Expert opinions, TECHNOLOGY

Data protection: Tasks and challenges

We are living in the age of digital transformation. All companies are trying to optimize their operations as much as possible using breakthrough technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and robotics. It is important to remember that all of these technologies are data driven. At the same time, while realizing the importance of data, companies often overlook the dangers and risks of data and infrastructure management.

We have canvassed over 1,500 businesses around the world for our Veeam 2020 Data Protection Trends survey. This provided us with an up-to-date understanding of their approaches to protecting and managing their data. Process disruptions, loss of access to data, and the need to fend off full-scale cyberattacks make managing and protecting data an increasingly complex challenge. Our study has found that while all companies do recognize the critical importance of data, only a small number of them have infrastructures or digital strategies that meet current data management needs.

The biggest challenges

When asked what challenges and threats companies expect to face over the next 12 months, respondents from Russia and Eastern Europe mentioned economic uncertainty (29%), the need to comply with regulatory requirements (26%) and a lack of skills to implement technologies (26 %).

Besides these issues, many companies are still experiencing fundamental problems when it comes to their data processing infrastructure.

For example, almost two-thirds (65%) of the companies in the EMEA region have been in a situation called “data accessibility gap.” This term means a discrepancy between the time a company needs to restore an app and the time actually given for this recovery. Almost two-thirds (61%) of EMEA companies have also experienced a “data security gap.” This parameter shows a discrepancy between how often an organization backs up data and the amount of data it can afford to lose in case of a failure. Sixty percent of companies in Russia and Eastern Europe have a gap in data accessibility and 53% in data security. In both cases, the situation in EMEA is better than in the world market in general (73% of companies in the world have dealt with accessibility gaps and 69% have dealt with security gaps).

All this means that the majority of companies in the world have not been able to adapt to current data management requirements and it is extremely important for them to work on removing these problems.

Stumbling blocks

When asked about the cause of their problems, 47% of EMEA companies indicated the lack of skills and qualification of their IT staff. Among other obstacles on the road towards digital transformation are the dependence on the outdated IT systems (39%), restricted budgets (29%), lack of time (28%) and lack of support from the company top executives. Only 16% of EMEA companies say that they do not see any obstacles on the way to digital transformation. In Russia and Eastern Europe, 44% companies mention the lack of skills and expertise of IT staff as a stumbling block.

Digital transformation is the road to the future and companies pin their hopes on it. Over a half of respondents associate it with radical changes in customer service (51%), the transformation of the everyday business process (48%) and reduction of expenses (47%).

However, it is difficult to evaluate the stage of transformation of a company. One third of companies believe that they are at the initial stage of planning or implementation, while 23% say that their digital transformation process is almost completed.

The cost of idle time

Although companies say their have different progress towards digital transformation, all of them fall into the same traps. For instance, almost all of them – 95% – encounter unexpected disruptions, with a world average of 117 minutes. Over the past year, companies faced the failure of at least every tenth server.

Even though these disruptions probably did not have catastrophic consequences, they still cause substantial financial damage. Companies worldwide consider over half (51%) of their data as high-priority. Just one hour of unavailability of a high-priority application results in an average loss of $67,651. This figure dispels most doubts as regards considerable expenses on the digital transformation, because economic savings that will result from a sustainable and advanced strategy of data management will be much more considerable than unavoidable losses from the lack thereof.       

The importance of cloud data management

Companies should be aware that the issues of protection and use of their data are largely interconnected. Regardless of a stage of digital transformation and change in customer experience, an elaborate and sustainable strategy of cloud data management is an optimal solution.

For instance, cloud services for data management, such as Backup as a Service (BaaS), are becoming increasingly relevant: within the next two years, 41% of companies in Russia and Eastern Europe plan to use them, and 38% of those in Europe, the Middle East and Africa plan to do so as well. BaaS providers ensure both a better data protection and higher scale-up and production indicators. A similar trend is observed in many other types of cloud services.

So, regardless of a digital transformation stage you are at, it is crucial to provide data availability and security. This will ensure a better protection today and give you advantage for work with future innovations.    

By Daniel Fried, GM & SVP EMEA and Worldwide Channel Chief at Veeam Software

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