Continuous data protection (CDP) is an automated system that saves a copy of data whenever there are changes made. This means that every time a file, such as a picture or document, is edited there will be numerous real-time backups created.
What is Continuous Data Protection?
Traditional data protection systems rely on software programs that schedule regular data backups. These typically occur once a day and involve the software program taking a snapshot of all current data. Real-time continuous data protection uses advanced software or cloud-based programs to continuously backup data. Every time data modification occurs, such as files being saved or deleted, continuous data protection systems create a comprehensive storage snapshot, according to Computer Weekly. There are three kinds of continuous data protection systems: block-based, which use logical time-ordered caches, application-based, which operate from within the target application, and file-based, which only capture file-system data and events.
Who Manages Continuous Data Protection?
There are a variety of IT and technical positions that deal with continuous data protection. For instance, security and software engineers regularly work with continuous data protection programs because they must design, test and maintain IT systems. Security techs who investigate and restore damaged or infected systems will use these programs to reestablish functionality. IT risk managers use these programs to identify and problem solve security concerns. Helpdesk techs often use continuous data protection systems to troubleshoot and assist clients with computer problems. Threat researchers who work for companies that sell anti-virus and security programs use these systems to experiment with existing and emerging security threats and software vulnerabilities.
What are the Advantages?
Continuous data protection is a very cost-effective solution compared with traditional backup systems. One major benefit of using this technology to perform regular backups is consistent server performance because the system only needs to read the data parts that have been changed. Regular backups require all data to be copied, which negatively affects server performance. Continuous data protection systems have flexible saving options, so companies that only need recent backups can maximize their disk space savings. The level of continuous data protection can be easily adjusted, such as being increased during tax season or peak business periods. These systems guarantee less data loss and improve recovery point objectives because there are shorter backup time intervals.
What are the Disadvantages?
Depending on the size and scope of the business, there are certain drawbacks to using continuous data protection systems. Data restoration can be a slow process if data is stored off-site through a network with limited bandwidth. Some service providers have questionable privacy and security standards because they treat all data the same. Companies that deal with sensitive information, such as financial or health care data, will need to use backup systems that automatically encrypt files. Business broadband services sometimes have monthly data limits that impede regular large backups. Finally, continuous data protection systems require exclusive proprietary software and hardware that will cost more money.
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Overall, continuous data protection systems are very beneficial for large companies with big data needs, but have limited benefits for small businesses.