Dell EMC announced the results of the third Global Data Protection Index revealing an explosive growth rate of data of 569% and an impressive jump in data protection ‘adopters’ of nearly 50 percentage points since 2016.
The research, which surveyed 2 200 IT decision makers from both public and private organisations with 250+ employees across 18 countries and 11 industries, provides a comprehensive understanding of the state of data protection and the maturity of data protection strategies. Specifically, the Index uncovered an increase in the average amount of data managed – from 1.45 petabytes (PB) in 2016 to 9.70 PB in 2018 – and a high awareness of the value of data. In fact, 92 percent of respondents see the potential value of data and 36 percent are already monetising their data. While this acknowledgement is positive, most respondents are struggling to properly protect their data. The combination of these factors is driving many of the survey’s findings.
Disruption incidents are costly
The sheer volume of data and its importance to business operations make data protection that much more challenging. Disruption incidents are occurring frequently, but more alarming is the increasing amount of irreversible data loss. More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents globally experienced some type of disruption within a 12-month period, and 27 percent were unable to recover data using their existing data protection solution – nearly double the amount (14%) in 2016.
Coincidently, 76% of respondents worldwide are also using at least two data protection vendors, which makes them 35% more likely to experience some type of disruption during the same 12-month period, compared to those with a single vendor. Unplanned systems downtime was the most common type of disruption (43%) for those using two or more vendors, followed by ransomware attack that prevented access to data (32%) and data loss (29%).
Although unplanned systems downtime is more prevalent, data loss is far more expensive. For example, those who encountered downtime experienced 20 hours of downtime on average in the last 12 months, costing $526 845, while those who lost data, lost 2.13 terabytes on average with a price tag of nearly $1 million. Additionally, many of those who experienced a disruption also indicated it had far-reaching business impacts from customer trust to brand equity to employee productivity, to name a few.
Not only does the amount of data lost increase the price, but so does the value of data itself. It’s clear that organisations recognise this as 81% said they take data protection more seriously for categories of data that have the greatest monetary value.
Challenges surrounding data protection
While those classified as data protection ‘adopters’ sprang forward by nearly 50 percentage points (from 9% in 2016 to 57% in 2018) and ‘leaders’ increased 10 percentage points (from 2% in 2016 to 12% in 2018), most businesses are struggling to implement a solution that adequately suits their needs. The majority (95%) of respondents face at least one challenge in relation to data protection. The top three challenges globally include:
1. The complexity of configuring and operating data protection software/hardware, and the ballooning costs of storing and managing backup copies due to rapid data growth tied for first at 46%.
2. The lack of data protection solutions for emerging technologies ranked second at 45%.
3. Ensuring compliancy with regulations like GDPR ranked third at 41%.
For those who are struggling to find adequate data protection solutions for newer technologies, more than half (51%) said they could not find suitable data protection solutions for artificial intelligence and machine learning data, followed by cloud-native applications (47%) and IoT (40%).
The challenges presented by emerging technologies and the rapid growth of data are just beginning to take shape. As such, only 16% believe their current data protection solutions will be able to meet all future business challenges.
Cloud is changing the data protection landscape
According to the Global Data Protection Index, public cloud use has increased from 28% of the total IT environment in respondents’ organisations in 2016 to 40% in 2018, on average. Nearly all (98%) organisations using public cloud are also leveraging it as part of their data protection infrastructure. The top use cases for data protection within public cloud include:
1. Backup/snapshot services to protect workloads developed in public cloud using new application architectures (41%).
2. Backup of on-premises workloads/data (41%).
3. Protecting specific SaaS apps (40%).
4. Cloud-enabled versions of on-premises data protection software to protect public cloud workloads (40%).
5. Backup/snapshot services to protect workloads developed in public cloud using legacy application architectures (38%).
When considering data protection solutions in a public cloud environment, the growing data universe plays an especially critical role as indicated by 64% of respondents who named scalability options as important. Specifically, 41% cited the impact of data protection infrastructure or services required to protect at scale, while 40% cited the ability to scale services as public cloud workloads increase.
Regulation is an impending catalyst for evolution
Data privacy regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are relatively new, and the true impact on the data industry has yet to be realised. However, it has quickly become a focal point as regulation compliance was ranked in the top three data protection challenges by 41% of respondents.
Moreover, only 35% felt very confident that their organisation’s current data protection infrastructure and processes are compliant with regional regulations. That sentiment is beginning to translate into reality as 12% of respondents whose organisation experienced data loss or unplanned downtime in the past 12 months reported paying punitive fines as a result.