IT professionals are faced with the quandary of preserving data and protecting IT systems from failure, with the added caveat of preventing any operational downtime. However, regardless of the protections put in place, things inevitably go wrong, and those same IT professionals are charged with restoring operations as quickly as possible.

Proper restoration of services usually means turning to backups and hoping that the data and the systems needed to provide the services around that data were stored correctly and could be quickly recovered from those backups. A hope, or a promise, that many times went unfulfilled, as evidenced by countless horror stories of when backups have failed, data corruption ensued, and business was lost.

Simply put, the systems in place often failed to lead to a speedy recovery.

Today’s MSPs can ill afford to place their trust in the backup solutions of yesteryear, which lack the ability to quickly adapt to change and quickly restore operations when disaster strikes. Businesses have come to rely on newer data protection ideologies, which promise to bring together business continuity, disaster recovery, data protection, and archival backup capabilities all under a single management umbrella, a concept best described as Unified Backup.

The Power of Unified Backup

As the name implies, Unified Backup brings the various elements of backup together under a single management interface. However, there is much more to Unified Backup than just simplifying the chores associated with backup. Unified Backup also incorporates numerous other data protection and services restoration schemes, all with the goal of protecting systems and supporting rapid recovery when systems fail. What’s more, Unified Backup addresses the distributed nature of IT operations found today.

Many businesses are in the throes of digital transformation, which means applications are moving onto hybrid cloud environments and leveraging technologies such as virtualization, containerization, and replication. All of which has a significant impact on how data is accessed and how applications are provisioned and delivered to users.

Traditional backup solutions lack the intelligence and sophistication to deal with those distributed environments and prove successful only when backing up physical entities, such as hard drives or other statically defined storage mechanisms. Unified Backup changes the paradigm by incorporating the intelligence needed to better understand how applications work within an organization and how those applications interact with users, servers, data, and delivery fabrics.

A Unified Backup solution leverages the ideology of the cloud and brings all backup capabilities together under a single management portal, where automation can be used to back up live systems as frequently as required. That means a Unified Backup system can back up virtual machines, containers, and other application delivery mechanisms on the fly, capturing activity in near real time and providing the tools to quickly recover a single application or complete virtual machine in a matter of minutes.

The unified nature ensures that all systems can be captured, protected, and monitored making sure that the latest iterations of any IT elements are almost continually protected. It is those capabilities that allow Unified Backup solutions to complement business continuity solutions, as well as become the key component of a disaster recovery solution. The centralized nature of backup management also allows administrators to have a single pane of glass view of BCDR operations, while simultaneously providing the ability to create comprehensive reports that compliance regulations may require.

Unified Backup changes the narrative of the backup story from one of time consuming, manually executed events that simply duplicated data onto alternative storage media, into a narrative of instilling protection across an organization’s IT assets, that can react almost instantly to trouble and restore operations in minutes and not days.

As MSPs adopt cloud technologies, implement hybrid cloud solutions, and distribute IT operations across heterogeneous systems, technologies that bring unified control back into the purview of system managers are going to be critical for success. Nowhere is this truer than with protecting data and applications from failure, and a Unified Backup solution goes a long way toward ensuring operational viability, all without the need to stitch together numerous solutions to backup data and restore it when necessary.