Managing your data – only one way to go
Mark Bentkower, CISSP, Director of Systems Engineering, ASEAN, Commvault
2015 was a roller coaster year for many organisations. We’ve seen seismic shifts in market landscapes from massive tech M&As (and the reverse) and increasing security and compliance requirements, to major data breaches and cyber security incidents, continued adoption of cloud and anywhere computing, and ever-expanding volumes of data.
As we look at 2016, one thing is for sure, conversations with CIOs in the region about data management are reaching new levels of intensity as more and more enterprises recognise the importance of having the capabilities to make data-driven decisions and turn information into a competitive business differentiator. These same discussions with CIOs and business leaders revealed six common priorities for 2016:
- Open, Standards-Based Infrastructure: Organisations are looking to exploit the cost and flexibility advantages of commodity infrastructure.
- New Recovery Mandates: Downtime is no longer acceptable. Organisations are increasingly intolerant of data loss for critical applications; recovery windows are closing.
- Extensible Analytics Built-In: Organisations want search, visualisation, graphical and correlation tools embedded into their data management solutions or accessible from third-party standard query languages.
- Access & Collaboration: Organisations want seamless, universal access to all copies of their data, regardless of when and where it was created, and they also want to be able to securely share data internally.
- End to End Governance: Companies must have all data under managed control – visibility, security, access and compliance are needed.
- Backup Outpaced by Data Growth: Enterprises have higher demands for recovery points, given that data volumes are exceeding the ability of traditional backup solutions.
The market is telling us what it needs, the question is do the solutions exist today? The good news is that with continued innovations in storage, cloud and hyper-converged infrastructures, enterprises in Asia do have access to next generation data management solutions that span across platforms – from the data centre to the cloud to mobile users – that will help them get the most out of their data.
Capitalising single platform efficiencies
Traditional approaches for businesses are to back up data to multiple sources including tape, disk and remote servers. This results in performance latency issues and lengthy processes during the retrieval of information. Given the exponential growth of data, the efficiency of data management – including protection, archiving, availability and sharing – needs to shift focus both in platform and service level expectation.
In a recent IDC survey, two in five organisations in Asia-Pacific today manage their data at a departmental level. The result of this non-holistic data management practices, in which business units only focus on meeting their specific data-related requirements, as well as different SLA requirements, can potentially lead to inconsistent, redundant, and unprotected datasets, increased storage costs and make data vulnerable to compliance issues, thus creating risks for the organisation and hampering the ability to derive value from data.
To mitigate risk and improve decision making, and eDiscovery, the first thing organisations need to do is to move away from traditional legacy approaches and adopt single platform solutions to enhance centralised visibility of distributed information assets. In fact, the adoption of an end-to-end solution enables organisations to consolidate all data into a single virtual repository, reducing the potential of data loss and leakage. Complexity and administration costs are also reduced as companies are able to protect, manage, control and access all data simultaneously across the board.
Implementing a business continuity plan
The new generation of ‘always on’ consumers won’t put up with downtime today, not one nanosecond and, neither can the organisations that serve them. With higher RTO’s and RPO’s to meet, organisations need access to their data anytime and anywhere – both for customer service reasons, and just as importantly, to be able to leverage that data to drive more value back to the business.
In view of this, having a business continuity plan is plain common sense as it arms them with the ability to think ahead to ensure information is available quickly in the event of a failure of disaster. Broader thinking when it comes to disaster recovery is vital if businesses are to resume operations and provide essential services to customers or stakeholders in the event of a crisis. With applications extending beyond the data centre to a broad mix of physical, virtual and cloud platforms, a robust disaster recovery capability is more of an imperative than ever to improve business resiliency, decrease risk of data loss, and provide users with higher availability to data.
Securing future growth
Due to the increasing need to be able to access data and information efficiently and quickly, analytics will be widely applied and embedded into every application.
It is time for organisations to start taking a deeper look into the critical need for a modern data management strategy, to unlock that asset, tear down IT silos, consolidate the number of solutions that are required to effectively manage data and enable users to more easily and rapidly leverage that information – no matter where it resides. An end-to-end single platform approach to data management empowers enterprises to de-risk when it comes to adopting the next wave of technology disruption and prepare for 2016 and beyond.
 IDC (2015), Transform or be left behind: IDC Asia/Pacific predicts digital transformation and 3rd platform adoption to scale massively in 2017
 Commvault/IDC (2015), Data management reality check: IDC survey finds organisations need a more centralized data strategy
 IDC (2015), IDC predicts the emergence of “the DX Economy” in a critical period of widespread digital transformation and massive scale up of 3rd platform technologies in every industry