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Data explosion poses challenge for organisations in Asia Pacific & Japan as over 9 in 10 face data protection barriers

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Organisations in Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) are managing close to five times the amount of data they did in 2016, and yet only 13 percent of businesses are data protection “leaders”, according to the third Dell EMC Global Data Protection Index in collaboration with Vanson Bourne.

The research, which surveyed 2,200 IT decision makers from both public and private organisations with 250+ employees across 18 countries and 11 industries, reveals the state of data protection amongst organisations in Australia, Japan, South Korea, India, and Singapore, amidst the current explosive growth of data in APJ. Specifically, the Index reported a large increase in the average amount of data managed – from 1.68 petabytes (PB) in 2016 to 8.13PB in 2018 – and a corresponding increase in business awareness of the value of data. In fact, 90 percent of respondents see the potential value of data and 35 percent are already monetising their data.

However, the Index also found that despite an impressive jump in data protection “leaders” (from 1 percent to 13 percent) and “adopters” (from 8 percent to 53 percent) since 2016, most respondents continue to face challenges in implementing the right data protection measures to address the rapid growth of data and the rising adoption of emerging technologies.

The State of Data Protection in APJ

Disruptions and data loss incidents are occurring more frequently than the global average amongst APJ organisations, underscoring the urgent need for data management and protection in the region. 80 percent of APJ respondents have experienced some type of disruption over the last 12 months compared to the global average of 76 percent, amongst which 32 percent were unable to recover data using their existing data protection solution. The number of incidents is notably higher amongst Singapore-based organisations, where 86 percent were affected by disruptions and 37 percent suffered from permanent data loss.

Although unplanned system downtime is more prevalent, data loss has proven to be far more expensive for APJ organisations. On average, 20 hours of downtime in the last 12 months cost businesses US$494,869, whilst companies that lost data, lost 2.04 terabytes on average with a price tag of US$939,703. Additionally, the likelihood of disruption has almost doubled over time for the affected companies in several areas. The Index revealed a sharp increase in the number of reported delays in time-to-market, loss of customers, and loss of repeat business, as key consequences of data loss and system downtime in 2018, compared to 2016.

The good news is 9 in 10 businesses recognise the value of data, and 88 percent in APJ – 95 percent in Singapore – said they take data protection more seriously for categories of data that have the greatest monetary value. However, the state of data protection in APJ is still in its infancy. More than 6 in 10 (64 percent) have yet to monetise data assets, and the majority of APJ organisations are still categorised as “laggards”, “evaluators” or “adopters” in terms of their data protection maturity, as opposed to being “leaders”.

“Today, much of an organisation’s business value is inextricably linked to data. In many respects, APJ companies are in a unique position to become truly data-driven, given the sheer volume of data this region produces,” said Alex Lei, Vice President, Data Protection Solutions, Dell EMC, APJ. “The critical building block for success is a robust data protection framework which is essential to gaining customers’ trust.”

Data Growth and Emerging Technologies Pose Challenges

APJ businesses are facing challenges in selecting the right infrastructure and measures in the face of rapid data growth and emerging technologies adoption. The majority (94 percent) of respondents encounter at least one barrier in relation to data protection.

The top three challenges in APJ include:

  1. The inability to keep track of and protect all data because of growth of DevOps and cloud development – 46 percent agree. This is also the top barrier for Singapore-based respondents.
  2. The complexity of configuring and operating data protection software/hardware – 45.6 percent agree.
  3. The lack of data protection solutions for emerging technologies – 43.4 percent agree.

For those struggling to find adequate data protection solutions for newer technologies, more than half (54 percent) said they could not find suitable data protection solutions for artificial intelligence and machine learning data, followed by cloud-native applications (49 percent) and IoT (40 percent).

The challenges presented by emerging technologies and the rapid growth of data in APJ are just beginning to take shape. As such, only 18 percentbelieve current data protection solutions will be able to meet all future business challenges.

“Emerging technologies, powered by data, are beginning to yield very real business benefits for this region. Organisations looking to accelerate their digital transformation must look to enable and protect their data as it moves across their network – from the edge, to their core business, right through to their cloud. Companies’ data strategies are becoming increasingly more complex as they work to meet the data management, governance, security and accessibility requirements across a multi-cloud infrastructure, off and on premise, private and public cloud. Challenges aside, the insights and data monetisation opportunities are infinite for organisations ready to transform,” added Mr Lei.  

Cloud Is Changing the Data Protection Landscape

Cloud technology is becoming an integral component of the data protection landscape in APJ. According to the Index, public cloud use has increased from 27 percent of the total IT environment in respondents’ organisations in 2016 to 41 percent in 2018. Nearly all (99 percent) organisations using public cloud are leveraging it as part of their data protection strategy. The top use cases for data protection within the public cloud include backup/snapshot services to protect workloads and cloud-enabled data protection software.

The findings also suggest that protecting the growing amount of data in the cloud is a concern area for business leaders. More than 6 in 10 – in both APJ and Singapore – considered scalability options of data protection solutions important in anticipation of the inevitable boom of cloud workloads.

Regulation Is Low on the Priority List

The Index also reveals that compliance to data privacy regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is not amongst the key concerns for APJ organisations. Regulation compliance was ranked sixth – ranked fourth in Singapore – in the list of top data protection challenges by only 36 percent of respondents.

This sentiment is beginning to translate into reality as only around one-third (34 percent) felt very confident that their organisation’s current data protection infrastructure and processes are compliant with regional regulations.