For the past several years, companies have gradually begun a migration from traditional, highly-secured onsite computing and storage towards cloud-based solutions though the recent impetus to work from home on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this exodus several fold. This transition has seen its own share of teething problems, not least of which is the growing need to ensure privileged and secure access to company data.
The recent Dell Technologies Global Protection Index 2020 Snapshot that we highlighted a while back shared key insights that are currently affecting data protection readiness in the Asia Pacific region.
To get a closer look we also interviewed Saravanan Krishnan, Director, Data Protection Solutions, South Asia, Dell Technologies to discover how the company and other organisations put theory into practice, what with data privacy laws and data protection policies that vary by region and often are unique to a company. While these prior features have covered the ‘why’s of data protection and the lay of the landscape, they didn’t exactly share more on what ought to be done as best practice.
In this feature, Saravanan is sharing from an IT provider perspective to key decision makers in organisations 3 essential security strategies to data protection.
Protecting data in the new data era: three key security strategies to manage it right
The move from an agriculture-focused economy to a manufacturing one in the 1980s brought Malaysia into a new age of prosperity, not unlike oil booms which heralded the dawn of a ‘golden’ era for economies around the world in the past. We are now looking at what some may call oil’s ‘digital cousin’ – in the form of data. Today, data-driven businesses are becoming more the norm than the exception, making the need to protect the most valuable asset of an organisation unquestionable.
According to Dell Technologies’ 2020 Global Data Protection Index (GDPI) snapshot survey*, organisations in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) on average are managing 64% more data than they were a year ago. The study, conducted in 2019, also found that IT decision makers in APJ managed an average of 13.31 petabytes of data – a staggering 693% increase since 2016!
As the volume, variety, velocity and value of data continue to grow at an exponential pace – drawing workloads from locations at the core, the edge and the cloud – so will new, often unforeseen, risks it poses. Across the region, eight in ten (84%) of GDPI respondents reported experiencing a disruptive event over a 12-month period from 2018 to 2019; two of the most common being data loss and downtime. The consequences of these disruptions were significant – for example, the average annual costs of data loss exceeded US$1.3 million per organisation, which is higher than other regions as well as the global average (US$1.01 million).
Developing a data-first approach
Seeing how data can ‘make or break’ a business, organisations must develop a ‘data-first’ mindset when it comes to data management strategies to effectively mitigate – and more importantly, recover data after – disruptive events like downtime, data loss and cyber-attacks.
The findings of GDPI 2020 verified the concerns and capabilities (or a lack thereof) of organisations to navigate the challenges surrounding data protection and more broadly speaking, data management – the majority of IT decision makers indicated a lack of confidence in their solutions to help them recover data following a cyber-attack, adhere to compliance regulations, meet application service levels and prepare them for future data protection business requirements. It is no surprise then that two-thirds of organisations are concerned that they will experience further disruption over the next 12 months.
On a brighter note, businesses in Malaysia are waking up to the realities of an economy driven by data. According to IDC, the big data and analytics software market in Malaysia is forecasted to reach RM595 million by 2021 – a huge market opportunity for the country. Traditional industries such as construction/property and market segments such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which make up almost 99% of businesses in Malaysia, are increasingly looking to data and insights that can be derived from it for better business outcomes. The proliferation of data presents an opportunity for these organisations to optimise their business revenues and competitive positioning.
To protect data, fuel innovation and provide deep insight into the needs of their customers, partners and stakeholders, businesses would benefit from these three key data management strategies:
#1 Partner with a single data protection provider
The GDPI 2020 findings highlighted that 83% of the survey respondents in APJ reported that they were using more than one vendor for their data protection solutions. While these organisations are likely investing more time, money and staffing resources to protect their data and applications, the irony is that their annual downtime and data loss costs are significantly higher than organisations working with a single data protection vendor; nearly four times higher downtime-related costs and almost twelve times higher data loss costs, on average.
There is a probable explanation for this: the use of a variety of management tools from multiple vendors, combined with the need for service and support, can make day-to-day data protection management very challenging. This is especially true during a disruptive event.
Instead of considering the multi-vendor approach – which often leads to increased IT complexity – invest in a single data protection partner with an extensive portfolio of solutions to protect data in all its forms (on-premise, in remote locations and in the cloud), which streamlines your data management needs.
#2 Prioritise ease of management across locations
Besides growing exponentially, data is also more distributed than ever before, residing across multiple public clouds, in the core data center and out across hundreds and even thousands of edge locations.
It is essential for organisations to adopt data protection solutions that are easy to manage and scale without compromising resiliency, while providing global visibility to ensure data is protected across environments including on-premise, in edge locations as well as across hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure. Organisations that ensure their data is protected and recoverable – no matter where it resides – will have the competitive advantage.
#3 Look for scale and automation of data management solutions
Data management is central to an organisation and its growth. Therefore, a solution should provide the global scale that businesses need as their application workloads and data volumes exponentially increase in the coming years.
In sourcing for a suitable data protection solution, prioritise simplicity, reliability, efficiency, scalability and enhanced automation that protect applications and data regardless of the platform (physical, virtual, containers, cloud-native, SaaS, etc.) or the environment in which the workloads are deployed (core, edge, multi-cloud).
By Saravanan Krishnan, Director, Data Protection Solutions, South Asia, Dell Technologies
*About the Dell Technologies Global Data Protection Index 2020 Snapshot
Dell Technologies commissioned Vanson Bourne for the Global Data Protection Index 2020 Snapshot, a follow-on to the biennial Global Data Protection Index conducted in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The Snapshot surveyed 1,000 IT decision makers across 15 countries and 14 industries with 250+ employees to understand the impact of cloud and the complexities of advanced technologies on data protection readiness. Of these, 250 came from the APJ region. Vanson Bourne conducted the survey between November and December 2019. The countries surveyed include US, UK, France, Germany and China with 100 respondents each, and Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, UAE, Italy, Australia, Japan, South Korea, India and Singapore with 50 respondents each.