Within the last 12 months, the total cost of data loss has reached an average of more than $1 million per organization, Dell Technologies found. Companies now manage 13.53 petabytes on average, a whopping 831% increase since 2016.

Despite businesses managing nearly 40% more data than they were a year ago, the majority (81%) of professionals said their current data protection solutions aren’t good enough. Dell’s Global Data Protection Index 2020 Snapshot evaluated the challenges associated with advancing technologies, as well as the security readiness of organizations.

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Data is undoubtedly dominating the enterprise: 80% of organizations in 2019 said they see their data as valuable and are currently consuming value from the data or are planning to in the future, up from 74% in 2018, the report found.

The driving force behind data is the evolution of technology. While adopting technology is great for improving productivity, because the tools are able to automate menial, time-consuming tasks, they also negatively impact data protection efforts, according to the report.

“Whether it’s financial, hospitality, manufacturing, the service industries, etc., we are seeing digital transformation,” said Ruya Atac-Barrett, vice president of marketing of data protection for Dell.

“This is now the data era,” Atac-Barrett said. “What we mean is that companies are transforming themselves, where technology is moving from being back office to becoming what customers are directly having their initial experience with.”

The positive and negative effects of emerging tech

Nearly all organizations are investing in new or emerging technologies at some level, the report found. The most popular of technologies for businesses include cloud-native applications (58%), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (53%), software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications (51%), 5G and cloud edge infrastructure (49%), and the Internet of Things (IoT) (36%).

These technologies help to generate insights for organizations, which helps with preventative maintenance and improved customer experience, and make business operations more efficient.

“New technologies [allow organizations] to become a lot more informed about their decision making process, their product choices, how they are going to serve their customers, and how fast they can serve their customers,” Atac-Barrett said.

However, nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents said emerging technologies can also create more data protection complexity, and 61% said that the tech poses risks to data protection, the report found.

More than half of respondents using newer or emerging technologies are having trouble finding adequate data protections solutions for the following tools:

  • 5G and cloud edge infrastructure (67%)
  • AI and ML platforms (64%)
  • Cloud-native applications (60%)
  • IoT and end point (59%)
  • Robotic process automation (56%)

Respondents said they felt the least confident in the data protection of the following:

  • Recovering data from cyber-attacks (69%)
  • Recovering data from a data loss incident (64%)
  • Meeting compliance with regional data governance regulations (62%)
  • Meeting backup and recovery service level objectives (62%)

Detrimental disruptions

The largest threat to all of data appears to be the increasing number of cyberattacks accounting for data loss and systems downtime. The majority of organizations (82%) said they suffered a disruptive event in the last 12 months. Another 68% said they are afraid of a disruptive event in the next 12 months.

One of the most concerning findings was that organizations using more than one data protection vendor are approximately two times more vulnerable to cybersecurity incidents that prevent access to their data.

With more vendors, “You’re also introducing more exposure,” Atac-Barrett said. “There’s more touch points and opportunities for evil doers right to attack you at those endpoints.”

Despite this concern, 80% of businesses are choosing to deploy data protection solutions from two or more vendors, an increase in 20 percentage points since 2016, the report found.

The cost of disruptions is another issue for organizations. The average cost of downtime rose by 54% between 2018 and 2019, which resulted in an estimated cost of $810,018 in 2019, compared to $526,845 in 2018.

The cost of data loss also surged, growing to $1,013,075 in 2019 from $995,613 in 2018. For those using more than one data protection vendor, they experienced nearly two times higher downtime-related costs and five times higher data loss costs, the report found.

Turning to the cloud

To help protect data, many organizations are moving to a combination of cloud approaches when protecting workloads and deploying new business applications. Organizations most prefer public cloud/SaaS (43%), hybrid cloud (42%) and private cloud (39%).

Some 85% of companies surveyed said they believe it’s mandatory or extremely important for data protection providers to protect cloud-native applications.

As data continues moving toward edge environments, most respondents said they preferred cloud-based backups. Some 62% cited private cloud and 49% cited the public cloud as their go-to approach for managing and protecting information created in edge spaces.

Overall, Atac-Barrett said to “simplify, secure, future-proof, and make sure that you are putting in place solutions that are not only going to help you this year, but can scale and drive the performance and total cost of ownership you need down the road.”

For more, check out Data privacy: Top trends to watch in 2020 on TechRepublic.

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