Opinion Piece: Data management – key to economic recovery and growth

Hemant Harie 2018 formal

As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic caused major disruption in the workplace, dramatically accelerating digital transformation and forcing many businesses to significantly alter their processes. The cloud has become the go-to standard for new solutions, as it is always-on, always available and does not require human interface or on-premises personnel. However, the cloud also brings with it new requirements around data management. Added to this, cyber-attacks such as ransomware is still rife, and the pandemic has enhanced the sophistication of attacks as well as increased strike frequency. These factors make it more important than ever to have a sound strategy and platform in place to secure, manage and protect data. Without effective data management, businesses simply cannot function, which means they will never be able to survive or thrive in the current and future environment.

New landscape, new requirements

Furthermore, businesses shifted suddenly to a Work From Home (WFH) model, cloud adoption saw a rapid uptake. It was therefore critical for businesses to remember that a move to the cloud makes it even more crucial to effectively manage and secure data. This, as businesses cannot function without access to their data.

Securing data is not just about installing antivirus software. However, to effectively protect data and ensure accessibility, it is essential to understand what data you have and what it means to your business. Best practice requires that businesses maintain at least two copies of data, preferably three, and if possible, with one copy stored outside of the cloud.

Data security considerations become even more important given the acceleration and evolution of ransomware and other malicious attacks. Even previously ‘secure’ platforms have become targets for attack.

No going back

Now, more than ever, businesses need data to make sound decisions. Many organisations will not be able to go back to their old ways of working, especially as lockdown is having an ongoing impact on people movement. Moreover, without data security and access, these organisations will not be able to generate revenue. Data management should, however, go beyond just backup. Compliance requirements are driving the need to better understand data, but the benefits go beyond simple legalities. The real value of data lies in activating it, enabling data analytics and reporting to drive insight for improved decision making.

With this in mind, security, management and analysis should all tie back into a bigger picture. Businesses need to be able to understand and locate the data they generate, so that they understand what they need to do to protect it and, perhaps more importantly, can leverage its value for business benefit.

Solving for tomorrow

With a holistic view of data, including what is being generated, where it is stored and what purpose it serves, businesses will not only be empowered to comply with local and international regulations, they will be in a position to thrive. By utilising available business data for income generation and avoiding fines associated with compliance, are key to maximising revenue. In addition, a successful ransomware attack can cost organisations millions in terms of recovery as well as reputational damage.

The same processes that enable compliance and security also enable businesses to better understand customers, meet their requirements more effectively, improve their experience and ultimately increase revenue. The goal should be to maximise revenue by avoiding unnecessary expenses as well as improving bottom line profitability. This is true regardless of what the future holds with concern to future lockdowns and ongoing disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.