Unstructured Data Backup and GDPR

Because of its sheer size, both in capacity and number of files, protecting unstructured data is a top concern for many organizations. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as the growing concern over data privacy worldwide makes unstructured data protection even more challenging. GDPR has specific requirements for protecting data, regardless of type or age. It also has specific requirements for retention and deletion of data. The so-called “right to be forgotten clause” should have organizations of all sizes re-thinking their data protection strategy, especially for unstructured data.

A Perfect Storm

Unstructured data is growing at an alarming rate, both in its total capacity requirements and in the number of files that make up that capacity. It is the number of files that are particularly problematic for backup software solutions. Protecting millions or billions of files one at a time is time-consuming; as a result, most backup software solutions have switched from file-by-file backups to image-based backups. Image backups protect unstructured data at the volume level, not the file level.

The problem with image based unstructured data backups is the loose granularity to the file level. By mounting the image, these backup solutions can provide single file restoration, but the problem is they can’t, at this point, remove a file from the image, which means they can’t adhere to a right to be forgotten request. The only options are to remove the image or to recopy somehow the image minus the removed files or folders. Both of these options violate other parts of GDPR and are incredibly time-consuming.

The solution is to resort back to file-by-file backups. The problem is those are still slow and have a high potential for backup failure, which can also lead to GDPR violations.

Calming the Storm

One way to calm the storm is to look for solutions that have a file-by-file backup method but leverage journaling like techniques so that subsequent backups can complete rapidly. This type of solution provides the granularity needed to meet both sides of GDPR while also setting the organization up to benefit from other capabilities like archiving.

To learn more about unstructured data protection and how to modernize the process to be GDPR ready, register for our on demand webinar “The Three New Requirements of Unstructured Data Protection“.

Watch On Demand

George Crump is the Chief Marketing Officer at VergeIO, the leader in Ultraconverged Infrastructure. Prior to VergeIO he was Chief Product Strategist at StorONE. Before assuming roles with innovative technology vendors, George spent almost 14 years as the founder and lead analyst at Storage Switzerland. In his spare time, he continues to write blogs on Storage Switzerland to educate IT professionals on all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought-after public speaker. With over 30 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS, SAN, Virtualization, Cloud, and Enterprise Flash. Before founding Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators, where he was in charge of technology testing, integration, and product selection.

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