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Data management key in era of digital explosion

Data science sector
Data science sector

JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH African companies, facing a dilemma as they embrace digital transformation, have been encouraged to advance their data management capabilities amid its explosion in Africa’s most advanced economy.

An expert noted that the dilemma rose from that on one hand, they must transform if they are to remain relevant and succeed in a digital-first world, while on the other hand, they need to manage the cost and complexity resulting from the spiralling volumes of data generated by digital transformation.

Research by Capgemini Consulting indicates that digital leaders are 26 percent more profitable compared to their industry peers. Data generated by digital transformation is expected to reach 175 zettabytes by 2025, according to the Industrial Data Corporation (IDC).

“This data all requires storage and management, leading to a dramatic growth in infrastructure, data-centres and cloud adoption, with all their associated costs as storage fragments across the edge, core and cloud,” David McMurdo, regional director, South Africa at Veritas, said.

He said the fragmentation was adding to the complexity.

Cloud adoption is growing at a rate of 45 percent to 50 percent yearly, with businesses embracing more cloud platforms and providers.

As a result, McMurdo said, 90 percent of all companies were expected to adopt hybrid cloud environments in the next two years.

In South Africa, organisations have increased the amount of redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) data that they are storing by an average of 9 percent over the last two years.

Some 49 percent of all stored data is unstructured and untagged (dark), according to the latest Veritas Databerg Report.

“The problem is that complexity is not only a result of transformation, but also inhibits it,” McMurdo said.

He highlighted the importance of protection.

“With regard to data protection, it’s not just about protecting against accidental data loss, but also against the real threat of network breaches and ransomware.”

According to the executive, ransomware has already grown to a $33 billion industry; with an attack occurring every 14 seconds.

“Clearly, this scourge is not going anywhere soon.”

Locally, a ransomware attack on a municipality last year showed that no organisation is immune.

The municipality had its databases, applications and network encrypted, all of which had to be cleaned and rebuilt. It left users unable to buy electricity units until the recovery was complete.

McMurdo said with only 50 percent of businesses that fell prey to a ransomware attack actually being given access to their data when they paid, organisations could rely on being able to buy their way out of their ransomware challenges.

“Rather, it’s imperative that firms have immutable, offsite copies of their complete data to be able to restore files in the event that hackers strike.”

The executive said companies need to be able to deal with dark data, which is uncategorised and whose value is unknown.

He concluded that no company was exempt from the data explosion.

“What they can do is implement the right tools to navigate their way through a burgeoning digital world securely, deftly and innovatively,” McMurdo said.

– CAJ News

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