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The data explosion: Why managing data and storing it effectively can prevent data loss

The data explosion: Why managing data and storing it effectively can prevent data loss

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Ahead of World Backup Day on 31 March, Melyssa Banda, VP of Seagate Systems & Lyve Services, explains why businesses must implement robust data backup strategies to fortify against cybersecurity defences and avert potential data loss incidents.

Melyssa Banda, VP of Seagate Systems & Lyve Services

Data is an invaluable asset for businesses as it drives growth, fuels innovation and improves the customer experience. It is growing at an exponential pace and IDC predicts the global datasphere will be 291ZB in 2027.

As the volume and velocity of data increase, many organisations across a multitude of sectors are unable to tap into the full potential of today’s data-driven world. Not only do they capture and use just a fraction of the data they generate, but they also struggle with data storage by ensuring it is secured and ‘backed up’ as part of their data strategy.

World Backup Day is a timely reminder that companies must reassess their data storage strategies to ensure data availability, while minimising cost, especially in this AI boom. Data storage strategies can make or break a business’s data management and cybersecurity efforts. If data isn’t easily retrievable, scalable and secure, this can have a significant negative impact on operations.

Managing data efficiently

Globally, businesses currently depend on having the right data centre infrastructure in place to harness the intrinsic value of all this available data. However, one of the key management challenges stems from the complexities of storing and managing scattered data. Residing in multiple locations, data often sprawls – spreading through endpoints, the Edge and multiple clouds. This means companies are missing out on new opportunities and potential revenue.

How and where data is stored can also greatly affect the value that organisations can derive from it. Yet, organisations are only collecting 56% of the data potentially available through their operations. Many enterprises would like to keep their data long term but are often constrained by budgets or unplanned charges when accessing that data when it is in an offline archive.

Rather than look to immediately expand their data storage capacity, enterprise data centres should examine how effectively their data is being stored. Where you store your data has a huge impact on your ability to use your data effectively. Ultimately, businesses need to ensure that the collected data is usable, whilst also managing the storage of collected data.  

Attempting to capture all available data, however, would strain a business’s existing IT infrastructure and increase costs. One way to address this is to identify and classify data at the start of its lifecycle to enable faster data pruning, which translates to lower costs. By using a clear and comprehensive data classification policy, based on its sensitivity level, will further ensure it is handled properly, and accessed only by the people who should have sight of it. This will help to lower organisational risk and prepare for potential data leaks.

Mapping out the data lifecycle

The already huge amounts of data generated by businesses are expected to double in size every three years and they must be prepared to seamlessly accommodate this growth. Managing data growth effectively involves a combination of strategic planning and the right technology solutions for your needs.

One of the key strategies for managing data growth is data lifecycle management. This approach involves categorising a data file based on its value and access frequency and then applying appropriate storage and retention policies.

Implementing an objective data lifecycle policy will also help identify and protect confidential data with a clear framework of rules and processes for each category of data. It should guide you on when and how to store and then delete data in line with regulatory requirements.

Strengthening cybersecurity defences

As organisations grapple with the escalating frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, the importance of data backup cannot be overstated. Beyond serving as a contingency measure in the event of data loss, backups play a pivotal role in mitigating the impact of cyber incidents and facilitating swift recovery.

An emerging challenge is the rise of ransomware attacks, where cybercriminals encrypt a company’s databases and demand a ransom for their release. In the latest Verizon 2023 Data Breach Investigations report, ransomware is present today in more than 62% of all incidents committed by organised crime actors and in 59% of all incidents with a financial motivation.

To counter such threats, advanced threat detection and response systems should be established, as well as strong backup data recovery solutions to minimise the impact.

Another security trend is the adoption of Zero Trust security models, which assume by default that no users inside or outside the organisation should be trusted. Zero Trust architectures rely on identity and access management, strict access controls and continuous monitoring to ensure data security.

Prioritising data backup practices

As we look to the future, the capacity to safely store, access and leverage vast quantities of data will be integral to driving innovation and harnessing the full potential of the digital age.

As we observe World Backup Day, businesses and individuals are reminded to shore up their data backup practices. As the weight of data becomes more critical due to the integration of AI and amidst growing sustainability concerns, prioritising secure and efficient, backup practices can shield from cyberthreats while demonstrating good corporate citizenship.

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