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We take hundreds of thousands of pictures a year. On our phone, on our tablets, and on our cameras. And while those moments in time are often meaningful parts of our past, rarely do we feel a need to back those memories up. Why is that? Danny Allan is the CTO of Veeam and for years, he’s been asking that same question. On this episode of IT Visionaries, Danny discusses why it is time to take backup solutions more seriously and why the cloud is not actually a one-size-fits-all solution.
3 Key Takeaways
- If solutions are simple and not complex, the user will have a better experience
- Backing up data is critical, but companies rarely do this right, which leaves them vulnerable
- Hybrid clouds are not right for every company, make sure it works for your company before investing
For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.
Danny Allan fondly remembers his days as a college undergrad, when he worked with the university analyzing their systems for deficiencies. The tasks and responsibilities he handled then were far less agonizing and seemed rudimentary in skill compared to his responsibilities as CTO at Veeam, but they laid the groundwork for a career in technology and cybersecurity. Allan joined IT Visionaries to discuss why the cloud— despite its popularity — is not right for everyone and he dove into the need for companies to constantly be backing-up their data.
According to Allan his days working at the university and the stops he made along the way toward Veeam led him to a simple conclusion: data drives everything we do. Within that declaration were Allan’s founding principles and within those same principles are what fuels him. Allan joined Veeam in 2017 and was promoted to CTO in December of 2019, and he continues to be excited about the projects he and his team are working to solve.
Veeam’s motto is to make it simple, make it flexible and make it reliable. According to Allan, one of the biggest issues that Veeam works to resolve is simplifying data management systems for clients, citing that the biggest issue companies run into involve being confused by their own stacks.
“The enemy of security is complexity,” Allan said. “The enemy of protecting data is complexity. If you have a complex process or a complex system for ensuring that data is well protected, you are going to end up in a bad place.”
One of the areas Allan remains passionate about simplifying is the cloud. According to Allan, the cloud is not a perfect fit for every organization, and he stresses to the companies he works with that it’s important to understand the pros and cons of the cloud before embarking on their journey.
“Unlike past technology shifts, it’s not always going to be cheaper,” Allan said. “When we moved from the physical era of servers to the virtual era of servers, there was a definite ROI at a cost level, but that’s not always true in the cloud. So I always want my organizations to better understand the why before they jump in.”
Understanding the why for Allan is an important step in any company’s digital transformation. You also want to limit the mistakes you make during that transition. And there is one common mistake Allan mentioned that occurs when companies make the move to the cloud — they end up having to pull back because it doesn’t fit their needs.
“One of the most prevalent mistakes that I continue to see is organizations that said, ‘I’m simply going to lift up my workloads and move them over to the cloud,’” Allan explained. “I was working with a large enterprise in the Midwest just recently where they are pulling back from that and they’re repatriating the workloads back on-premises because what they quickly learned was that not only did the costs go up, but the subject matter expertise required to do that was very different than the skill set that they already had.”
According to Allan, there are three distinct reasons that companies should use the cloud: scalability, compliance, and geographical footprint. He also said that the organizations that utilize the technology appropriately are working to solve a problem.
“We’re seeing organizations who go about it thoughtfully, where they’re actually solving a problem, be the ones that are most successful,” Allan said.
From there the conversation shifted to another passion of Allan’s: security. According to Allan, one of the common problems he sees with companies is their inability to take data management seriously, referring to a favorite holiday of his: World back-up day.
“It’s lighthearted on one side, but it’s also very serious on another,” Allan said. “You would be shocked to know how many customers still either ignore back-up as a critical step in their process or do it incorrectly.”
Allan knows the impact of data and the value it provides is well known to the user, but people and companies still refuse to protect it by backing everything up.
“Think about the pictures on your PC at home,” Allan said. “Do you back those up? Yet those are the memories of your family, of your children, and of your life and yet you find lots of people that ignore that. That happens as well in the enterprise space. So something like world back-up day is very valuable just to remind people of the importance of backup and doing it correctly.”
As the conversation came to a close, Allan turned an eye toward the future to talk about trends he’s seeing in the industry and things that excited him. Among those trends? The ability for artificial intelligence and backup systems to work side-by-side, where systems can make their own decisions when backups are needed. But he also parted with one imperative piece of advice for first-time CTOs
“Be curious. Listen to the people around you,” he said. “You’ll learn more from listening than you will from speaking.”