Any business that has been around for more than a few years will have generated quite a lot of data. And as the business grows, so too does the number of different devices and applications that are storing data, including personal devices, cloud services, and on-premises hardware.
With each new device or service, the business’s data becomes spread across more and more locations, and becomes increasingly fragmented.
This creates problems on two fronts.
Firstly, data that isn’t readily accessible can’t be put to good use. That means important information about customers actions and preferences can’t be used to boost sales.
Secondly, data that can’t be easily located and managed can’t be properly protected. And that could leave the business open to falling victim to the actions of cyber criminals.
The risks of poor data management
Cybercrime activity has increased dramatically in recent years. In September the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) found that total cyber incident reports had increased by approximately 13 per cent during the 2021 financial year, to over 67,500, resulting in self-reported financial losses totalling more than $33 billion.
These losses come in many forms, including disruption to business operations, and from businesses having their data encrypted and held hostage by criminals who demand a ransom to return it. Then there is also the commercial damage from customers who no longer want to deal with an organisation that has not protected their data.
Governments around the world are also raising their expectations for how businesses protect data, especially personally identifiable information (PII). One example is the Australian government’s Notifiable Data Breach scheme, which requires any business with a with an annual turnover of more than $3 million to notify affected individuals and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) if it has experienced a data breach that is likely to seriously harm an individual.
The steps to securing data
It is hard for any business to know if it is protecting data and following regulations if it doesn’t know where its data is.
This makes finding and consolidating data an important first step in ensuring it is protected, by hunting down every data repository, be it in active use, archived on a storage device, or saved in a cloud service.
Once you know what data you have and where it is, you can then classify it based on its importance and sensitivity, and by the level of protection that it requires.
Consolidating your data also provides the opportunity to cut storage costs by eliminating older devices or expensive cloud-based services.
Giving your data a new home
For many businesses the best solution is to store your data onsite using a secure and reliable data storage solution, such as IBM’s FlashSystem family.
These devices offer a range of price points to suit businesses of all sizes and combine the latest encryption and ransomware protection technologies with an easy-to-use interface that makes managing and securing data relatively simple.
This makes consolidating data a smart opportunity to reduce costs, improve security, and reduce the likelihood of a breach.