Data Protection Trends

1. Digital Transformation & IT modernization

Technology is constantly moving forward, continually changing, and transforming how we do business. And because of this Digital Transformation, it’s important to always look at the ever-changing IT landscape to see where businesses stand on their solutions, challenges and goals.

This research report is a look into a recent survey of more than 1,550 unbiased enterprises worldwide to understand their approach toward data protection and management today, and how they expect to be prepared for the IT challenges they face, including reacting to demand changes and interruptions in service, as well as more aspirational goals of IT modernization and Digital Transformation.

While organizations are already a diverse mix of physical servers (38%), virtual machines (30%), and cloud-hosted VMs (32%), approximately 10% more of onpremises infrastructures will shift to the cloud (such as AWS and Azure) in just two years. This fast-paced switch shows that Digital Transformation has companies adopting a more cloud-friendly ecosystem.

Company concerns seem to be consistent, with a lot of thought going toward data and cloud availability, customer experience, and brand impact. However, the research infers that by modernizing data protection with easy-to-use and flexible solutions, businesses can greatly increase the protection and usability of their data while also freeing a lot of resources to focus further on their IT modernization and management efforts.

As you read this report, please keep your own IT challenges and goals in mind as you consider how you and your organization align with the 1,550 enterprises surveyed on modern data protection.

2. The business impact of data protection

Critical value of data

When data is down, it’s going to take time to get it back into play, and time (as the saying goes) is money. Globally, survey results show 95% of organizations experience unexpected outages, with at least 10% of their servers having at least one outage per year. Considering that the average outage lasts just under 2 hours, while the average for longest outages is more than twice that, downtime is considered by some to be an inevitability.

With those timeframes in mind, consider the economic impacts of downtime. One hour of downtime for a “high-priority” application is estimated to cost $67,651. The same for a “normal” application is estimated to cost $61,642. Recognizing that companies consider 51% of their data to be high-priority and therefore 49% normal priority, one can average the two as a rough approximation that an hour of downtime costs $64,647. With such a balance between high priority and normal in percentages and impact costs, the inference is that “all data matters” — downtime is intolerable anywhere within today’s environments.

These statistics show organizations are working with downtimes that are too long and too costly. They need a modernized approach that creates more recovery points to minimize downtime. Because when you consider the cost of an hour of downtime can be more than $67,000 per application, any downtime can have significant financial and brand impact to the business.

More Impacts of downtime beyond “just” money

Downtime costs money in a variety of ways due to how the lack of data affects business processes, but organizations will also experience non-monetary impacts due to downtime or data loss.

The most common negative effect and main concern was loss of customer confidence. Due to poor customer experience during an unexpected disaster, 51% of downtimes damaged a company’s relationship with customers. Following close behind in the results, is damage to brand integrity, which 44% of downtime occurrences caused.

A customer having a negative experience with a company’s service due to unforeseen circumstances is hard to swallow, but it’s not surprising that customers will think twice before trying again. However, it’s not just the customers who can be impacted by downtime; there are also the employees.

Loss of employee confidence sits at the highest third spot with 33% of downtimes impacting it. Customers aren’t the only ones who want something from businesses. Employees want their organizations to be profitable, sustainable, and a good place for them to make a career. But when IT routinely struggles, the rest of the employees can’t do what is required of them — causing some to seek employment elsewhere.

Other impacts include diverting resources from long-term or critical projects (23%), subject to legal action (21%), reduced stock price (21%), and revocation of licenses (16%).

Summary

Data is important. That may be simplifying the matter a bit, but it’s nonetheless true. Another true statement: your data is at risk. Almost every company is experiencing downtime, having 1 out of every 10 VM have unexpected problems — problems that last for hours and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And cost is just the shortsighted aspect, lost and vulnerable data damages organizations’ brands and relationships with customers and employees, adding up missed opportunities with every occurrence.

It’s important that enterprises know data is a priority. A goal for a company’s Digital Transformation should be to modernize data protection. To have the latest and best technology to keep data running, available, recoverable and safe at all times. Legacy systems show businesses are at risk, and it’s costing them dearly. All of this mentioned downtime, whether it be to human error, natural disasters or cyberattacks, can be mitigated with proper data protection.

3. The changing landscape of data protection

Digital Transformation challenge

The enterprises surveyed recognize Digital Transformation for how it will accelerate their organizations. Through modernizing business operations and processes, organizations can have a significant impact on customer service, cost reduction and employee tasks. More than 80% of organizations are in the process or planning for Digital Transformation, however, many face challenges in achieving their desired results.

The top challenges for companies pursuing Digital Transformation are lack of IT staff skills (44%) and dependency on legacy systems (40%). These obstacles also cause a significant lack of time and budget. Said another way, as organizations strive for modernization, aging platforms and manual processes can slow that down considerably.

Data protection challenges

When it comes to the challenge of protecting and managing data, 8 out of 9 businesses state that they are struggling; many due to a lack of resources. The most common challenge is the lack of staff to work on new initiatives (42%), followed by the lack of budget for new initiatives (40%). These top concerns show that companies want to do more with protecting and managing data. They want to put more manpower into working on it and they need money to explore new options.

Further on the list are more technical challenges, including visibility on operational performance, ability to support DevOps or AppDev, assurance for compliance, and inadequate backups. The lack of time, budget and resources has a serious impact on being able to support critical aspects of the business, including app development, governance and security.

Challenges that 2020 provide

What do companies expect to face in 2020? Or rather, how do they see the IT landscape will change, and how they can Digitally Transform to overcome those challenges?

Enterprises predict the most common IT challenge in 2020 will be cyberthreats (32%), which includes devious attacks such as ransomware, spyware and malware. Technology can grow in more ways than one. Just as technological advances can make life easier, attackers are also advancing ways to make life more difficult. Organizations realize this and predict that 2020 could bring some challenging cyberthreats they’ll need to be ready for.

The next concern, skill shortage to implement technology, sits at 30%. This is an alarming number given the challenge of cyberthreats. Skilled parties and the ability to implement technology are key items in a business’ Digital Transformation and necessary for protection against malicious attacks. But it seems the numbers concerned about cyberthreats and technology implementation are very close together.

The third challenge is meeting changing customer needs (29%). Predicting customer needs is a bit like predicting technology, and businesses know both landscapes continue to change. The year 2020 is bound to bring new needs to the forefront, and businesses need to be prepared to meet those needs right away, or at least be able to adapt as soon as possible.

What does modern data protection look like?

Enterprises know they must continue to make progress with their IT modernization and Digital Transformation initiatives in order to meet new industry challenges, and according to this report’s feedback, the most defining aspects of a modern data protection strategy all hinge upon utilization of various cloud-based capabilities.

The ability to do disaster recovery via a cloud service leads the poll at 54%, the ability to move workloads from on-premise to cloud follows at 50%, and the ability to move workloads from one cloud to another is third at 48%.

Said another way, half of businesses recognize that the cloud has a pivotal part to play in today’s data protection strategy; and it will most likely become even more important in the future. There are still companies using legacy solutions, but for many, the path of Digital Transformation leads directly to the clouds. And for a truly modernized data protection plan, a company not only needs to work with the cloud but have a flexible plan that works with on-premises tools and multiple cloud services.

The other defining aspects of modern data protection include the ability to automate recovery workflows and orchestration (44%), ability to integrate data protection within comprehensive cybersecurity strategy (44%), and the ability to utilize production data for secondary purposes (43%).

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