups


  • Some applications such as Salesforce can be complicated to back up and investigation is required to know exactly what should be copied.
  • Consider bandwidth and latency when looking at cloud-to-cloud backups. Conduct tests initially to gauge whether it is suitable for your data and whether it will meet your RTOs and RPOs.
  • Ensure you can easily do recovery tests.

Review your data protection providers

Define what you are looking for, as there are many choices. Here are a few to consider:
  • To best understand your options, you need to understand what services are provided by the industry vendors.
  • Within the following slides, you will find a defined activity with a working template that will create profiles for each vendor.
  • As a working example, you can review the following partners.
  1. Rubrik
  2. Cohesity
  3. Datto
  1. Zerto
  2. Veeam
  3. Veritas
Stock illustration of computer storage and protection components.
Info-Tech Insight

Creating vendor profiles will help quickly identify the solution providers that directly meet your data protection needs.

Vendor Profile #1


Summary of Vendor

Rubrik is a cloud data management company.

“Rubrik helps enterprises achieve data control to drive business resiliency, cloud mobility, and regulatory compliance. We are trusted by the world's leading companies and industry-leading partners.” (Rubrik)


Headquarters & Coverage:
Palo Alto, CA, USA
Logo for Rubrik.


  • ✓ Continuous Data Protection
  • ✓ Zero Trust Framework
  • ✓ Air Gapping
  • ✓ DR Orchestration
  • ✓ Threat Detection and Prevention
  • ✓ Enhanced Cloud Protection
  • ✓ Cloud to Cloud

Vendor Profile #2


Summary of Vendor

Cohesity provides data management that includes backup, anti-ransomware, and DRaaS and SaaS management.

Cohesity believes in “reducing complexity, keeping your business secure, and delivering more value. We relentlessly innovate to build next-gen data management solutions that help you stay ahead of modern-day challenges.” (Cohesity)


Headquarters & Coverage:
San Jose, CA, USA
Logo for Cohesity.


  • ✓ Continuous Data Protection
  • ✓ Zero Trust Framework
  • ✓ Air Gapping
  • ✓ DR Orchestration
  • ✓ Threat Detection and Prevention
  • ✓ Enhanced Cloud Protection
  • ✓ Cloud to Cloud

Vendor Profile #3


Summary of Vendor

“Datto delivers a single toolbox of easy to use products and services designed specifically for managed service providers and the businesses they serve. Datto’s industry-leading MSP tools are designed to optimize your business and expand the services you deliver to clients. Our integrated, scalable, and innovative suite of hardware and software solutions work together to drive success for MSPs of any size.” (Datto)


Headquarters & Coverage:
Connecticut, USA
Logo for Datto.


  • ✓ Continuous Data Protection
  • ✗ Zero Trust Framework
  • ✓ Air Gapping
  • ✓ DR Orchestration
  • ✓ Threat Detection and Prevention
  • ✗ Enhanced Cloud Protection
  • ✓ Cloud to Cloud

Vendor Profile #4

Zerto (HPE)

Summary of Vendor

Zerto is a storage software vendor that specializes in enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) in virtual and cloud environments.

“Zerto delivers cloud data management and protection with a simple, scalable platform built for virtualized and containerized environments running on-premises or in the cloud.” (Zerto)


Headquarters & Coverage:
Tel Aviv, Israel
Logo for Zerto.


  • ✓ Continuous Data Protection
  • ✗ Zero Trust Framework
  • ✓ Air Gapping
  • ✗ DR Orchestration
  • ✗ Threat Detection and Prevention
  • ✓ Enhanced Cloud Protection
  • ✓ Cloud to Cloud

Vendor Profile #5


Summary of Vendor

Veeam provides backup, data, and recovery solutions that deliver modern data protection.

It is a US-based company with a US-based leadership team but has experts located throughout the world. “Veeam continues to charge forward to innovate the industry so you can own, control and protect your data anywhere in the hybrid cloud.” (Veeam)


Headquarters & Coverage:
Columbus, USA
Logo for Veeam.


  • ✓ Continuous Data Protection
  • ✗ Zero Trust Framework
  • ✓ Air Gapping
  • ✓ DR Orchestration
  • ✓ Threat Detection and Prevention
  • ✓ Enhanced Cloud Protection
  • ✓ Cloud to Cloud

Vendor Profile #6


Summary of Vendor

“Veritas Technologies is a leader in multi-cloud data management. Over 80,000 customers – including 87% of the Fortune Global 500 – rely on Veritas to help ensure the protection, recoverability and compliance of their data. Veritas has a reputation for reliability at scale, which delivers the resilience its customers need against the disruptions threatened by cyberattacks, like ransomware.” (Veritas)


Headquarters & Coverage:
USA, Global
Logo for Veritas.


  • ✓ Continuous Data Protection
  • ✓ Zero Trust Framework
  • ✓ Air Gapping
  • ✓ DR Orchestration
  • ✓ Threat Detection and Prevention
  • ✓ Enhanced Cloud Protection
  • ✓ Cloud to Cloud


Understand your vendor options and key drivers

  1. Create your vendor profiles using the vendor template.
  2. Identify the key drivers of your data protection strategy.
  3. Align the key drivers to your business goals.

