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Zerto’s Avi Raichel on the importance of IT resilience

With cyber attacks growing in number and sophistication, most business leaders now accept that it’s only a matter of time until their organisation is hit. But malware is only one of the many forms of disruption facing businesses today. Ahead of ZertoCON in Nashville, Tennessee, we spoke to Zerto’s chief information officer, Avi Raichel, about IT resilience, GDPR and the future of backup software.

What’s the Zerto elevator pitch?

At Zerto, we converge cloud mobility, disaster recovery and backup into one single, simple, scalable platform. We call it the IT Resilience Platform. This helps organisations accelerate their journey to the cloud, and protect their applications and data from disruption. If they suffer an attack, they can recover very quickly without losing almost any data.

The company talks about “IT resilience” a lot. Can you explain what this means in business terms?

It is the ability to sustain disruption. It’s knowing that when something disruptive happens, you can recover quickly and resume normal operations. Disruptions take many forms. It might be a bad disruption, such as a natural disaster or cyber attack, but it could also be a good disruption, like consolidating your data centre or going through an acquisition.

Has businesses’ appetite for backup software changed since GDPR came into effect?

I think that regulation makes organisations ask additional questions because it requires them to take actions to protect their data. Organisations are starting to ask themselves: “Do we have the right infrastructure in place to protect the data?” They often ask us to support them with GDPR compliance.

A recent analyst survey found that almost all businesses (93 per cent) have experienced a tech-related disruption in the last two years. What do you think the main steps are that businesses can take to reduce downtime?

I would say that the focus has changed a lot in the last couple of years. Organisations now understand that protection is important, but it’s not enough. Everyone still invests a lot of money in protecting from cyber attacks, but the assumption has to be that in the end something might penetrate. We have seen in the last couple of years many organisations understanding that to have complete protection, you also need the recovery ability. Ultimately, if you assume you will never be hit, you’re going to face disruption. You need to protect, you need to detect, and you need to be able to respond and recover.

What kind of technical support does Zerto provide when things go wrong?

At Zerto we leverage our continuous data protection software to make sure that when something goes wrong, you can simply wind back to any point in time and restore the system. If you were hit with ransomware, you can go back to a minute before and then recover the system. That is continuous; it’s not based on a snapshot. You don’t get just one or two points in time every day to which you can recover. You can recover to any point in time, and that’s the big difference that ensures that you can always go back and resume normal operations.

Do you think backup and disaster recovery is a C-level responsibility as well as the IT team’s?

As businesses become more and more digital, it means they rely on their IT systems much more. Now it’s not just a few hours of lost productivity: If a business is down, it might mean it loses revenue; It might mean it loses customers; It might mean damage to its reputation. The stakes are much higher right now, which means that making sure you are resilient and can deal with those kinds of threats is a C-level issue.

When you look at backup, it has evolved a lot over the past few years – what do you think is the future of backup?

We like to say the future of backup is not backup; it is continuous data protection. In the digital era, you cannot rely on backup that is based on snapshots. You need to be able to be much more granular in the point in time to which you recover – it’s simply not scalable to manage so many snapshots. Continuous data protection is the best architecture to make sure you can recover. We believe at Zerto that our capability for what we call ‘long-term retention’ will disrupt the backup market in the years to come.