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Integrating Backup Workflows in Enterprise IT

By Cobalt Iron's CTO

Marett CobaltThis blog was posted by Robert M. Marett, CTO, Cobalt Iron, Inc., on July 23, 2020.



Integrating Backup Workflows in Enterprise IT

Backup can be an afterthought for many organizations. Everyone assumes it’s functioning until they find out it’s not – the hard way. And what happens when it’s not? Loss of data. Loss of revenue. Chaos. Disaster.
But why does this happen? Enterprise backup landscapes end up lonely, isolated, and siloed in the IT stack. That’s where a smart integration strategy comes into play. Integration between your enterprise applications and backup environment is mission-critical to eliminating risk. Integration across your applications is also a vital component of a successful digital transformation.

So, what portions of IT operations can be integrated with backup and recovery?

It allows the automation of multiple steps of customer IT workflow processes across systems, teams, business units, and stakeholders consistently every time without touching the data protection system itself. Cobalt Iron created a RESTful API and tooling to provide seamless access to create, rename, update, or delete (CRUD) data protection elements allowing customers to integrate into the backup system within the business workflow to protect, validate, and recover enterprise data.

Many vendors lay claim to have RESTful APIs, but they don’t integrate well with existing backup tools. Check that your solution actually integrates backup operations with a robust RESTful API that is fully functional and ready to go. Also, look for solutions that are continuously updated and improved to meet changing needs.

Backup reports should never be a dry, preformed set of data you get, and possibly ignore, once a month. Integration means that the right people get the right information about their applications and systems at their fingertips exactly when they need it. Many customers purchase programs such as Rocket Servergraph to aggregate reporting across multiple backup products and tools, but that can be time-consuming and complex.

You should not only have a solution in place that seamlessly integrates with Servergraph, but also provides robust reporting that allows retrieval of raw data or reports within the backup environment. 

The majority of backup systems spit an email ticket out and call it done. Compass integrates into top ticketing applications so administrators can take a more surgical and prescriptive approach to ticketing. Instead of just ticketing a problem, Compass provides alerts about a problem directly to the responsible individual or team and guides them towards a solution.

With enterprise application integration, events can be ticketed by email, SNMP alerts, or via API integrations into your enterprise ticketing system.

Directory anf 2-factor authentication
Cyber-attacks are targeting the enterprise with increasing frequency which drives the need for strong security. Integration with enterprise directory services, like Active Directory, eliminates the user authentication and authorization security risks associated with managing a separate user directory for the data protection landscape. The strongest backup solutions employ two-factor authentication which requires that the user logs in with a username and password, then must authorize that login via an app or email. Integration with applications such as Duo and CyberArk adds another layer of security to your backup landscape.

Many organizations act as their own MSP , doing chargebacks and showbacks to their internal organizations even though no actual money is changing hands. It is an arduous task to pull and process the data, but all that overhead can disappear when billing has easy, consistent access to real data from the backup system. For Compass users, pricing is defined within their data protection environment. Billing integration also provides flexible configuration for different pricing policies in different locations based on local economic factors.

Assessing Your Backup Integrations
It is rare to find a company integrating more than 2 or 3 of these IT operations because of how challenging it is to pull backup and recovery into the overall workflow for IT administrators.

Corporate reliance on data and the ever-present risk of cyber threats have raised the importance of protecting the enterprise data. Most would agree that backup should be a key piece of the core IT services portfolio, but it can be difficult to commit to the investment required to integrate with other enterprise applications – especially with the complexity of products on the market today.

Leaders should ask themselves:
• Which business outcomes would deliver the greatest benefit if workflows were integrated with backup operations?
• How many steps, people, and processes are involved in reporting, billing, ticketing, and other backup activities? How much time would our team save if the process was automated and we had easy access to the real data?
• Does our backup and recovery solution integrate with IT service management tools and processes through easy-to-use RESTful API endpoints?

You empower your team to add more value to the organization when they no longer need to manually manage backup which is typically the largest application in the enterprise. Well-designed integrations level-up your team’s efficiency, reduce errors, and position your company to more easily respond to the changes ahead.

More about suite of integration options with Compass enterprise SaaS data protection