From e-mails to work documents, the amount of data generated by enterprises is growing unabated all the time, thanks to easy access to cloud resources. The problem today is not one of scalability or availability, but what to make of the data, if you ask enterprise storage vendor Veritas Technologies.
It believes that enterprises have so much data – including “dark” data that is useless and forgotten – that they will find it hard to find the really useful information they need. At the same time, stricter rules from governments mean that companies have to know where their data is, including data that is forgotten and which may prove harmful if exposed.
In this month’s Q&A, Veritas’ country manager for Singapore, Sheena Chin, speaks with Techgoondu about the challenges that enterprises face. They can still enjoy the scale and reach of the cloud, while managing their data efficiently, she argues.
(Note: The responses have been edited for clarity and house style)
Q: You’ve called for the need to better manage data so you can find useful information. Can’t improved search algorithms look through the entire pile and find what you’re looking for?
A: While this is possible, good data management or information management is more than being able to search. It also concerns access, insight and compliance.
Using search algorithms won’t help us sieve out unnecessary data files, nor can it help with determining the level of importance. There is also a problem of too much data being retained, some of which are unnecessary and perhaps even harmful.
Following our recent Data Hoarders Study – which sampled 10,022 office professionals and IT decision makers globally – significant concerns regarding data hoarding were highlighted. Eighty-two per cent of respondents said they stored data that could be potentially harmful to their organisations. These include unencrypted personal records, job applications to other companies, unencrypted company secrets and embarrassing employee correspondence.
Asia is looking at a steep data growth trajectory with the amount of data stored by businesses nearly doubling every 12 to 18 months. Also, with more real-time data generation, companies around the world now find themselves drowning in data and scattering their information across multiple networks, servers and in the cloud.
Environments with a fragmented storage strategy may lead to companies losing visibility or control of their data, and unwittingly fall foul of data protection laws.
With the European Commission’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force by May 2018, companies with operations in those markets will also need to harmonise their data management policies to fall in line, and it is not something that can be achieved overnight.
Q: Briefly, can you explain what 360 data management is and how it works for enterprises?
A: In a nutshell, 360 Enterprise data management helps organisations manage their data as a strategic asset. It brings insight, availability and protection to offer greater business value.
With increasing attention being paid to data analytics, IT departments are frequently designated as the data guardians of the organisation and expected to know the information within that data, its ownership, access protocols, expiry dates, and so on. This is especially difficult with the sheer amount of unstructured data, such as e-mails, videos and documents, which is the hardest to identify.
Increasing regulatory requirements are also having an impact on the way organisations manage their data. Cyber security threats resulting in data breaches are also becoming more widespread, with associated reputational impact or financial loss.
With enterprise data management, you would have to develop insight, availability and protection for the data. Insight is important to identify and classify the huge volumes of files being stored, thus reducing risk and managing storage more efficiently. With availability, enterprises can move and orchestrate workloads across a heterogeneous IT landscape, including multiple clouds. With protection, the IT environment would be safe, intact and accessible with no service disruption.
In order to achieve the breakthroughs required, these capabilities need to be applied across the entire IT landscape in a scalable, consistent and manageable manner rather than in silos with isolated effect. This means adopting a software-based approach, with the ability to span across many different environments.
Q: Which type and size of enterprise would find it most urgent to manage its data properly?
A: From SMEs to global corporations, a shift in thinking towards information management is needed. Regulatory pressures are among the most urgent driving factors today of this change, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will enter into application in May 2018.
Manufacturing firms that operate in or with the EU will have to prepare for that. There is a rising trend in the adoption of data privacy laws worldwide, and the imposing of data residency rules.
What this means for companies, is that information governance tools will increasingly become a differentiator and competitive advantage for organisations large and small. This will push them to address any regulatory gaps within their own businesses and providing their customers with better protection and peace of mind.
Q: We’ve talked about the cloud as a flexible tool for enterprises. Just how flexible is it if you want to migrate or back up large amounts of data securely?
A: The cloud, whether public or hybrid, is an integral part of any large enterprise’s IT strategy today. Our own research has revealed that business-critical workloads in the public cloud are set to double in the next 24 months, roughly the same rate as non-critical workloads.
Veritas 360 Data Management gives customers powerful, simple and cost-effective ways to derive greater business value from the cloud. Among these benefits would include the ability to enhance disaster recovery readiness, with Veritas Resiliency Platform.
A technological alliance we have with Amazon Web Services (AWS) enables a corporate user of Veritas Resiliency Platform to orchestrate the entire migration or failover or failback operation to and from AWS. Organisations will be able to move and automate the recovery of virtualised infrastructure to AWS with a single click.