The events of 2020 have accelerated the digitization of our already digital world, and that means more incentives and opportunities for businesses to transform. However, to seize these opportunities you must be able to earn customers’ and partners’ trust by protecting their data and privacy. One needs to have the ability to turn data into critical insights that will spur mutual success. So, is your data protection strategy modern enough for the future of digital business? And if not, what can you do about it? The opportunities: growth of digital Let’s start to answer those questions by looking at today’s digital landscape. Firstly, many organizations are being driven to digitally transform. Digitization is a vital process if you want to compete in a world where market leaders are improving processes, engaging customers across channels, using cloud and other new technologies to become more agile. Many businesses also need to accommodate working from home and do business remotely. All these digital operations generate huge volumes of data, which needs to be stored and protected. Secondly, consumers in the Middle East are doing much more online – everything from banking to grocery shopping now involves a digital transaction. In the UAE for example, 1,036 new e-commerce licenses were issued to businesses in the first half of 2020, a new record (source: National Economic Registry of the Ministry of Economy via WAM). The risks: data breaches, customer trust, spiraling costs Data, security and privacy are becoming more relevant and important in this digital era. Research shows the surge in digital engagements has already led to increased cyber-crime. A new INTERPOL report finds “an alarming rate of cyberattacks,” with phishing scams and ransomware attacks the most common. This year’s high-profile data breach victims have included food-tech company Zomato, which had 17 million of its user records stolen. Customers stick with online businesses who win their trust by ensuring data is never stolen; businesses achieve that by constantly investing in cutting edge data protection solutions, including data security. You need to make sure the data you store and process is secure and compliant with stringent privacy regulations like GDPR. Importantly, data also needs to be highly available to your users, applications and business. Data loss remains an ever-present risk to organizations. As storage volumes grow, you need to find the most efficient solution to backup and manage your data. But how do we do this? Modernizing your strategy Think about how you can address these risks when planning your data protection strategy. Industry best-practices on data protection modernization have converged to now include: Lower costs – Choose data storage solutions that offer simpler and more efficient data protection. Your strategy should also offer users self-service data protection, reducing the burden on IT staff. Fast data recovery – If disaster strikes, you need to be able to get services back up and running quickly. Modern data protection technologies offer faster recovery times (RPO/RTO) than legacy systems. Cloud integration – As your business moves further into the cloud, you need to be able keep data protected in every kind of cloud deployment: private, hybrid and multi-cloud. Especially as cloud enables some of the most efficient and flexible data retention, backup and disaster recovery solutions. Business agility – How can you use stored to data to gain insights that drive your business forward? Next-generation solutions let you use backup data in multiple business use cases that help you adapt to changing market demands. Why modern storage means modern data protection Data storage and backup are at the core of effective data protection, because this is where your data resides. Organizations aspiring to be at the forefront of digital transformation need to start by getting these foundations right. GBM’s Data Driven Storage Framework provides a proven foundation for the data journey right from the time data is generated, ingested, processed, backed up, archived and finally purged. Choosing the right solutions to meet your goals should be the first step in implementing your strategy. When considering backup and archive solutions, IBM Spectrum Protect Plus is the ideal place to start. Spectrum Protect Plus is software that: Simplifies rapid recovery of VMs, files, databases, and applications Unlocks the value of data to accelerate analytics and much more Simplifies management with a centralized dashboard, policy-based templates that enable self-service Enables automation with REST APIs that easily integrate with third party tools and solutions Provides cost-effective, long-term data retention via data offload to cloud services Spectrum Protect also recently introduced enhanced protection features for AWS EC2 and EBS snapshots, and enhanced protection for containers. This is in addition to comprehensive data protection features, including ransomware attack detection. It’s already being used by businesses to protect data and mission-critical applications running in the cloud. In an IBM case study, cloud hosting provider Cloud Temple comments that “with IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, we are confident that our clients’ critical systems and data are protected.” Your 3 key takeaways So, as your organizations works to transform and thrive in the increasingly digital landscape, remember these three things: More digital means more risk but also more opportunities – Remember to put data protection at the heart of your strategy Data protection investments are vital for building trust with customers and partners – do everything you can to manage their data securely Storage and backup are foundational for effective data protection – select modern, future-proof, scalable solutions that fit your goals GBM is helping organizations in the Middle East to navigate the world of data protection and modernize their strategy, using our decades of experience and partnerships with leading technology companies. If you’d like to discuss any of the topics raised in this blog, please contact me.