Dell Holds APJ Power Chat, Tackles Data Protection in the Age of Cyber Threats

Last week, Dell Technologies held the virtual APJ Power Chat, where technology leaders from Dell and the International Data Corporation (IDC) discussed data protection amidst ongoing digital transformation and increasing cybersecurity risks. Technology leaders from Macquarie Cloud Services and NTT, on the other hand, spoke about use cases of Dell Technologies’ data protection solutions.

Lucas Salter, General Manager, Data Protection Solutions at Dell Technologies, Asia Pacific & Japan, presented the key findings of Dell Technologies’ 2021 Global Data Protection Index. Already in its fifth edition, the now annual survey was conducted between February and April 2021 on 1,000 IT decision-makers across 15 countries and 14 industries with more than 350 employees. Of the respondents surveyed, 350 were from Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), and most are well-aware of the looming and very real threat of cyber attacks.

The Forever Challenge of Data Protection

An overwhelming majority—72%—of the APJ-based respondents agree that their organisation’s exposure to cyber threats has greatly increased, in part, due to the rise in remote work, the emergence of new technologies and the increasing popularity of the cloud. Tellingly, 68% admit to being concerned that their organisation’s existing data protection measures might be inadequate given malware and ransomware threats that are growing more sophisticated nowadays. 

“New and emerging technologies present data protection challenges to organisations, which may impact their readiness [in terms of data protection and cybersecurity],” said Salter. “In APJ, 67% of organisations investing or planning to invest in SaaS applications are struggling to find data protection for these applications, and 70% of organisations investing or planning to invest in cloud-native applications are struggling to find data protection for those applications.”

Just as telling, 82% of companies are concerned that their existing data protection solutions are not good enough to meet future business challenges. But there is a silver lining: Only 15% of those surveyed think that data and workload protection in the cloud is the sole responsibility of the cloud provider alone.

“It is good practice to be aware that cloud service providers are not automatically responsible for protecting your data and most operate on a shared responsibility model,” Salter pointed out. “Leveraging public cloud for data protection functions is now commonplace in APJ, with 70% of respondents leveraging public cloud for long-term retention and backup or archiving data and 67% leveraging public cloud for disaster recovery. This is a positive sign for APJ organisations as they take advantage of the data protection opportunities available through the leverage of cloud services to support their hybrid and multi-cloud strategy.”   

Ironically, Dell found out that organisations using multiple data protection vendors were more likely to experience a variety of issues related to data loss, data access and systems downtime as compared to those using only a single data protection vendor. In fact, organisations in the APJ with multiple data protection vendors were nearly two times more likely to experience local disasters affecting data access and twice as likely to not recover data lost to a breach as opposed to organisations that relied on only one vendor.  

Rise of Ransomware

The biggest threat to data nowadays is arguably ransomware, which is ever-evolving in sophistication and occurring more frequently in recent years. Ransomware, according to Cathy Huang, Associate Research Director, Services and Security at IDC Asia/Pacific, is now “moving laterally, escalating privileges, evading detection, exfiltrating data and leveraging double extortion.”

But as the table below shared by Huang shows, ransomware is nothing new. It has just gotten more sophisticated, more dangerous, and more lucrative on the part of cybercriminals.

The Long and Infamous History of Ransomware

Proof of the increasing frequency of ransomware attacks is the IDC’s recent findings that 34.2% of surveyed organisations in the Asia Pacific region have been victimised over the past year by ransomware that necessitated extra resources to rectify. Of these ransomware victims, 83.6% experienced data exfiltration, with 17.3% of them having their sensitive data stolen.

Ransom costs, as the table shows, has increased exponentially as well, though that high average, according to Huang, is partly skewed by several instances of larger companies paying cyber attackers a ransom worth millions of dollars. Huang, however, notes that ransom is just one part of the cost of a ransomware attack, with the other being the cost of business disruption. Here in the Asia Pacific, in particular, nearly 28% of ransomware attacks reported disrupted businesses for at least a day, while almost 25% disrupted operations by a few days. Nearly 30%, on the other hand, reported a disruption ranging anywhere from at least a week to a few weeks, underpinning the trouble ransomware can cost to a business.

This rise of ransomware is all the more reason for organisations to take a long hard look at their data protection practices, especially when juxtaposed with data fuelling digital transformation. Put simply, the growing importance of data is necessitating the adoption of more digital technologies, like the cloud, intelligent automation, edge innovations and digital workforce solutions, which will only expand the attack surface and increase exposure to threat vectors.

Data Protection, the Dell Way

Cognisant of growing cyber threats, Dell Technologies has engineered a range of end-to-end security solutions that organisations can deploy to protect themselves against potential cyber attacks. These technologies are specifically designed to offer the following:

  • Built-in security from design to silicon to supply chain and retirement.

  • Resiliency through innovation leveraging continuous, interconnected innovations designed to build and bolster an organisation’s cyber resilience.

  • Automation and intelligence featuring advanced risk mitigation through forensics, analytics and automation.

In addition, Dell Technologies is offering an exhaustive data protection portfolio that includes VMWare and multi-cloud integration; cyber recovery that is isolated, immutable, and intelligent and as-a-Service flexibility. Small wonder then that Dell once again topped the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Solutions—the 16th consecutive time it has done so. Dell was also named by the IDC as the number one provider of data protection appliances and solutions globally, underscoring its status as among the most trusted when it comes to keeping data safe and secure.

Among the many companies already leveraging Dell Technologies’ suite of data protection solutions is Australia-based Macquarie Cloud Services, which is working with Dell to address the data protection needs of its diverse clientele.

“Over the past six years, we have partnered with Dell Technologies for our data protection, among other things,” said Barry Silic, CTO for Cloud and Cybersecurity at Macquarie Cloud Services. “We use the Dell Technologies Data Protection Suite with PowerProtect DD series for a single multi-cloud Backup-as-a-Service platform, which spans across on-prem, private and public cloud workloads. Our customers can even use the existing third-party backup solution to back up their on-prem environments to us as an offsite backup.”

Another of Dell’s many partners is NTT, which is leveraging the former’s data protection solutions to accelerate its clients’ digital transformation but with reduced risks and lowered costs.

“NTT and Dell have a long and productive partnership. We’ve partnered for over 15 years together. NTT is a Dell solutions provider and a titanium partner in Asia Pacific, and we’re also a global-aligned platinum partner,” said Nathan Vanderberg, Senior Director of Technology and Transformation at NTT. “Together, we’ve completed more than a thousand successful projects across a range of industries globally.”

One industry that has greatly benefited from the Dell-NTT collaboration is healthcare, where massive amounts of sensitive patient data need to be kept private and confidential. In particular, Dell’s data protection solutions ensure that the data environment of NTT’s healthcare clients is secure by design, with security not merely a button that is part of the security infrastructure but rather an integral part of the entire architecture. This in turn enables NTT’s clients not only to protect sensitive information better but also to be cyber resilient overall.  

On that note, Dell Technologies promises to continue being at the forefront in terms of providing organisations in the Asia Pacific and Japanese regions with expansive, cutting-edge data protection in this increasingly digitalised world. This is critical as these very same organisations are continuing with their respective digital transformation journeys, using new and emerging technologies, leveraging homeworking models post-pandemic and maximising the many benefits of the cloud.

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