Locating data underpins consolidation and security

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Locating data underpins consolidation and security
By knowing where their data is located, organisations have the assurance to move into a steady state.
Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash

From making the best of it to longer term benefits.

When the pandemic forced the almost overnight shift to working from home in March 2020, IT teams had to work long and hard to provide the right tech infrastructure to support ongoing operations. The first few weeks, or months, might have been a nightmare mix of ‘making the best of it’ strategies, but solutions soon became available and their integration easier, enabling effective and large-scale remote working.

Organisations are now thinking deeper about the future of work, some will want a return to the office, some will switch to full-time remote, and others will be somewhere in the middle with hybrid policies. Regardless of what way of working organisations choose, understanding how their data has been dispersed and where it resides will be key to long-term benefits of data classification and better governance.

Efficiency and security affords good data management

The short-term fixes that were put in place early in the pandemic almost certainly  have resulted in shadow IT being set up for many businesses/ You may already be aware of its existence and some of it you might be yet to find, and for the most part it will have been deliberately used as employees and teams made the best of what might have been available.  But now, whether knowingly or unknowingly, an organisation is likely to  have a myriad of shadow IT systems and mini data silos across their employees’ multiple devices.

Now is the time to ask if you know where all of your data is, and whether you are sure there is only one copy of everything. Duplicate copies are bad enough, but slightly varying duplicate copies, stored on individuals’ laptops, is a potential disaster. Imagine a spreadsheet updated with price changes that only half of your sales team has access to, while the other half is unknowingly selling at old prices.

Of the three data storage options - on premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid version of the two – cloud is part of the mix now, which isn’t a new approach. The trend away from on premises and hybrid configurations is well underway, and accelerated by pandemic, with Gartner has predicting that worldwide public cloud end-user spending will grow 23% in 2021.

Cloud storage providers take data security very seriously, and it is a key part of their job to protect clients’ data from all kinds of attacks. Keeping ahead of the strategies used by bad actors is part of their skillset. Knowing where your data resides – all in the cloud, and knowing that your cloud provider is on top of data security gives an organisation peace of mind.

A cloud storage provider will also help its clients meet their regulatory obligations. It will ensure that data privacy regulations such as Australia’s Notifiable Data Breach scheme (added to the Privacy Act in 2018) and GDPR are complied with, as well as any industry specific regulations around data management or exchange, including across national borders.

With these crucial legal obligations taken care of, an organisation can point its IT specialist teams in new and exciting directions. When they don’t have to constantly be watching for incursion attempts or eyeballing the regulatory environment to ensure they are compliant, they can focus on areas which are more directly aligned to making the most of data and growing the organisation.

A secure cloud solution supports all ways of working

Organisations who have a secure cloud setup, removed all duplicated datasets, secured connections at endpoint devices including laptops and smartphones, purged the use of shadow IT and systems like the home computer, and instead provisioned dedicated work devices, are able to create a secure working environment for their people. By taking these steps, the task then moves to their cloud provider to manage the all-important regulatory and compliance functions.

By knowing where their data is located, organisations have the assurance to move into a steady state, and drop any haphazard ‘making the best of it’ approaches. In turn, this steady state frees up organisations to pursue long-term benefits of leveraging their data to develop, grow and innovate, while also keeping them compliant with the latest data protection and privacy regulations across Australia, and within specific industries.

Derek Cowan is Director of Systems Engineering APAC at Cohesity.

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