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Expecting the unexpected

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

Mick Bradley, VP EMEA at Arcserve, outlines how artificial intelligence could be key to disaster-proofing your organisation.

Unexpected disasters can come in many forms, from ransomware, to earthquakes, to IT mistakes made by staff.

Not only can these disasters be a nightmare for all involved, but the cost of downtime can easily spiral to upwards to hundreds of thousands of pounds – not the sort of money most companies would be keen to part with.

Our research aimed at global IT decision makers found they have on average just under one hour to recover from an incident.

While we are fortunate that there are already a variety of business continuity and disaster recovery solutions that can help reduce the potential damage, these dangers remain pertinent ongoing threats to businesses.

Expect the unexpected

Up until this point, artificial intelligence (AI) has generally been used to automate simple, repetitive tasks. However, there is potential for the technology to take on much more advanced activities.

For example, AI can use a company’s data to estimate when cyber threats like ransomware are likely to strike, based on trends and patterns, or even predict when an earthquake could hit.

By collecting certain data on viruses, ransomware and using external information for severe weather – e.g. seismic data – these predictions can allow organisations to make sure that they are prepared in advance.

Whether this means backing up data, installing appropriate patches due to a cyberthreat, or using a public cloud to store data and systems in a different geographical location due to extreme weather, having a heads-up means IT teams can be one step ahead when disasters strike.

Managing trends

Predictive analytics will also be able to help organisations identify and highlight their internal patterns of behaviour, allowing them to better recognise trends.

For example, an IT manager can receive a rough estimate of the speed at which their data requirements will expand over the next few years, allowing them to make better and more informed decisions about how they should allocate and scale their storage needs and future disaster recovery strategies.

It can also help to identify which data is mission-critical and which is business-critical, by keeping records of how often employees are accessing certain types of data. This can be invaluable when it comes to business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

AI also has a role to play in helping businesses test their disaster and recovery processes, by simulating dangerous scenarios and testing responses.

After all, without adequate testing, businesses will never know whether their plan is up to scratch. AI helps IT teams perform dress rehearsals for every potential disaster so they can always be sure to avoid close calls.

When can organisations deploy AI-powered solutions?

Our research found that a large of portion of IT decision-makers (87%) are very likely to consider using BCDR solutions that make use of AI, highlighting the growing amount of interest in the area.

However, many are still wary about the technology, with only one in three IT decision-makers having a ‘great deal’ of faith in them, as many want to be sure they can rely on these solutions (despite their rapid developments).

This suggests that there is still some work to be done. But, as threats to business continuity remain numerous, it would be surprising if businesses didn’t start looking to emerging AI technology as the solution to unexpected disasters, especially when the costs of failure are now so high.

What’s clear is that there is a huge amount of potential when it comes to AI within the data protection industry, even though actual adoption is yet to truly take off.

More and more organisations are focusing on prevention rather than recovery and AI could be the key to help them take things to the next level.

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