In today’s technology-driven landscape, data has become the lifeblood of organisations throughout the Asia Pacific & Japan. According to Dell EMC Global Data Protection Index, organisations in Singapore manage 9.15 petabytes of data in 2018 on average, a 458% increase from 1.64 petabytes in 2016. Organisations are also beginning to tap into this data through machine learning and deep learning, with 34% of business leaders in Singapore monetising data to some degree.
For many of these organisations, it is no longer about the quantity of data but rather the quality and diversity of this data. Without diversity of data, it becomes easy for data bias to become a problem, which will lead to the delivery of sub-par products and possible legal repercussions due to discrimination against individuals or groups.
In this second part we talk to Saravanan Krishnan, Director, Data Protection Solutions, South Asia, Dell Technologies about the importance of security and data protection as businesses move from merely analysing data into making proper use of it with ML and AI tools.
What are the best practices for organisations looking to improve their cyber-security in terms of data and cloud security? How have backup approaches changed?
Businesses are managing troves of data beyond imagination just a few years ago. Dell EMC Global Data Protection Index revealed that organisations in Singapore managed an average of 9.15 petabytes of data in 2018, representing an explosive growth of 458% from 1.64 petabytes in 2016. Fuelled by rapid adoption of emerging technologies such as AI/ML and 5G, organisations and governments are deriving more value from data.
In managing such volumes, the critical building block for success needs to be a robust data protection framework which is essential to gaining the trust of customers and citizens. There is no one-size-fits-all solution – organisations need to work with a technology partner, or a group of partners to build such a solution.
In Singapore, many companies are now leveraging the public cloud as part of their data protection infrastructure. The cloud potentially makes data protection more cost-effective in general as it involves minimal computing resources and only spins up resources for a data recovery event. Additionally, minimum backup infrastructure is needed in the cloud. However, solutions that can protect business data in the cloud today must be balanced with the agility and flexibility to provide an on-premise or hybrid cloud solution when the need arises.
Our research shows that 63% of businesses in Singapore acknowledge the importance of scalability options for data protection solutions in a public cloud environment and 41% are using cloud-enabled, on-premise data protection software to protect their public cloud workloads. At Dell Technologies, we provide organisations with a software-defined, multi-dimensional and multi-cloud approach to data protection defined by service levels that are tightly integrated with virtualised platforms. This allows IT operations to automate and orchestrate data protection seamlessly, proactively identify issues early and take away potential human errors.
The buck doesn’t stop there.
Today we live in a world where operational recovery (backups) and disaster recovery are just not good enough. Cyber attackers have become smarter, as we’ve seen many cases where even the backup data and catalogues have been destroyed, resulting in organisations taking weeks and months before they return to normal business operations. As such, we have seen heightened interest among companies to adopt a cyber recovery best practice as part of their cybersecurity framework. Having an isolated, ‘air-gapped’ solution that protects the ‘crown jewels’ of an organisation against cyber intrusions is increasingly seen as an essential defence mechanism against cyber destructions. At Dell Technologies, we are currently helping several customers from various industries to understand their cyber-risk posture and cyber-recovery solution options.
People, process, and technology are the three key pillars of cyber-security. Despite advancements through AI/ML, why do people still pose a strong cyber-security risk to organisations?
Recent studies and research on data breaches all agree on one thing – employee negligence has been a central cause of data breaches throughout the APJ region. This comes down mostly to cyber hygiene habits and risky security behaviour such as clicking on phishing emails or connecting to unsecured public networks while working remotely.
Most companies are aware of this problem. However, not all of them are equipped with appropriate cybersecurity solutions. These solutions need to address more than technical issues – they also need to focus on people working within organisations. Ensuring staff training and awareness of cybersecurity are especially essential with regards to the handling of sensitive data. Specialised cybersecurity staff who are fully up to date with the latest skills and qualifications are important to help mitigate and respond to cyber-attacks.
Besides security, what other challenges are businesses currently facing? What are some trends should business leaders take note of as we move into 2020?
According to Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index, 95% of businesses in the Asia Pacific, Japan & Greater China region are held back by persistent barriers to transformation. Besides security, the lack of the right in-house skill sets and expertise came up as one of the top three barriers.
Whether we like it or not, the next digital era has arrived and it’s reshaping the way we live, work and conduct business. We see emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR) and IoT starting to create new ways to prepare and connect people to more rewarding careers.
The good news is that businesses are taking steps to overcome these barriers: In Singapore, 44% of businesses are striving to develop the right skills sets and expertise in-house, such as teaching staff how to code and 48% of businesses are sharing knowledge across functions, by equipping IT leaders with business skills and business leaders with IT skills.
As we move into 2020, organisations must continue to bridge the digital skills and resolve key dilemmas to fully reap the benefits of human-machine partnerships. Leaders will be expected to reskill experienced workers while simultaneously empowering a new generation of workers.