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Managing Data Becoming Too Complex? The Key Lies In Abstraction Says Veritas

In today’s digital economy, data is the new fuel for growth. Yet, with more and more data sources, managing data growth is not an easy task. One of the biggest challenges faced by so many digitally transformed organisations is exponential data growth.

According to Ravi Rajendran, Veritas’ Managing Director for the Asia South Region, while this is not a new challenge, it is a real issue that data driven organisations continue to struggle with, especially when there are many new threats out there that aim to expose data for gain. “To put things in perspective, data is projected to grow to 175 zettabytes of data by 2025 and ransomware is expected to be a $33 billion-dollar industry in the same timeframe,” he said.

Since Veritas has the privilege of working with many large enterprises across the world, including 98% of the Fortune 100, we thought it was valuable to get their input on what their customers’ pain points are when it comes to managing data that is growing rapidly in the midst of a fast evolving cyber threat landscape.

Ravi concurred that cyber attacks are becoming a key concern and many of Veritas’ customers are looking for a solution, not just to prevent attacks, but more importantly to be able to recover as quickly as possible when it does happen.

To add to that complexity, he opined, “There are more regulations – existing, new or pending – that are in place to protect the data privacy of consumers. This is likewise an area where organisations must contend with, as it is inevitable that the future holds more changes and they need to be well prepared ahead of time.”

It is clear that the complexity will not go away. In fact, it will only get worse, he said. “How do we manage the complexity amid the key challenges outlined above? The answer lies in abstracting the complexity (across physical, virtual and all major cloud platforms) so that organisations can focus on their desired business outcomes.”

Crippling Consequences of Ineffective Data Management

According to Veritas Value of Data study, businesses across the globe continue to house “dark data” within their organisations, creating a honeypot for cybercriminals. On average, 52% of business data is “dark data” and unmanaged by policy. To this, Ravi said, “Very often, it is due to lack of knowledge of what data exists in their organisations or where data lives”.

The consequences of ineffective data management can be crippling, Ravi added, with severe impact on employee efficiency, productivity and profitability of businesses. Organisations estimate that they lose over USD$2 million per year as they struggle with data management challenges. On average, employees lose two hours a day searching for data, resulting in a 16% drop in workforce efficiency.

“As businesses continue to operate in more complex IT environment, data management will also need to adapt or risk holding back new capabilities such as machine learning and artificial intelligence that would provide customers with enhanced user experience,” he said.

Ravi then referred to Gartner’s Technology Trends for 2019 report – which stated that by 2022, over half of significant new business systems will incorporate continuous intelligence that uses real-time context data to improve decisions. Ravi explained, “The complexity most businesses face is that they don’t know which data to address first, as they have no view of the risks or value dark data contains. Once they have visibility into that environment, they can make decisions faster, with more confidence.”

To realise the benefits of data management, he said organisations should keep the following key questions in mind in order to understand the important aspects of enterprise data: Where it is located? What is its age? When was it last updated? Who has access to it? What is the retention period? Subject to compliance regulations? Who can access it? What is the level of importance? Is it permissible for the data to be stored in public cloud?

“With greater awareness and understanding of data, organisations can effectively determine its risk or value – removing the complexity from IT,” Ravi commented.

New Brand Refresh, New Platform

Since abstraction is the answer to many of the challenges faced by today’s organisations, Ravi said it has become the key concept underpinning Veritas’ recent brand refresh. In June, the data management company announced its new Enterprise Data Services Platform, a unified set of technologies designed to abstract the complexity of enterprise IT and a brand-new set of connections across the Veritas product portfolio.

 “Powered by Veritas NetBackup 8.2, Veritas Enterprise Data Services Platform allows customers to get what matters to them most, simply: highly available apps, always protected and recoverable data, and insights that drive operational efficiency and regulatory compliance. Designed with our customers in mind, the Veritas Enterprise Data Services Platform empowers customers to gain control of their data, without having to start all over as they seek to address the data management challenges today,” Ravi explained.

Among the value that Veritas aims to bring to customers includes:
o   Standardised availability, protection and insights irrespective of how or where an application is hosted or where the data resides
o   Streamlines the management and administration burden for IT
o   Consistent, mission critical levels of availability, optimised performance, and better orchestration 
o   Protects investments and accelerates the adoption of new apps, workloads, and technologies
 
He added that the entire Veritas portfolio and vision are represented in the new data services platform. It encompasses three important pillars, which he listed as Availability, Protection and Insights, to help customers take on tomorrow’s IT realities and “solve their toughest challenges to achieve the outcomes that they are looking for – highly available apps, protected data and insights that drive compliance and strategic decision-making”.

