Here are four insights and predictions to substantiate global concerns about natural disasters and man-made crises — and boost preparedness and resilience

As we approach the year-end, we are pleased to share with and readers what we have identified as storage/backup and related trends to watch out for — ranging from cloud sustainability issues to increasingly prickly macroeconomic concerns.

First off, there is the topic of data sovereignty, which we expect will be a primary concern in 2023. With increasingly turbulent waters to tread — in the form of both natural disasters and geopolitical tensions — ensuring data sovereignty will become a non-negotiable step for businesses.

We are already witnessing this trend today. Due to considerations around floods, tsunamis and earthquakes in Japan, for example, firms have been building data centres closer together in a country. This is unsurprising given that economic losses from natural disasters cost the Asia Pacific region an estimated US$72bn in 2021.

Similarly, there is very little latency between cities in neighboring countries such as Singapore and nearby Johor Bahru — and yet data sovereignty concerns are driving demand for separate data centers to be built in-country itself, especially as the digital economies of the region continue to grow, and data continues to drive value: storage resiliency needs will become increasingly local.

In 2023, we will then see growing threats such as severe natural disasters and geopolitical conflicts become key players in organizations’ data backup and archiving strategies. It will be more critical than ever for organizations to think carefully about the location of their data backups to avert catastrophic data loss. 

Sunny Chua, General Manager (Singapore), Wasabi Technologies

Move over, 3-2-1-0
The 3-2-1-0 rule is well-known by all in the business. Focusing on backup availability, this mantra requires businesses to:

    1. Create one primary backup and two copies
    2. Save your backups to two different types of media
    3. Keep at least one backup file offsite
    4. Be sure to have verified backups without errors

However, with nearly all cloud vendors today offering 11 nines’ durability, having three copies means a lot less in preventing data loss than it did in the days before cloud storage became mainstream. After all, gone are the days when storage tapes broke and files were corrupted while being transferred.

To put things in perspective, 11 nines of durability offers so much redundancy that even if a business had 1m 1MB files to store, the business would risk losing just one file every 659,000 years.

Rather, the focus of backup strategies will move from availability of copies to speed of access to those backup copies. Especially in today’s digital age,  businesses are more susceptible than ever to attacks on their data — particularly in APAC, which remains the most targeted region by cyberattackers.

With that said, a backup strategy that ensures seamless, error-free and speedy restoration of services in a crisis is critical.

Global recession worries Vs hyperscalers

With the potential for a global recession in 2023, it is no secret that firms are moving quickly to tighten their belts.

While the tech industry witnessed a surge in cloud adoption owing to digital demands brought on by the pandemic, recent headwinds have already impacted several industries in the APAC region and caused a slowdown in IT spending, such as in healthcare, construction and government services.

At the same time, inflationary pressures continue to rise, and hyperscalers (the two dozen or so firms in the world that can offer the most massive infrastructure, platform and private hosted cloud services) are keen to maintain margins.

Put bluntly: $/GB rates for cloud storage have stopped trending down; there have been no price reductions among leading providers since 2017, nor can businesses expect reductions in the near future.  

Instead, hyperscalers have simply opted to introduce lower-cost storage tiers, which in reality involve additional steps and expenses to realize the promised cost savings: from data transfers, to new data lifecycle and management policies.

However, with businesses running on even tighter budgets in 2023, such lower-cost storage tiers will no longer suffice. Hyperscalers can expect to experience increasing pushback from customers over usage fees such as egress charges and API call charges for storage.

Coupled with that, the call for lower costs has sparked a movement towards Cloud Financial Operations tools as customers seek support to closely monitor and optimize their cloud spend.

Should hyperscalers meet these growing demands with a stalemate, businesses will surely opt for alternative providers that are willing to.

Using Cloud storage to mitigate cyber threats

Today’s business climate involves heavy reliance on virtual tools to support hybrid-work environments across the globe: increasing adoption of SaaS tools; and continued growth of enterprise data volumes.

The APAC region, in particular, is on the precipice of a digital evolution, with the continued roll-out of 5G across the region, and millions of new users set to join the internet in the next year. With such a digitally connected environment, it is inevitable that cybersecurity threats will persist and become increasingly complex in 2023.

Businesses must prepare themselves for the reality that it will be nearly impossible to prevent all the ways malicious actors can win. In many ways, security preparedness and malware prevention is a cat-and-mouse game: which is why so many organizations deploy security strategies that include not just prevention and detection, but data protection, backup, and recovery as well. 

In this perpetual battle against cyber threats that risk downtime and data loss, cloud data management and protection features will be increasingly critical tools in businesses’ arsenals.

For one, cloud storage can enable businesses to quickly replicate secondary and tertiary copies of data in multiple regions and geographies without even the need to purchase or implement any local hardware. Businesses can also utilize the immutable storage capabilities offered by cloud providers to mitigate against inconsistencies between active data and backup copies.