Companies embarking on digital transformation are open to outages, so data protection is crucial

June 17th, 2020 | by Grace Chng
Companies embarking on digital transformation are open to outages, so data protection is crucial
PHOTO: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Data protection is a key issue that organisations must manage during their digital transformation journeys.

Increasingly businesses have to prioritise data protection to ensure always-on operations as well as protect their customers and consumers’ personal information.

With cyber threats and unexpected Internet outages expected to increase, the potential loss in revenue and reputation can be damaging to businesses.

As they digitalise their operations, they have to be aware of these issues as they have an impact on how they apply data protection, said Raymond Goh, Veeam’s head of systems engineering for Asia-Pacific and Japan.

On top of that, organisations have to reckon with shortage of skills to implement technology and meeting changing customer needs in the next 12 months. he added.

He cited these key highlights from the Veeam 2020 Data Protection Trends Report. About 1,500 executives, 25 per cent of whom were from the Asia-Pacific and Japan region, were surveyed for this report.

Veeam develops backup, disaster recovery and intelligent data management software for virtual, physical and multi-cloud infrastructures.

Goh stressed that the fundamental learning from these highlights is that data protection is crucial for business success.

There are still legacy applications remaining on physical servers although cloud services are the norm today, he noted.

Data protection tools are easily available for such services. However, legacy applications present a challenge.

They are difficult to migrate to the cloud because they were purpose-built applications to run on mainframe, Unix or end-of-support Windows systems which are not supported by current virtualisation software and data protection tools.

To migrate means the organisations may have to change their workflow and re-consider their data protection stance. Making the challenge even more difficult to overcome is that tech talent for such environments are hard to fine, Goh said in an e-interview. 

On another front, he stressed that organisations must have control of the production data located within their own business environment even as they have adopted  a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud strategy. This would assure them that they can recover from any outage quickly.

The Veeam report highlighted that the vast majority of global organisations surveyed suffer unexpected outages which lasts on average about 117 minutes.

But it is not the ability to recover outages that is the issue. Organisations’ need to undestand that their reputation may suffer, said Goh.

On top of that, customers who cannot connect to, say, Company A for a service because of the outage, can just as easily shift to Company Z with a few keystrokes. Worse, the customers may not return to Company A, he added.

Organisations that migrate to the cloud for their digital transformation journey must understand that there is data sprawl in the cloud.

Data is usually archived across the cloud and organisations may have no notion of where their data is located. Hence, it would be difficult to comply with in-country regulations.

Data sprawl is everywhere, so organisations need to get back control and protect their data. They have to understand that the recovery time for services in different activities may differ depending on whether the data resides in the cloud or in the offices, said Goh.

He also highlighted that organisations increasingly want to re-use the backup data which may not just be for disaster recovery. Instead they want to re-use the data for other purposes like gathering data intelligence or fast software development.

Veeam’s report pointed out that nearly half of global organisations surveyed currently store production data for at least seven years as long-term retention.

Instead of having it just kept away, organisations now want to leverage on it for other purposes that may generate further business insights and activities, it found.

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