Storage Trends and Predictions for 2017 and beyond…

03 January 2017 by Michael Nuncic

While working for the leading global data recovery company, Kroll Ontrack specialists have witnessed a variety of storage devices and technologies come and go over the years when they fail to function and data loss occurs. As older data storage technologies make way for newer ones (and since no medium or technology to date is fail-proof), it is likely they will eventually make their way to one our data recovery labs.

Today our experts have taken a look into a magic crystal ball and predicted what storage trends they think will affect the market and data recovery in the future.


There are three main trends that we’ve seen repeated globally in recent times:

  • Flash storage technology has gotten faster
  • Tremendous growth in the adoption of hyper-converged storage
  • Proliferation of ransomware cases

These trends will definitely continue to be major factors in the upcoming year(s). In 2017, and beyond, we will be on the lookout for continued changes to technology used in data centres, the additional implementation of data encryption and an increased emphasis on corporate information security.

Flash/SSD continues to grow in the storage technology market

As personal devices get smaller and store even more data, so do enterprise storage technologies. Flash continues to change the market at a blistering pace.

While the cost of SSD is still higher than traditional storage, many businesses are nevertheless taking a hybrid approach. Since 2014 our experts have seen a 239 per cent increase in the number of hybrid drives requiring data recovery. Flash drives are often paired with more dated HDD technologies to save cost so companies can still reap the benefits of a storage technology that is faster, higher density and requires less power.

Hyper-converged storage maintains its ascent

As predicted in our 2015 list of future trends, hyper-converged storage systems have had a major impact on data recovery.

Since these complex systems consolidate storage resources via software run on any manufacturer’s hardware, they are not easy to recover from. Often they require a custom data recovery solution because data is fully integrated into the unit making it difficult to gain sector-level access to the disks. Nevertheless, look for enterprises that continue to move data to hyper-converged storage environments because of the many benefits they can offer, including cost-efficiency, scalability and data storage efficiency.

Easy-to-use user interfaces of complex storage systems can result in data loss

These highly-sophisticated newer systems have a more intuitive user interface and tend to be easier to set up and manage at first glance. As a result, organisations require less specialised individuals to operate hyper-converged storage systems – employees may not have the depth of knowledge needed to solve more complex problems. This presents new challenges, for example when backups need to be verified or when data loss occurs.

We predict this challenge will grow in the future as more complex technologies are bundled together in easier-to-use enterprise storage systems.

Ransomware on the rise, no downturn expected anytime soon

As many experts claimed over the last months’ ransomware attacks, there is an incredible increase in cases all over the world and companies are becoming more and more aware of the serious threat these special computer viruses pose to their business. We also believe that ransomware attacks will not disappear but rather quite the contrary.

But ransomware poses a danger not only to companies’ data, but also to individuals, hospitals or government entities, as happened in 2016. The experts warn: it is not only computers that ransomware will target, wearables are especially vulnerable, too, as there can be little to no real security on these devices.

If struck by a ransomware attack, seek help from a professional data recovery company (Kroll Ontrack for example, has tools to recover data from 55 different ransomware variants). Don’t pay any money to the criminals - it is unlikely you will get back your data and your money will support other criminal activities!

As data and devices continue to proliferate in our lives in every way, know how to protect yourself. Set strong passwords and dispose of unneeded data.

High-quality encryption is the go-to standard for information security

We’ve also seen an increase in encryption across many fields, not just government, finance or healthcare. Every organisation that stores sensitive information should take care to protect their data through encryption. The flip side of this is that if a data loss occurs, data recovery specialists will need to expend additional resources to solve encryption puzzles in order to recover lost data.

Information security professionals will play a bigger role in enterprise IT decisions

Due to the upcoming changes in the European Union data security law (General Data Protection Regulation) and multiple data breaches (e.g. Yahoo), information security has become a driving force and a key decision maker within IT departments. This has meant an additional focus on data security and planned implementation of measures to comply with data protection regulations.

Companies are eager to find solutions and services to meet their data recovery needs without having to take their devices and data offsite. For example, only in the last year, at Kroll Ontrack we’ve seen a 60 per cent growth in onsite data recovery requests.

As data recovery protocols continue to change in the future due to the increased data security sensitivity, more data recovery requests will be either handled offsite, or when possible, as a remote recovery, which will also need to meet the highest data security standards.