Data integrity vital for business differentiation
Across Africa, businesses have been finding increasingly innovative ways to leverage their data to grow through product and service differentiation. And even though managing risk around data compromise and loss has always been important, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed it in the spotlight.
"Over the past several weeks, remote working has become a necessary part of doing business. While some decision-makers have been intimidated by the perceived complexities such an environment creates, others have used it to accelerate their understanding of a digital workplace. Perhaps because of this, their thoughts have turned to find better ways to lower the cost of their data replication and mitigating against the risk of end-user data loss," says Sunday Onomo, Product Manager at Comstor Africa.
In fact, even before the current crisis, data and cyber-related risks were amongst the top concerns for executives. Research has shown that risk management is critical to identifying, mitigating, and responding to potential disruptions. With nearly 80% of executives agreeing that companies will lose competitive advantage if they do not effectively use data, there is still much work to be done to address maintaining a balance between remote data usage and its potential risk.
“African businesses must find inspiration through not only the technology they select to implement but also through the practical realities of operating on a continent not known for reliable Internet infrastructure. As more multi-national data centres launch in different African countries, issues such as latency and data sovereignty are largely taken care of. This provides companies with the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate how things are done and what operations will look like following the coronavirus crisis. At Comstor Africa we acknowledge that just because business continuity and disaster recovery have worked in a specific way before does not necessarily mean it has to be the way forward," adds Onomo.
For instance, Veritas provides a comprehensive software-as-a-service (SaaS) backup environment that supports several cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft 365 (previously Office 365), G Suite from Google Cloud, and Salesforce. This offering enables companies to protect and control their cloud-based SaaS data across multiple workloads. Less time spent worrying about data loss means more attention can be placed on growing the business. It is also ideal for remote workers that access corporate systems and are reliant on having systems and processes in place that manage the backup process on their behalf, much as what would have happened if they were in the office.
“However, before it gets to that point, a company must ensure that its remote work policy reflects the realities of the world today. Granted, the move to work from home has been sudden for many businesses. But this has also resulted in increased cyberattacks looking to exploit end-user weak points and even social engineering tactics using COVID-19 as a departure point."
Innovative solutions as the Veritas Backup Exec means a business can safely backup to the cloud. This provides a natural distancing between the backup and the source systems. Just as people are practising social distancing, the data itself can follow suit by 'distancing' any compromised systems from the air-gapped backup environment.
But if the backup is still connected to the source system, it not only damages primary data but can spread further and contaminate the backup copy as well. Fortunately, the Ransomware Resiliency feature of Backup Exec provides protection by implementing its own lockdown of access to backup data. This prevents all unauthorised access to the backup copy and ensures that the data is safe from ransomware.
Companies need to have this reliability at scale. Whether it is upscaling or downscaling according to their specific requirements at a point in time, they cannot afford to take risks on isolated point solutions. Data in this dynamic and digital-driven world must encompass availability, protection, and insights delivered in an integrated fashion towards comprehensive data management.
“This strange new world will be about re-engineering the conventional, rejecting complacency, and surpassing the status quo. As such, it will become a much more digital-friendly environment where African companies can continue driving innovation safe in the knowledge that their data protection needs will be taken care off,” concludes Onomo.