Due to the coronavirus, organizations around the globe have had to quickly transition their workforces from the traditional workplace to the digital office. To keep business operations running smoothly, many companies have had to add numerous personal devices and third parties to their existing networks. This, of course, comes with an increased level of risk associated with network vulnerabilities and breaches.

The stage is ripe for cybersecurity threats and other disruptions. Earlier this spring the FBI reported that its Cyber Division was receiving nearly 4,000 complaints each day related to cybersecurity issues. For comparison, the division was receiving about 1,000 daily calls prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dell Technologies’ Global Data Protection Index 2020 Snapshot takes a closer look at the disruptions plaguing organizations around the globe. The survey leverages insights from IT professionals worldwide from both private and public organizations.

“Vulnerabilities, if not addressed, can do lasting damage to a company. Businesses must become more resilient, such as implementing air-gapped solutions that are physically disconnected while protecting their data, as cyber criminals continue to seize new opportunities to cause disruptions,” said Nelson Hsu, director of data protection solutions marketing at Dell Technologies.

Big data brings big risk, big losses

On average, organizations manage more than 13.50 petabytes of data, increasing an astounding 831% since 2016, according to the Dell report. With increased amounts of data comes great responsibility. Overseeing a mountain of data is a high-stakes game, and expenses related to data loss can add up quickly. Dell estimates that costs associated with data loss are on average $1 million over the last year.

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Disruptions are costly

Disruptive events, such as cyberattacks, data loss, and system downtime appear to be the main threat to an organization’s data, according to the report. In 2019, 82% of organizations experienced a disruptive event, up from 76% in 2018. About 70% fear their organization will suffer a similar disruption within the next year. Costs associated with system downtime were more than $810,000 on average in 2019, a 54% increase from 2018.

Interestingly, using additional vendors for data protection only increases the risk of cyber incidents. Organizations using more than one of these vendors are twice as vulnerable to an incident preventing them from accessing their data. Unfortunately, 80% of companies now use data protection from at least two providers, a 20% increase since 2016.

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Digital transformation adds risks

More organizations are leveraging the latest emerging technologies ranging from artificial intelligence and machine learning to cloud edge technical infrastructure. While these applications come with enhanced business opportunities there are also risks to consider. Nearly three-in-four respondents felt as though these emerging technologies made data protection more complex. An additional 61% believe these technologies pose risks to current data protection efforts. The overwhelming majority of respondents believed it is “mandatory or extremely important for data protection providers to protect cloud-native applications.”

Data is the lifeblood of business and the key to an organization’s digital transformation,” said Beth Phalen, president, Dell Technologies Data Protection. “As we enter the next data decade, resilient, reliable, and modern data protection strategies are essential in helping businesses make smarter, faster decisions and combat the effects of costly disruptions.”