Dell Technologies has stepped up and been at the forefront in the battle against Covid-19. It has also conducted a Global Data Protection Index 2020. It was revealed that organizations on an average are managing almost 40% more data than they were, a year ago. However, costly disruptions are also rising at alarming rates.
Ripu Bajwa, Director and GM, Data Protection Solutions, Dell Technologies, tells us more about the impact of cloud and the complexities of advanced technologies on data protection readiness, as well as what Dell is doing in the fight against Covid-19. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: Elaborate your thoughts on the impact of cloud and the complexities of advanced technologies on data protection readiness?
Ripu Bajwa: The value of data for organizations of all sizes, in the recent past, has sky-rocketed. While cloud as a concept has become the new normal, the complexities which it comes with, especially with respect to data protection, has been raising concerns. Businesses are taking a combination of cloud approaches while deploying new business applications, in order to drive new revenue streams and better business outcomes.
Looking at the findings of the Global Data Protection Index conducted by Vanson Bourne in partnership with Dell Technologies, it was found out that amongst APJ (except China) organisations, 46% prefer public cloud/SaaS; 38% prefer hybrid cloud and 36% prefer private cloud as deployment environments for newer applications.
However, in the present context, 77% businesses in the APJ region feel that they are not fully confident about their existing data protection solutions. In fact, as per the survey findings, about 59% of these businesses reported that they are struggling to find adequate data protection solutions for cloud-native applications itself.
As we look into the not-so-distant future, there would be more data residing in different cloud locations, which in turn will place an inordinate strain on data protection infrastructure and IT teams to efficiently manage, protect and secure this crucial information. Therefore, to stay ahead of the competitive curve, organizations will need to look at deploying effective data protection solutions that protect their data across platforms and locations, helping them drive innovation within their organization.
DQ: How can companies address: Experiences of Disruption; Data Protection Infrastructure; Protect Emerging Technologies and Significance of Cloud as part of Data Protection?
Ripu Bajwa: Organizations, despite their increased investments to safeguard their mission critical data and services, are still not being able to effectively mitigate external threats that result in data loss, increased application downtime costs, loss in revenue etc.
According to Global Data Protection Index 2020 survey by Dell Technologies and Vanson Bourne, around 84% organizations in APJ region (except China) suffered a disruptive event in the last 12 months. In fact, due to this, average annual costs of data loss for these organizations in the same period exceeded $1.3M USD.
The reason behind this trend of persistent digital disruptions is increased IT complexity due to proliferation of data across multiple locations and platforms – from edge to core to cloud and adoption of emerging technologies. Due to this complexity, businesses are now feeling less confident in their data protection and management solutions.
Therefore, to combat this challenge, companies need to adopt three key strategies – partner with a single data protection vendor; prioritize ease of management across locations and adopt scale and automation of data management solutions.
Having said that, I am happy to say that we at Dell Technologies are well-positioned to address the ever changing data protection requirements of our customers, with our robust data protection suite, helping them to eliminate data protection complexity and break the cycle of digital disruption.
DQ: How are the AI/ML platforms gaining a foothold today?
Ripu Bajwa: Emerging technologies like AI, ML, IoT, etc., continue to advance and shape the digital landscape. Primarily because of the benefits that these new-age technologies offer like real-time insights, decision intelligence, fraud detection, amongst other functions, we are observing a greater enthusiasm among the businesses to learn how to use these technologies for better business outcomes.
In fact, as per the same Vanson Bourne Study by Dell Technologies, we found out that almost all APJ organisations are making some level of investment in newer or emerging technologies, with the top five being cloud-native applications, software-as-a-service, AI and ML, 5G and cloud edge infrastructure and IoT.
While these technologies will continue to gain popularity in the next data decade, they will also raise concerns related to data protection. Hence, it is the right time for the businesses to re-look at their data protection and management strategies. Moreover, they should be looking at investing in simple, reliable, efficient, scalable and more automated solutions for protecting applications and data, regardless of the platform.
DQ: How are companies going around to address the challenges of 5G and edge?
Ripu Bajwa: We are in the midst of a continuing deluge of data, so it’s no surprise that AI and deep learning initiatives are kicking off across all sectors of our economy, both at global and regional levels. With the proliferation of technologies such as 5G and edge computing, this data will further grow at an unprecedented rate. While many organizations consider data to be their most valuable asset, unfortunately it can also be amongst the most vulnerable.
As per the study, about 75% of businesses in APJ responded that those using 5G and edge computing infrastructure are struggling to find adequate data protection solutions for these technologies.
In fact, in the absence of a robust data protection strategy, the risks of data loss and data unavailability will constantly loom over the businesses, threatening costly outages, downtime, malware attacks and other non-trivial business consequences. Therefore, to address these challenges, organizations need to equip themselves with comprehensive data management and protection solutions that are reliable, agile and efficient in nature.
DQ: As the data landscape grows more complex, how are companies protecting their data?
Ripu Bajwa: As businesses embrace digital transformation, the rate at which data is growing has increased manifolds. As per the survey mentioned earlier, organisations in APJ manage 13.31 petabytes of data on average, a staggering 693% increase since 2016.
The two major challenges that an organisation is facing currently are:
* to effectively protect their mission-critical data by combating data protection complexity, and
* to deploy robust data management solutions.
Hence, over the years, we are seeing an upward trend when it comes to giving weightage to data protection as a business function.
Given the current scenario, businesses are looking to adopt a mix of existing as well as new-age data protection solutions. They have been investing heavily in on-boarding multiple vendor solutions which often leads them to an increased IT complexity.
The use of disparate management tools combined with the need to rely on multiple vendors for service and support has made day-to-day data protection management very challenging, especially during a downtime event.
Therefore,the need of the hour is for organizations to invest in a single data protection partner with an extensive portfolio of solutions to protect data in all its forms (on-premise, in remote locations and in the cloud), a surefire way to reduce complexity and mitigate the risk of downtime during an outage.
We, at Dell Technologies, have been constantly working towards providing our customers with the right kind of solutions and services they need in order to protect their valuable data. Our innovative solutions such as Dell EMC PowerProtect DD Series Appliances, offer the ability to simplify and provide operational efficiencies for data protection of multi-cloud workloads for our customers.
DQ: How is Dell Technologies re-inventing itself, given the current situation?
Ripu Bajwa: We are closely following Covid-19. Enabling a remote workforce is one way to help keep employees, communities and customers safe. A secure, reliable remote strategy is essential for maintaining unity and productivity as well as customer satisfaction.
Dell Technologies has been a leader in work-from-home technologies, developing a broad portfolio of products and solutions to empower remote workers and turn challenges of access and geography into opportunity.
As a technology solutions company, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are doing all we can to provide the critical tools and offer the expertise needed to enable a remote workforce in keeping people productive while staying safe, as well as businesses that keep people employed running.
For Dell Technologies, this means prioritising caring for the health and safety of our team members, their families and our communities; and ensuring business continuity for our customers and partners. To that end, we’ve put in place policies and guidelines to navigate through Covid-19, and pulled together tips, best practices and lessons that we have learnt in our 10-year journey of implementing a connected workplace to help customers enable remote working.