By Andy Ng, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia South Region, Veritas Technologies
2020 was a year of unexpected digitalisation. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back. The advent of COVID-19 has forced organisations to accelerate their digital transformation – including adoption of cloud services – ahead of schedule. How will companies need to evolve in the new year to fully exploit their organisational data, and also to protect it and assure its availability?
Regaining control of data
As organisations accelerated their cloud strategies to respond to the challenges of the global COVID pandemic, many put the priority on ‘just making things work’. Employees were given mobility solutions and remote access to data and applications to minimise work disruptions.
In the cloud-enabled distributed remote working environment, policies for creating, storing and sharing data weren’t always treated with the same level of priority. As a result, data created during the various lockdowns around the world has often been spread across a variety of end-user devices and cloud applications, in addition to, or instead of, the secure locations it really should have been.
This acceleration of cloud adoption is here to stay. According to Veritas’ 2020 Ransomware Resiliency Report, 45% of organisations are currently using between 5 to 20 cloud services. This rising multi-cloud complexity will also see organisations increase their reliance on both channel partners and vendors to navigate this route smoothly.
A new data strategy has to emerge, as organisations begin “the great data hunt” to regain control of information that was distributed beyond the datacentre, to the cloud and the edge during the lockdown.
As we head into 2021, organisations will be looking to take back control of this data to ensure that it’s both protected and compliant. They won’t be able to turn the clock back to the time of the centralised office network, but they will need to leverage data protection and management tools that deliver visibility and security no matter where the data is located.
‘Resiliency’ will be considered in a whole new light
The global pandemic has made organisations take a completely new look at how they ensure business resiliency. Many – if not most – enterprises had plans in place to deal with the loss of a data centre, a major office location, or even all facilities within a given city. But few – if any – had plans to deal with a situation where all business premises became inaccessible at the same time.
Moreover, organisations’ business resiliency capabilities were tested even further, with the number of cyber attacks increasing substantially in 2020, as cyber-criminals tried to cash in on the pandemic. Ransomware attacks alone increased by a factor of seven in the first half of 2020. Similarly, our Ransomware Resiliency Report revealed that 42% of organisations have suffered a ransomware attack in 2020.
This year saw organisations focused on urgently making operations work in the here and now. 2021 will see them reassess their business resiliency models to assure that they can continue to serve their customers and employees, and that they can rapidly recover their critical services in the event of a major outage, without the requirements for physical access while staying secure.
Recovery for 2021
In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity. We are certainly not out of the woods yet, but the vaccines have arrived and offer light at the end of the COVID tunnel. If the vaccinations work as planned, the global economy will be on the road to recovery, albeit at varying speed across the different industries.
As we close out 2020, it is evident that remote working, or work from anywhere, has been made possible with technology – spanning from cloud adoption, IT collaboration tools to deploying optimised data protection solutions at the edge and sending backup data directly to the cloud or the data centre for centralised management. Moving into 2021 and beyond, 5G will definitely drive the proliferation of edge computing, enabling businesses to gain access to data, services and insights that were previously impossible. This move to the edge, coupled with the ongoing debate on the push and pull of remote working, will create additional data management challenges as well as new demands, with the need to manage more data with more endpoint devices residing in different locations.
According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.8 trillion in 2021, an increase of 4% from 2020. Notably, enterprise software is expected to have the strongest rebound in 2021 (7.2%) due to the acceleration of digitalisation efforts by enterprises supporting a remote workforce, delivering virtual services such as distance learning or telehealth, and leveraging hyper-automation to ensure pandemic-driven demands are met.
In the data management space, with AI and machine learning becoming more pervasive, we are moving closer to a reality that bots will take a bigger role in enabling predictive insights for proactive monitoring for downtime and faults. This is a critical differentiator for organisations – with IT managers taking preventative action before a disruption ever occurs and giving people time to focus on valuable tasks. As businesses seek to keep pace with the rise and complexity of multi-cloud in the current climate, it is necessary to find a way to centralise an organisation’s data in order for AI to achieve its full potential.
Data will continue being “the name of the game” in our digital economy. Organisations that are ahead of the curve will be able to reap the full advantage of opportunities that lie ahead in the Asia Pacific region for 2021.