Info-Tech Insight

Create a process that presents transparency around vendor benefits with the business. This process should be embedded within your BCP and IT DRP programs.

These activities involve the following participants:

  • IT strategic direction decision makers
  • IT managers responsible for an existing backup or data protection environment

Outcomes of this step:

  • Vendor Profile Template
  • Key drivers and business goal alignment

1. Vendor Profile template

‹Vendor Name›

Summary of Vendor

‹Vendor Summary›
Provide a summary of the vendor’s services

Insert the URL for the vendor’s website

Headquarters & Coverage:
Insert the vendor’s location and coverage areas
Insert the vendor’s logo

Data Protection Services

  • ✓ Continuous Data Protection
  • ✓ Zero Trust Framework
  • ✓ Air Gapping
  • ✓ DR Orchestration
  • ✓ Threat Detection and Prevention
  • ✓ Enhanced Cloud Protection
  • ✓ Cloud to Cloud

Itemize the vendor’s services specific to your requirements

2. Identify the drivers behind your data protection strategy

1 hour

Input: Ideas

Output: Clear list of purpose for data protection

Materials: Sticky notes, Whiteboard, Virtual whiteboard

Participants: Infrastructure Management, Backup Admin, System Admin, Database Admin

Understand the drivers that are motivating your organization’s backup strategy optimization to ensure the implemented solution provides returns in the critical areas identified.

  1. Meet with the project’s key stakeholders to outline the purpose of the future backup software and the drivers behind this business decision. Use sticky notes to write down ideas and post them on the whiteboard to kick-start the discussion.
  2. Document plans to ensure these drivers are taken into consideration and realized following implementation.

Sticky notes. 'Improve' column has four and 'Reduce/Eliminate' column has three.

3. Align key drivers of your strategy with business goals

30 minutes

Input: IT services, Business goals

Output: Understanding of how IT services tie to business goals

Materials: Sticky notes, Whiteboard, Virtual whiteboard

Participants: Infrastructure Management

  1. Write these questions on a whiteboard/flip chart:
    • What are the IT initiatives around data protection?
    • What data protection services do we have?
  2. Have participants use sticky notes to write down ideas/points. Paste these on the board.
  3. Spend some time with the team to organize notes into logical groupings. Create a “parking lot” for those points that do not seem to have a natural fit.
  4. Once grouping is complete, work with the team to define each category.
  5. Align IT initiatives to business goals. This can become the foundation of the business case required to invest in this project.

Business goals.

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Research Authors

Photo of Paul Binns, Principal Research Advisor, Info-Tech Research Group. Paul Binns, Principal Research Advisor, Info-Tech Research Group

With over 30 years in the IT industry Paul brings to his work his experience as a Strategic Planner, Consultant, Enterprise Architect, IT Business Owner, Technologist, and Manager. Paul has worked with both small and large companies, local and international, and has held senior roles in government and the finance industry.

Photo of Troy Cheeseman, Practice Lead, Info-Tech Research Group. Troy Cheeseman, Practice Lead, Info-Tech Research Group

Troy has over 24 years of experience and has championed large, enterprise-wide technology transformation programs, remote/home office collaboration and remote work strategies, BCP, IT DRP, IT Operations and expense management programs, international right placement initiatives, and large technology transformation initiatives (M&A). Additionally, he has deep experience working with IT solution providers and technology (cloud) startups.


Armstrong, Adam. “Commvault CEO: We're a data protection, not security, company.” TechTarget, June 2022. Web.

Bader, Sarah. “How to Protect Backups from Ransomware.” Rewind, May 2022. Web.

“Continuous Data Protection.” Cloudian, June 2022. Web.

“Cloud Backup and Recovery Market by End-user and Georgraphy – Forecast and Analysis 2021-2025.” Technavio, Aug. 2021. Web.

Crocetti, Paul. “What is Data Protection and Why is it Important?” TechTarget, Feb. 2021. Web.

Curna, Paul. “Does your Backup System ensure Data Protection?” TechTarget, Oct. 2020. Web.

“Data Backup and Recovery Market.” Reports and Data, April 2022. Web.

Kulkarni, Neha Pradhan. “6 Must-Know Data Backup Trends for 2022 To Follow This World Backup Day.” Spiceworks, Apr 2022. Web.

Maczka, Pawel. “Ransomware meets Backup – Cyber Attack Detection System.” Storware, n.d. Web.

Mendoza, Manny. “Air Gapping: What is an Air Gap Backup?” Corodata, May 2021. Web.

Pai Manoor, Shreesha. “Prioritizing Backup as Container Use Rises.” Container Journal, Sept. 2021. Web.

PRNewswire. “Cloud Backup and Recovery Market Size to Group by USD 14.59 billion.” Transforming Network Infrastructure Industry News, 29 June 2022. Web.

Sagal, Monty. “History of Data Backup – From Tape to Cloud.” CloudAlly, Feb. 2021. Web.

Taylor, Mike. “Zero-trust Security: Advantages and How it Works” Druva, June 2022, Web.

Teiteiroit, Luy. “A Brief History of Data Backup.” IT Support Guys, May 2021. Web.

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