At the last Veritas event that DSA attended in KL, we remember hearing of a similar messaging about the capabilities of the Veritas 360 Data Management Suite, which they said was also able to combine and protect data everywhere, regardless of platform. So, we asked Ravi how this new platform differs and/or improves on Veritas’ previous data management offerings.

In a nutshell, he said that the Veritas Enterprise Data Services Platform provides an extensible forward-looking vision for Veritas’ value propositions and solutions. He further explained, “I would say that this is an evolution of 360 data management which describes our value proposition with three tiers of bundled licenses across the portfolio. Unlike the 360 data management offerings, the Veritas Enterprises Data Services Platform provides flexibility to customers – it does not incorporate bundling of product licenses as every customer is unique in their availability, protection and insights requirements.”

Helping ASEAN Businesses Abstract Complexity

According to the Veritas Value of Data study, 58% of the organisations globally say that the complexity of their data footprint limits their ability to realise the value of their data. So, from a regional perspective, we asked Ravi how Veritas is helping ASEAN businesses to abstract the complexity associated with today’s hybrid and multi-cloud data centre environments.

Ravi explained by breaking it down to the three aforementioned pillars which encompasses what the company’s data services platform is all about:

Availability
It is no surprise that the adoption of native and siloed tools has contributed to the lack of predictability for business service availability’s SLA. At the same time, this has also hindered the migration and portability of data and workloads to platforms that are more cost effective while optimising performance. At Veritas, we see abstraction as a means to resolve IT complexity and keep business services available 24/7 every day across physical, virtual and multi-cloud environments. In the ASEAN region, we have helped customers in the finance and government sectors to orchestrate disaster recovery of applications between on-premises and multi-cloud platforms. We have also simplified the workload migration to private and public clouds while providing the capability to move away from cloud platforms that did not meet the desired SLA, cost efficiency and performance required by the businesses. 

Protection
The ability to protect their data is a critical requirement for businesses. Veritas has helped customers across different industries in the ASEAN region to manage and protect data by abstracting the complexities from the underlying infrastructure – this could range from traditional platforms such as physical systems and databases (Oracle, MSSQL, SAP etc.) to newer platforms such as virtualisation, Opensource databases and multi-cloud environments. This is achieved by doing away with point solutions and implementing an Enterprise Data Service that is proven and robust to protect and recover data at scale. For instance, Veritas can provide protection and fast recovery at scale for thousands of virtual machines regardless where the data is stored or whether it is expected to be recovered to on-premises, private cloud or private cloud.

Insights
With prevalent data threats and ever-changing data regulations, Veritas sees the value of leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide predictive analytics and proactive support for our customers. By doing so, we are helping customers to improve operational efficiency, reduce downtime and extract insights that would help to gain competitive edge over others. This is imperative for our ASEAN customers in highly regulated industries such as finance, where they must comply with strict regulatory requirements. It is not uncommon for their data to be stored in disparate infrastructure across on-premises, hyperconverged environment and public or private clouds. We have helped these customers to optimise their infrastructure and meet data privacy and compliance regulations by leveraging backup and storage analytics to enable end-to-end protection for all their data and ensuring cost effectiveness when it comes to consumption of public cloud resources.

“If we take a further view across the Asia region, Veritas has worked closely with China International Marine Containers Ltd (CIMC) to abstract complexities by providing a common platform across all its business units globally. As CIMC migrated its data and workloads into the cloud, it needed to maintain seamless visibility into all business data, whether the information is stored on-premises or in the cloud. This is made possible with Veritas’ data management solutions,” added Ravi.

Getting the Most Out of Your Data

Over the years, data has given rise to a new economy and according to Ravi, when organisations adopt a strategic and fully integrated approach to data management deployment, it can open doors to amazing opportunities, not to mention substantial financial and operational benefits.

He again pointed to the findings of the Value of Data study, which stated that organisations expect an average return of USD$2.18 for every USD$1 they invest in improving their data management and an overwhelming majority (82%) of businesses are expecting an even higher return.

“Notably, organisations that are investing in the proper management of their data say they are already benefiting from their investment, with 70% of the respondents saying they have reduced costs, while over two-thirds say their employees are empowered to be more productive,” he clarified.

Across the markets, respondents ranked increased data compliance, reduced security risks, cost savings, and the ability to drive new revenue streams and market opportunities, as the most attractive benefits of improving data management. Additionally, organisations also reap better customer satisfaction and become more agile and innovative when they invest in data management capabilities.

“To fully realise the benefits of effective data management, organisations must arm themselves with the ability to access, protect and derive insights from their data,” concluded Ravi. “By promoting a cultural shift in the way data is managed, which includes support from senior leadership as well as tools, processes and training, companies can empower employees with full visibility and control of data.”

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