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Why Bridging Security Gaps Is Key For Digital Transformation

Claude Schuck, Regional Manager, Middle East, Veeam, explains why it is critical to close business’ data availability and protection gaps when doubling down on their digital transformation strategies.

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Claude Schuck, Veeam Software
Claude Schuck, Veeam Software

We live in the era of Digital Transformation. And while every company strives to optimise their operations by embracing disruptive technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT and robotics, at the heart of all these strategies is data. However, despite understanding its importance, many companies are unaware of how precarious a position their data management and infrastructure is leaving them in.

The Veeam 2020 Data Protection Trends Report surveyed more than 1,500 global enterprises to understand their current approach toward data protection and management. Between downtime, gaps in availability and protection to full blown cyberattacks, the scope of modern data protection and management has become an increasingly complex issue.

The survey found that while data was recognised as a key element across enterprises, very few organisations had the infrastructure or digital strategy necessary for the data demands of this era.

Minding the gaps

When respondents in Middle East and Africa were asked what the biggest challenges they expect to face in the coming 12 months were, issues around cyber threats (31%), economic uncertainty (27%),  organisational leadership being unsure/unsupportive of digital transformation (27%), and shortage of skills to implement technology (27%)were the most cited responses. In addition to these challenges, many businesses still have fundamental gaps in their data infrastructure.

For example, over half (54%) of Middle East and African organisations have what we refer to as an ‘availability gap’. This is the length of time between how fast they can recover applications versus to how fast they need to recover them. There is also a ‘protection gap’ in over half of these regional organisations (51%). Protection gaps denote the frequency to which data is backed-up compared to how much data a business can afford to lose after an outage.

In both cases, Middle East and African businesses performed better than the global average (73% of global businesses have an availability gap and 69% have a protection gap). But this simply means that most of the world’s businesses haven’t been able to adjust to the modern demands of data management. Its vital businesses work to close these gaps.

What’s holding them back?

When respondents were asked what they felt was causing these gaps to persist, despite their seeming appreciation and awareness of their problems, over two in five (43%) in Middle East and Africa said a lack of IT staff skills or expertise was to blame for their organisation’s slowed Digital Transformation. Other barriers include dependency on legacy systems (40%), limited budgets (29%), lack of buy-in from senior management (23%), and lack of time (16%).. About a quarter (25%) of Middle East and African organisations believed nothing was in the way of their Digital Transformation efforts.

However you cut it, Digital Transformation is clearly the path to the future, and global businesses have high expectations for the benefits they believe it’ll bring. For more than half of those surveyed (51%) it’s how they plan to transform their customer service. And it’s a similar story when it comes to transforming business operations (48%) and delivering cost savings (47%).

But as the parameters and expectations of what constitutes Digital Transformation is so amorphous, it’s hard to accurately gauge where in the journey firms are. Based on our survey results, it seems that they’re all over the map. A third (30%) of global organisations consider themselves in the early stages of implementing or planning Digital Transformation initiatives. But almost a quarter (23%) described their progress towards achieving Digital Transformation initiatives and goals as mature or fully implemented. Digital Transformation clearly means different things to different companies and industries, but there’re still fundamental standards they all need to meet in order to flourish in today’s climate.

The damage of downtime

Regardless of the how differently businesses rate their Digital Transformation progress, they all share many of the same pitfalls. For example, almost all businesses (95%) experience unexpected outages, the global average lasting around 117 minutes. Similarly, one in ten global servers suffered at least one unexpected outage within the last 12 months.

Even though these outages may not be the catastrophic incident businesses fear, they’re still a massive money pit. Global organisations consider on average more than half (51%) of their data as ‘high priority’. So, when a high priority application experiences just one hour of downtime, it can cost an estimated $67,651.

This throws a lot of the concerns around the cost of Digital Transformation out of the window. Because the savings a robust and modern data management strategy will provide far outweighs the inevitable costs of not adopting one.

The Rise of Cloud Data Management

The important thing for businesses to understand is that the protection and utilisation of their data is intrinsically linked. So, whether a business has stepped up its Digital Transformation efforts in response to recent challenges or as part of a continuous effort to better serve customers, a robust Cloud Data Management strategy is becoming the clear, optimum choice.

For example, cloud management services such as Backup as a Service (BaaS) are gaining traction with over two in five (43%) Middle East and African organisations planning to utilise a BaaS provider within the next two years. A BaaS provider not only better ensures your data security, it also enables scalability and improved performance. And it’s a similar story for many cloud services.

So, wherever you think you are in your Digital Transformation journey, closing those gaps in availability and protection are crucial. Because not only will it ensure you’re better protected today, but it will make sure you’re also better positioned for tomorrow’s innovations.

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