Businesses are only as good as the data they have at their disposal. Data has created new business models, new ways of working, and new competitive advantages. It’s enabled new agile upstarts to shake up established industries, and it’s seeing customers take the products and services that rely on this critical data for granted. They’re expecting consistent quality of service at all times, and reputations are being built and destroyed in equal measure thanks to data and the way companies decide to manage it.
Meanwhile, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has famously given businesses more data headaches. Given its widespread promotion, there are few companies out there who are still unaware of the legislation. UK government statistics collected in the run up to the implementation of GDPR in February 2018, for instance, claimed 80% of businesses with more than 250 employees were aware of GDPR, with it falling to 39%-66% for small and medium-sized organisations.
However, assumptions do still linger that the potentially huge fines and reputational damage that could come from being found in breach of the legislation will never happen to them. Assumptions cannot afford to be checked at the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). As operations of all kinds become increasingly data-driven, any incidents affecting quality-of-service can create major disruption with incalculable fallout.
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How do you manage these data challenges effectively and intelligently?
It starts with knowing where and how to store your data, and careful planning with how your business can recover if data suddenly becomes unavailable. Will your business host its data locally, in the cloud, or a combination of the two? Either way, it needs careful consideration. Does your business feel confident that it will know what do if things suddenly don’t go as expected?
These questions need to have easy answers now. IDC found that as many as 80% of organisations without a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place will fail entirely in the face of a major incident. It’s become far too risky to let these things only become clear once operations have become confused or an incident has occurred.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is, it will never be completely immune from the threat of cyberattacks, the impact of human error, or natural disasters. Whatever the case, the best way to survive is to prepare.
For CIOs, this kind of disaster planning can feel like a real head-scratcher, but businesses can start by first looking at where DR fits within the needs of their wider strategy. That comes from carrying out an impact assessment – identifying what apps and processes are vital to operations and what is the maximum amount of downtime they can handle before operations fail. Once this is calculated, it becomes possible to work out the ideal recovery targets for each of these, and then begin to build out the measures needed to realise them.
The right cloud partner
With all of this in place, choosing a cloud partner is much more straightforward, as it suddenly becomes clearer what the demands on the business are and what is needed. Factors such as the cloud provider’s experience, the nature of the service level agreement, the shared responsibility model and who is responsible for businesses data, turnaround times on service requests, as well as even the legal and regulatory implications around where data will be eventually stored and handled should be considered. With so much of the business built on this decision, it isn’t something to be taken lightly.
It’s a well-worn phrase, but data is the new oil for businesses. Protecting, storing and managing it in the right way is vital to everything else that organisations do. Businesses face an enormous amount of consumer pressure, but Intelligent Data Management needs to be an ongoing priority, not just an annual panic. Guaranteeing data will be secure and consistently available is a foundational element in building trust. Having a plan in place that is tested, realistic and actionable could be the organisation’s saving grace when, not if, an incident looms.
Mark Adams, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland at Veeam
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