Could we be heading into data dystopia?
By Mark Bentkower December 3, 2015
- Pressure mounting on organisations to better protect, manage and access data
- Need to view data protection and information management as strategic business enabler
RECENT news headlines of cyber-attacks and data breaches have been too frequent for comfort.
The Grant Thornton International Business Report revealed that in the past year, cyber-attacks have cost Asia Pacific businesses US$81 billion.
With cyber-attacks increasingly hard to defend against due to the speed in which they are created, the question business and IT leaders are asking now is: Could we all be heading into data dystopia?
Building a foundation with data protection
Over the last two years, we have generated enough information to fill 67.5 billion DVDs. This explosive growth and complexity of data, the need for faster and easier data retrieval, and the lack of scalability as data grows, have resulted in mounting pressure for organisations to better protect, manage and access data at all times.
Thinking ahead and guarding the business against threats with rapid and flexible protection and recovery solutions is therefore critical.
According to the IDC Next-Generation Data Management Survey 2015, the top two critical considerations for organisations in Asia Pacific when selecting backup and recovery solutions are the ability to manage and protect any data and information, regardless of size and type; as well as a single platform that offers an end-to-end solution.
These findings indicate a great need for an effective, enterprise-wide strategy, where backup, replication, snapshots and archiving can be achieved across physical and virtual data assets, regardless of data types or where it resides.
For example, a major retailer in Australia recognised that safeguarding the organisation’s critical business assets against ransomware attacks came down to a robust and reliable business continuity and data protection strategy.
They realised that even if the ransom was paid, there was no guarantee they would be given access to encrypted files anyway.
The retailer found that a solution that enabled regular snapshots of their data mitigated the risk of data loss, while maintaining performance on the network.
Treating data as a critical asset
Nevertheless, data conversations today are changing, focusing on more than simply backup and recovery.
Challenges, such as migration to the cloud and increasing demands for security and compliance, have rendered traditional data management strategies moot and drastically shifted towards information management needs of business and technology leaders.
Increasingly, business leaders are turning to IT vendors to solve increasingly complex data challenges and asking questions such as:
- What is the best way to encrypt in-flight or at-rest data?
- Will policy-based automation help match storage costs to service levels?
- Can existing datacentre space be freed up by migrating legacy data to the cloud?
- How can information be stored, classified, and remain searchable for audits or legal holds?
- Do disaster recovery plans align with recovery objectives of applications?
In order to avoid data dystopia and instead, gain business advantage, data-driven organisations should consider data protection and information management as a strategic business enabler.
In doing so, business and IT leaders will then ensure data is not only well-protected, but is of good integrity, easily accessible by the right people and available to drive actionable business outcomes.
However, organisations across the Asia Pacific region are struggling to realise the business value of key data assets due to the lack of holistic data management strategies.
IDC found that 40% of IT decision-makers across Asia Pacific are still managing backup, recovery, data protection and analytics strategies at a departmental level.
And yet, CIOs (chief information officers) in the region place a huge amount of value on solutions that can enable end-to-end management, protection and access of all data assets.
This mind-set change of treating data as a key business asset is crucial in bringing about a different way of storing, managing and accessing information, requiring organisations to adopt an integrated data-driven culture, instead of a departmental (or siloed) approach to data asset management.
Preparing for the worst
In today’s digital world, whether data resides on premises, in the cloud, or on mobile devices, no organisation should rest easy.
It is critical for businesses to be forward-looking and ensure their organisation remains prepared and protected against cyberthreats.
Today, and even more so in the future, a company’s performance and competitiveness very much depends on how much value is extracted from every bit of data that it owns.
Adopting an enterprise-wide data management strategy and effectively treating information as the most critical strategic asset essentially lays a strong foundation for companies to avoid a dystopic data future.
Mark Bentkower is director of Systems Engineering Asean, Commvault.
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