2018 should be the year of data protection – Information Age

2017 was the year of change. Businesses across every industry have been forced to rethink how they build products or services, respond to ambitious start-ups stealing precious market share, and ultimately survive in the ever-changing digital world.

This shift has unearthed exciting new technology, but also given rise to security threats and vulnerabilities that are challenging the livelihood of businesses in unprecedented ways. And the reality is that these issues won’t change as business enter 2018.

The proliferation of devices today is set to increase tenfold as more ‘things’ in the home become connected to the internet. Experts predict that there will be over 20 billion connected ‘things’ by 2020, a 30% increase compared to 2016. And most of them will have an element of artificial intelligence built in like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, taking AI from being a future phenomenon to a core part of everyday life.

>See also: What is the impact of the changing data protection landscape?

This new world order has introduced a fresh set of fundamental truths that every business needs to have in mind when developing any products or services in 2018 and beyond. These include:

* User expectations grow with advancements technology. People expect 100% application availability wherever they are. For businesses that means that its dependence on application uptime and data availability increases exponentially, making 80% of apps mission critical.

* The volume and velocity of data is snowballing. The billions of connected devices expected to be in the world by 2020, will move 2.3 ZB of global IP traffic per year, for an average of 25GB per month per capita.

* The risk of cyber attack is real for every business. 80% of organisations in Europe experienced a cyber attack in the last year and in 2016 over 4,000 ransomware attacks occurred daily, according to the European Commission.

With these in mind, how can organisations thrive and survive the evolving digital landscape in 2018 and beyond? Disaster recovery and data protection is the best way to safeguard digital transformation efforts and at the same time ensure business continuity.

>See also: What does the UK’s Data Protection Bill mean for businesses?

Despite its importance, data protection and recovery is often overlooked and unfortunately poorly invested in. But as we move into 2018 business leaders need to start thinking of data protection like the airbags of IT, not the most exciting feature of a new car but an essential life-saving one.

For backup and recovery to become a part of the fabric of a business, organisations need to consider these three areas as they start building their digital transformation strategies in the new year.

Automate processes to increase efficiency

The repetitive, time-consuming processes and tasks that drown IT staff down can and should be automated. It will free up time for the team to focus on more-innovative, higher-profile initiatives that can provide real value for the business, especially as new products and services are developed faster than ever before.

>See also: UK’s proposed data protection bill looks to go further than GDPR

Seek out-of-the-box solutions that can automate as many processes as possible and if the business has dozens or hundreds of virtual machines (VMs), it’s critical that the data protection solution automatically detects and protects new VMs as they are created.

Enable a data-driven business through real-time analytics

The data-driven business depends on data being always available, which can be difficult and expensive given how much data there is and how quickly it accumulates. There are plenty of options for inexpensive local storage, but for today’s digital-first businesses it makes more sense to back up to disk than to tape. Data protection on disk not only improves backup and recovery speeds but also helps ensure that data is always available for analysis or testing.

When backing up to disk, select a backup appliance with in-built deduplication and compression. The technology can lower storage costs, improve backup and recovery performance, reduce the volume of data sent across the network and shrink the data storage footprint by more than 90% in some cases.

Prioritise customer experience by protecting application development

Customer demand has never been higher. People want access to products and services in real-time and responses from organisations even faster. Delivering the best possible experience for users means applications must be online and available 24/7.

>See also: Will the new Data Protection Bill reduce Brexit uncertainty?

A strong data protection strategy ensures that the organisation can recover its vital applications and data in the shortest possible window after an unplanned outage or interruption. Look for data protection products that take snapshots as frequently as every five minutes all day, every day, without incurring huge expenses or hampering performance. The powerful combination of disk storage and frequent backups means you have multiple recovery points and limit your window of potential data loss to a matter of minutes at worst.

What these considerations illustrate is that data is the lifeblood of every business and protecting it at all costs should be an organisation’s greatest priority. With new regulations like GDPR and advancements in AI and IoT becoming mainstream, 2018 is set to be the year of data protection.

Those organisations that understand the new fundamental truths and take these best practices on board will be better equipped to flourish in 2018’s brave new world.

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