How safe is your data?

Read time 2min 20sec

Theft, loss, neglect and insecure practices are the biggest risks to data.

This is according to James Grcic, MD of Computer Storage Services, who was addressing the ITWeb Business Continuity 2013 Summit in Bryanston this morning.

Neglect usually happens when new employees take over from former staff or when existing procedures, ideas and processes are not congruent with new business practices, he said. Insecure practices can result in data loss related to collecting, storing, sending, encrypting, finding and removing data, which in turn raises data safety risks.

Theft usually involves deliberate attacks on systems or on individuals who have access to sensitive data, while loss involves an inadvertent exposure due to certain types of media going missing. "Backup tapes or paper files being misplaced on their way to a storage facility, or laptops left behind at airports or in taxis, are common ways data can end up in the hands of unauthorised people."

Keeping data safe is becoming critical for all organisations, particularly as they are faced with an influx in the volume of data they have to deal with each day.

"On average, every IT-literate person has three to four computing devices or storage devices. These include desktops, notebooks, smartphones, memory sticks, cameras, recording devices, CCTV, access control and servers. Devices are doubling in storage/memory size - be it RAM, SSDs, HDDs, USB devices, memory cards - almost every two years," he said.

Today, controlling all data and locations is near impossible, said Grcic. "The digital era is fast evolving into a new era. We are driving head-on into the 'virtual zone'."

The demand for real-time, on-demand access is a reality for both business and personal purposes, he said. Due to the adoption of cloud and virtual technology, the past five years have seen the data curve growing exponentially. This growth has exceeded the average of 35% growth and is probably closer to 100% data growth per year today, said Grcic.

Budgets are moving from hardware and infrastructure-centric capital expenditures (capex) towards service-based models (opex), Grcic noted.

"The budget power within many organisations is moving from the back-office (IT) to the front-office. Even three years ago, the focus of IT was more around centralised IT infrastructure - that's how quickly and dramatically this shift towards the consumer has happened. The software giants are just beginning to recognise that the path into enterprise budgets is increasingly through these end-user devices, and are adapting their strategies accordingly."

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