Charting a path to cyber resilient data protection

Market trends from Dell’s 2024 Global Data Protection Index Cyber Resiliency Multicloud Edition, by Doug Woolley, General Manager, Dell Technologies South Africa.

Johannesburg, 07 Feb 2024
Doug Woolley, General Manager, Dell Technologies South Africa.
Doug Woolley, General Manager, Dell Technologies South Africa.

The latest Dell Global Data Protection Index (GDPI) reinforces the importance of staying the course when it comes to protecting data in today’s digitally transformed world. Navigating the complex terrain of data protection remains a formidable challenge and demands a steadfast commitment to understanding all the risks that can threaten an organisation’s data. The latest GDPI brings new insights into the heightened threat of cyber attacks, the rise of generative AI and the ongoing expansion into multicloud environments.

Concern over cyber threats continues to grow and remain at the top of the list for causes of organisational disruption, with 54% of South African respondents (global 52%) reporting a cyber attack that prevented access to data within the past 12 months. This is the highest percentage in more than five years. Globally, the monetary impact to organisations is considerable, with costs more than doubling to an average of $1.4 million since our last report.

This concern is well founded as 74% of local organisations (global 75%) surveyed are worried that their existing data protection measures are unable to cope with ransomware threats. Seventy-one percent (global 69%) are not very confident that they could reliably recover in the event of a destructive cyber attack. Yet despite these perspectives, most South African organisations (61%, global 59%) invest more in cyber prevention than cyber recovery. The balance between prevention and recovery needs to be carefully thought through considering the reality that successful attacks are on the rise.

Another reoccurring red flag is that 79% of organisations (global 81%) believe that the rise in remote workers, fuelled by the pandemic and still prevalent today, has increased their exposure to data loss from a cyber attack. This sentiment is up from 70% in our last research findings.

New insights were also uncovered regarding the use and effectiveness of insurance policies to help mitigate an organisation's financial exposure. While 93% of local and global organisations cited the use of ransomware insurance policies, they noted that several conditions could limit coverage. For example, 55% (global 57%) responded that proof of best practices for cyber threat prevention was required, 38% (global 40%) indicated some scenarios would void the policy and 38% (global 40%) pointed to the fact that payments to some entities may be restricted by law.

In the end, 87% (global 85%) of organisations had to pay to access their data. So, while insurance policies can be a valid component of a cyber security strategy, organisations must understand their limitations.

In response to these growing threats, organisations are not sitting still when it comes to fortifying their cyber resiliency. Several trends indicate that organisations are becoming more proactive, with 48% (global 50%) bringing in professional services to bolster resources, 45% (global 49%) conducting regular cyber recovery testing and 38% (global 42%) having deployed a cyber vault with physical and logical separation from production data.

For the first time, the GDPI probed into the impact of generative AI on both the cyber threat landscape and future data protection requirements. Fifty-three percent (global 52%) believe that generative AI will provide an advantage to their organisation's cyber security posture, but 88% of local and global organisations also agree generative AI is likely to generate large volumes of new data and increase the value of certain data types, which will need to be considered when mapping out their future data protection strategies.

While multicloud is still the preferred strategy for organisations seeking to deploy or update applications, data protection continues to be a major concern. Eighty-three percent (global 79%) of IT decision-makers are not very confident that their organisation can protect all the data across their public clouds and 40% of local and global organisations cite challenges over data security in public and multicloud. Continuing to increase confidence in multicloud data protection and cyber security is critical considering that the majority 54% (global >56%) of respondents believe these are the most important capabilities for enabling operations.

As organisations increasingly turn to public cloud solutions, implement hybrid working models and experiment with generative AI, the criticality of data protection is more evident than ever. Yet securing and safeguarding digital assets is becoming a more complex challenge for many. In a landscape continuously threatened by cyber attacks, businesses need to chart a path and stay the course. As someone once said, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

The Global Data Protection Index surveyed 1 500 IT and IT security decision-makers from a wide range of public and private industries in September and October 2023 across the globe.

Read the full research report at Global Data Protection Index Report | Dell USA


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