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Backup strategies to boost resilience and maximize efficiency

May 3, 2024
Industrial DevOps for OT can minimize risks associated with data loss, lessen recovery times with improved version control and reduce downtime via proactive prevention measures

Adam Gluck, co-founder and CEO of Copia Automation, will present “Modern Backup Strategies to Boost Resiliency and Maximize Efficiency" during A3's Automate Show in Chicago's McCormick Place on May 6 at 3:30 pm. Gluck was a founding engineer on Uber’s engineering strategy team, working on the company’s driver app and playing an instrumental role in redesigning Uber’s overall microservice architecture. He founded startup Copia with Matthew Lee on a mission to accelerate the digital revolution within U.S. manufacturing. Contact him at [email protected].

In recent years, the shift from reactive code backup strategies to more proactive, automated strategies has become an important factor in delivering the results required by ever-tightening market demands. As the gap between code-production volumes and backup coverage widens, it continues to undermine the efficiency and safety of automated systems with potentially adverse results.

Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to achieve these goals. DevOps is a widely used set of IT practices that has revolutionized the way software-development teams perform their jobs. Emerging around 2007, the DevOps movement is now firmly established and proven to provide increased systemwide transparency to help avert potential disasters, enabling teams to work more quickly and efficiently.

After many years of DevOps success, we are seeing the evolution of this practice in the industrial space. Many organizations have implemented this approach to operational technology (OT) for:

  • minimizing risks associated with data loss
  • efficiency gains through automation, faster recovery times and improved version control
  • reduced downtime and proactive prevention measures.


Revolutionizing Productivity

Industrial DevOps introduces tools and processes that enhance teamwork and heighten visibility in industrial operations. For example, a manufacturing company implementing a DevOps approach could centrally manage its multi-vendor control solutions. This fosters a unified environment where changes are tracked and managed efficiently, enhancing operational agility to help ensure higher uptime and quicker problem resolution.

Storing information in the cloud allows team members and approved vendors to access, audit and modify data, putting the power of intellectual property at leaders' fingertips, while also rigorously enforcing security protocols. This enables strategic optimization of OT on a much greater scale. There are two steps manufacturers can take to modernize operations with an Industrial DevOps approach:

1. Assemble stakeholders

Assembling the right stakeholders is crucial for developing an effective industrial DevOps-based backup strategy:

  • Create a safe space for open dialogue, where all participants feel comfortable sharing their feedback, especially their frustrations and suggestions.
  • Encourage stakeholders to discuss the pain points they face in their respective roles to identify areas where the current backup strategy falls short.
  • Review any existing disaster recovery strategies with the team, assess strengths and weaknesses, and determine alignment with the organization's goals and objectives.
  • Consider the practicality of implementing strategic changes with industrial DevOps approach, taking into account budget constraints, resource availability and technological limitations.

2. Identify concerns and process changes

When implementing an industrial DevOps backup strategy, begin to identify and address potential concerns and process changes:

  • Establish governance to ensure the protection of intellectual property, including code, designs and proprietary manufacturing processes. Institute best-practice security to mitigate the risk of data theft or loss due to cyberattacks, hardware failures or natural disasters.
  • Consider factors such as data set size, frequency of changes and available storage space. Consult with experts and conduct thorough testing to determine the most suitable approach for your organization, including proof of concept and pilot programs to iterate on design before implementing at scale.
  • Approach all of this through a culture-of-change lens. Examine the impact on existing workflows and processes. Ensure that all team members are on board with the changes and provide necessary training and support to facilitate a smooth transition. Identify early wins and regularly communicate progress, while also creating space to address any concerns or challenges that arise.

Adopting a backup strategy not only enhances operational efficiency, but also serves as a valuable recruitment tool. Young, skilled workers value companies that prioritize data security, technological innovation and future-proof solutions. By implementing an industrial DevOps approach for your backup strategy, your organization demonstrates a commitment to these values and the future success of the business and its employees. All of this makes an organization more attractive to top talent in the industry.

DevOps in OT

Bringing a DevOps approach to an operational-technology environment goes beyond merely backing up data for disaster recovery; it's about embracing an entirely new operational culture. This shift is essential for organizations aiming to stay competitive in the fast-evolving industrial sector, ensuring that backup processes are efficient, resilient and adaptable to future innovations.

By assembling the right stakeholders, identifying and addressing concerns and formulating a comprehensive roadmap, industrial organizations can maximize the emergence of industrial DevOps for their own automated operations. This, in turn, leads to increased efficiency, reduced risk and improved bottom-line results, ultimately positioning the enterprise for long-term success.

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