While the processes of data backup, recovery and more will likely always be a challenge for storage administrators, perhaps the biggest issue isn't managing technology, but the expectations of the users who rely on it.
"Users' expectations are totally out of control now. I don't know whose fault it is, but it's reality," said George Crump, president and founder of Storage Switzerland, during his presentation at Storage Decisions.
Crump noted that organizations, regardless of size, can face extremely high standards for data availability from users. Crump noted that Facebook's seemingly always-on functionality might be a point of reference for some users, despite the social media giant's large-scale IT staff and operation.
Crump said that users should be able to use corporate data on mobile devices, noting that companies can then manage how data is used.
"The access to data anywhere is a fair request. I also think we got to be careful from an IT perspective how much we ignore those requests," he said.
But on the other side of placing corporate data in the hands of a user, third-party storage vendors like Dropbox pose a challenge for data protection efforts, he noted. That's especially true if data stored on a third-party service can't be controlled by the organization.
"You have to think about this from a data protection standpoint … and Dropbox is a really good example -- is if you fire somebody, their data goes with them. And that data is also probably corporate data," said Crump.
There's so little patience for downtime when it comes to data that it clouds the perception of how successful data protection can be.
"You can get it right all the time, but the one time you mess up, you're an idiot … they keep throwing applications at you and you got to keep [them running] and eventually, one of them is going to break. That's a challenge," said Crump.