Opinion Piece: Three critical steps to gain control of your data

By Kate Mollett, Regional Director at Commvault Africa

Data has never been more important, and as digitalisation has accelerated, businesses are generating more of it than ever before. In an increasingly digital world, where remote working has become a permanent fixture for many organisations, access to data is critical. Furthermore, what businesses do with their data can be a source of significant competitive advantage. There is also the ongoing challenge of complying with a growing body of data privacy legislation, with the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) in full effect in South Africa from the 1st of July 2021. The differentiating factor to addressing these challenges is to gain control of data so that it can be managed for compliance purposes and analysed for insight.

Make data work for your business

The majority of our work generates data today, from people sending emails to sensors at the edge of the Internet of Things (IoT). In the past, to prevent non-compliance, organisations simply kept everything, but given the increased volume, variety, and velocity of data in the current and future world, this is neither feasible nor realistic. It is actively impossible to keep all data and analyse it for insight, and what often happens is that businesses miss opportunities because they are drowning in the data. It’s a case of flooded with information but lacking in actionable insight.

Rather than simply gathering data for the sake of having data, it is imperative to align it with the business, and have a strategy in place for what is gathered, processed, and maintained. Not only will this enable more effective analytics, but it will also help to mitigate compliance risk. If data is supportive of business initiatives, it can be used for good, and next-generation tools such as machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be applied to deliver better understanding and enhanced predictive capabilities.

The right tools for the job

Manual data processes are problematic in today’s environment. Not only are they inefficient and prone to error, but these issues are also magnified when data is generated at scale. It is essential for businesses to invest in technology that enables them to collect more robust and detailed data, so that a complete picture of data can be gained.

Having a consolidated version of the truth of all data and a clear view into all sources, from a single pane of glass, helps businesses to view all the angles from one place. Analysis is therefore more accurate, insights more applicable, and data integrity more trustworthy. The right tools for the job are key in controlling rampant data growth and unlocking data’s true value.

Protect your most valuable assets

Data is undeniably the most important business asset today. However, not all data is equal, not all of it has value beyond its original purpose, and not all of it can be analysed to deliver intelligence. Therefore, it is also important to have an intelligent approach to data security.

Businesses need to industry their critical data, including information that falls within PoPIA and needs to be protected for compliance purposes, to maximise security strategy and the value of information. The right data management platform will complement existing security solutions such as the perimeter defence strategy, ensuring that practices are in line with business, compliance, and data requirements. 

Part of the whole

To stay ahead through digital transformation initiatives and a technology landscape that is constantly evolving, the data environment needs to be optimised. This supports numerous business goals, from moving into the cloud to optimising storage footprint, improving operations, supporting compliance ventures, or protecting against security threats. Gaining control of data is imperative, and the right platform and technology partner are vital in assisting enterprises to gain this control and maximise the value of data.

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