Mind the (business integrity) gap
By Kate Mollett, Regional Director at Commvault Africa
In today's digital world, data has become 'currency' and an invaluable business asset. Without data, businesses cannot function. Moreover, the ability to analyse data and extract value from it is becoming a vital point of competitive differentiation. This is challenging because of the way that data has grown in silos and is now sprawled across multiple environments, with little visibility across the whole. Organisations struggle to unlock the value of their data to drive business growth as their data environments do not support their requirements. There is disparity between where the data environment is and where it needs to be, and addressing this business integrity gap is crucial to success.
Data all over the place
One of the causes of this business integrity gap is data fragmentation, which has resulted from new technologies and solutions being added to meet evolving business demand. Organisations today have data located across multiple, often disparate, environments, spanning multiple generations of technology from legacy on-premises to cloud, multicloud and hybrid systems. This introduces multiple points of failure, increasing the risk of data loss. It also compromises a business's ability to recover data should an event occur, which in turn negatively affects business continuity.
An increased attack surface
Today's environment also creates something of a perfect storm for cyber crime activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a massive upsurge in the volume of cyber attacks. This, combined with data silos and inconsistent security policies, puts organisations at increased risk for ransomware, unauthorised access to data and other data breaches. Access and control issues have also been exacerbated by the increase in a remote workforce, which introduced additional vulnerabilities. According to Gartner: "By 2025, at least 75% of IT organisations will face one or more attacks... pointing to sevenfold or higher rates of growth."
Data privacy laws
As data volumes and the value of data has grown, data privacy has become an increasing concern across the globe. From the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the local Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), data protection requirements and laws are becoming increasingly stringent. Organisations are under increased pressure to manage their data better. This is even more important with a distributed workforce, as the consequences of personally identifiable information (PII) falling into the wrong hands can be dire.
Inefficiency affecting productivity
Without a clear, consolidated view of data, in an environment where IT is grappling with multiple data sets and workloads spanning multiple technology generations, businesses cannot leverage automation. IT relies on many different tools to manage and protect data, which increases both complexity and cost as well as the margin for human error. There is also no single, comprehensive picture, which affects data security, recovery and compliance. This in turn results in reduced process efficiency and therefore lower productivity. This then leads to further increased costs and prevents businesses from being able to access their data when and where it is needed most.
Innovation on hold
A significant challenge that results from lack of readily available data is the inability to use the data to drive insight and innovation that would create a competitive advantage. Lack of automation and integration also means IT cannot support business innovation, because their time is taken up with simply 'keeping the lights on'. Without standardisation, the cost of infrastructure increases due to a lack of economies of scale. The end result is that businesses cannot scale to meet demand, and they cannot use new workloads like containers to drive application modernisation and DevOps. This prevents businesses from attaining the agility needed to respond quickly to changes in the market.
Intelligence to address the gap
To address the business integrity gap, improve data management and future-proof the business, organisations today need an intelligent data platform. Importantly, it should be a platform that adapts to data management needs irrespective of technology used now and in the future and that consolidates data management, security, compliance, transformation and insight into a single, unified platform across hybrid clouds, multiclouds and on-premises environments.