Opinion Piece: Data Management Must Be Top of Mind for Modern Enterprises as Data-Driven Decision Making is Key to Long Term Success 

By Kate Mollett, Senior Director at Commvault Africa 

Despite data being labelled as the “new gold” of the digital era, many organisations fail to harness its value and still have data that goes unused, often because it is inaccessible, siloed or lost. This wastes time, money, and other valuable resources. The importance of leveraging data has been strongly emphasised by the acceleration of digital transformation during the past few years, and organisations are increasingly recognising that data-driven decision-making is now crucial to gain a competitive edge. 

But, decisions based on incomplete data can have the opposite effect – if companies do not have the complete picture, they do not know what they’re missing and could make the wrong decisions. So, it is crucial to have as much data as possible. 

Yet, ‘more’ does not automatically mean ‘better’, so while an organisation may have an abundance of data, without ensuring that it is complete and accurate, it may not be useful for driving key business decisions. This means that data management has become more important than ever. 

Data backup and recovery 

Equally important is data backup and recovery. With organisations adding more and newer technologies to meet their needs, data is often located across multiple environments, such as hybrid and multi-cloud, as well as remote and distributed environments. This increases the risk of data loss and compromises data recoverability. 

In addition, companies also face the constant threat of cyberattacks and the rapid rise in ransomware attacks is forcing enterprises to reconsider their security posture and increase their focus on resilience. While a robust security framework remains important, it should not be restrictive to the point where an organisation is unable to use its data for decision-making. 

Because threats continue to evolve, an organisations’ response to them must also evolve. Instead of being reactive, modern enterprises need to become more proactive to avoid data breaches, which requires multiple layers of security and focus on secure and reliable backups for ransomware resilience. However, preventing ransomware attacks is better than trying to recover data after an incident has occurred. It does happen that backup data gets compromised in an attack and if the organisation does not realise this, it may back up compromised data. 

3-2-1 backup plan 

The best approach to backup and recovery remains to have a 3-2-1 data backup plan in place, which dictates that an organisation should always maintain three copies of its data – two that are stored locally, but on different storage media to avoid a single point of failure, and one copy offsite, such as in the cloud. This copy can even be disconnected if needed, providing an “air gap” to protect against cyber hacking or ransomware. 

Unfortunately, companies looking to make an investment in data management solutions could be overwhelmed by the sheer number of vendors and options available in the market. A good place to start looking for the right partner would be to consult Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, which provides a competitive positioning of technology providers in fast-growing markets, rating vendors on completeness of vision and their ability to execute. 

Other criteria that should be considered include their track record in the industry and how long they have been operating. Data management should ideally be outsourced to partners that provide on-premises and cloud-based solutions and can draw on worldwide experience to protect their customers’ data. 

Data is one of the most powerful tools the modern enterprises can have and can potentially have a significant impact on its long-term success. To get the most out of it, companies must properly leverage data management technology to improve the quality of their data and manage it effectively. Those that do this successfully will have a considerable advantage over their competitors.