Amidst the ongoing skills gap and permanent move to hybrid working, workloads are continuing to grow. Two and a half quintillion bytes of data are generated every day, often scattered between the cloud, data silos, and on-premises storage as employees work from a range of locations. Although this flexible approach to working has many benefits — increased productivity, improved employee wellbeing, and a better work-life balance — it also can create a sprawl of data.
Left unattended and unmonitored, workloads stack up and enterprises are left with a balancing act to manage data stored in multiple places. Whilst this can be maintained in the short term, it is not sustainable in the long term and will eventually spill over. Many will remember offices before the widespread use of computers and technology, when stacks of paper were piled up on desks and filing cabinets were full to the brim with important documents. Trying to find the single piece of paper with the information you needed was a difficult task that wasted valuable time. Having a disparate IT environment has a similar impact on today’s business operations.
Business agility is essential to keep up with the inevitable changes in your IT environment and ensure that nothing topples over. In order to achieve this, ensuring data protection and data availability are critical parts of any digital transformation journey.
IT environments are never static — they are constantly changing, increasing and adjusting to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the business. A key part of these changes is the adoption of new technologies. New issues require new technologies to solve them. Often, however, they are installed without removing the old technologies, thus creating an environment with infrastructure, workloads, and data types that span multiple generations. This creates data silos as the data fragments and becomes isolated under the old technology.
With their data scattered and separated, organizations are left with an unstable environment in which data is not sufficiently protected. Data sprawl creates gaps in your IT environment, and with no central platform to manage it, entry points are exposed to attackers. This leaves the potential for data loss and can create difficulties when recovering lost data.
The large-scale switch to cloud and Saas-based applications over the past couple of years has been essential for business continuity but has resulted in an increase in organizations experiencing data sprawls. It is impossible to get the most out of your data when it is managed by different backup solutions and scattered across multiple environments. Whilst each solution may seem simple and efficient on its own, having an all-inclusive solution will allow for better management and security for your data. It will increase data visibility and IT productivity, whilst reducing the risk of exposure as the surface area of attack is decreased.
A checklist for success
There are widespread benefits to managing and protecting all the data held in an organization under one roof. Not only does this ensure full data visibility and avoid data silos, but being able to view and manage data through a single pane of glass increases productivity and accelerates business growth. Ensure your solution ticks the following five boxes to manage ongoing change and make your organization future-proof:
Diversity — as all organizations will hold multiple generations of data, your data management solution should be able to consolidate a diverse tech stack with unified protection and flexibility.Flexibility — your IT environment will continue to evolve and change so it is essential that your solution has the flexibility to scale up and support technologies you will require in the future, as well as those that you use today.Security — being able to view your whole environment from one platform through a centralized security console will allow you to apply the required security to your data. This should deliver disaster recovery, replication, and compliance reporting to ensure business continuity whether your data is in the cloud or on-premises.Rapid recovery — automatic disaster recovery is essential to be able to get your data back quickly, should it be lost due to a cyber-attack or human error. Regularly testing your disaster recovery is also key to being confident that your data can be recovered efficiently and effectively.Simplicity — a solution that uses AI and ML-driven data insights will improve connectivity and make more informed decisions, thus providing opportunities to grow, leaving room for product development, and allowing for better customer service.
A solution meeting these five criteria significantly reduces the complexity of an IT environment. A simplified and protected environment that actively manages data allows a business to focus on other priority areas including customer service, innovation, and product development. An essential part of remaining competitive, all organizations should ensure their workload has a strong foundation. Being agile and having instant availability of data will see your business flourish in the long term as it reaps the benefits of a balanced and well-managed workload.
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Stuart Abbott is UK&I AVP at Commvault