Author: Daniel Fried, General Manager and Senior Vice President, EMEA, Veeam
Over the last decade, technologies like the cloud, mobile and wireless communications have transformed the role IT plays within a business. From the CEO down, business leaders are viewing technology as an enabler rather than a commodity.
As the enterprise technology conversation moves away from the data centre and into the boardroom, businesses are more and more reliant on their digital infrastructure. While this is ultimately a good thing, it means that one of the top priorities of any boardroom agenda is to derisk.
Pivoting to Cloud Data Management
The trend of businesses turning to hybrid and multi-cloud strategies is accelerating.
According to Gartner, hybrid cloud became the standard IT strategy for enterprises in 2019. Furthermore, 81% of respondents to a survey conducted by its analysts said they are already working with two or more providers.
The cloud, as a data management platform, has grown in importance and is growing in complexity. Business leaders, however, are looking for simplicity. As the value of data increases, organisations must finely balance the data availability needs of the business against the demands of data protection regulations like GDPR. Doing so requires a digital infrastructure that is both flexible and reliable – as well as easy to manage.
Cloud Data Management (CDM) refers to the management of data across an organization’s entire cloud and data management provision. It’s about ensuring that data is always available – regardless of whether an organisation is using private, public, hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructure.
According to a survey of IT decision makers conducted by Veeam, three-quarters of organisations aim to have adopted CDM by the first few months of 2020. This is partly due to a recognition that CDM is a key component of delivering a higher level of business intelligence. This is also a fundamental part of an organisation’s derisk strategy. On the other hand, any change which requires people to take on new skills, adapt culturally and view their role differently, brings risk of its own. Changing the way technology infrastructure is managed may take some technical personnel out of their comfort zone.
Therefore, CDM must be viewed as a strategy rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Organisations must choose the right partner to help them deliver on this vision in a way which brings maximum value at minimal risk.
Protecting businesses’ most prized asset
The value of data has been compared to everything from oil to gold. Whichever of these descriptions you prefer, it cannot be disputed that when harnessed properly data can deliver value to an organisation that only a few years ago would have been unimaginable. Furthermore, many businesses are sat on a potential goldmine of data, of which the value is 99.9% untapped.
However, the idea that businesses who own and control data have all the power is a misconception. Owning the data means nothing if you don’t know how to use it. You need to be able to read, analyse and gain insight from data for it to make your business faster and more effective. To do this, data has to be available to the right people at the right times.
While the rising value of data puts the onus on businesses to ensure they use it to gain better insights and drive operational efficiencies, it also makes protecting data even more vital. International media is awash with stories of companies experiencing irreparable reputational and financial damage. Whether due to lost or stolen data, a ransomware attack or a systems outage resulting in unplanned downtime, businesses cannot afford to take any chances. While becoming more data-driven as an organisation is a priority for business leaders, this is another area in which they must derisk. When it comes to certain types of data, especially personal data or customer records, businesses are merely custodians rather than owners.
Data privacy is a basic human right, which different governments, societies and cultures within Europe, the Middle East and Africa have different views towards. Businesses must be flexible in ensuring they meet the needs of customers and that data is protected at all times.
Transparency is also key. Customers with a growing awareness of their data expect businesses to be clear about how their data is being used. Regulations like GDPR are also beginning to make organisations pay for mishandling data with severe financial penalties. Failing to protect data or be transparent about its use will inevitably erode trust.
So, as businesses look to take advantage of the data at their disposal, but protect it and treat it with care, they are looking to CDM to drive an additional layer of intelligence across the organisation.