Enterprise data has been closely linked with hardware for numerous years, but an exciting transformation is underway. Data stewards in larger corporations have long been obliged to concentrate on acquiring, overseeing, and upholding data storage infrastructure with hardware. Additionally, they were periodically required to purchase the newest equipment from vendors and to transfer their data to the most up-to-date gear to reap the benefits of the latest developments in terms of efficiency and security
Now, the era of the hardware businesses is gone, as modern data storage and protection capabilities, powered by the cloud, have rendered much of the once-crucial storage legacy technology obsolete. With advanced data services available through the cloud, organisations can forego investing in hardware and abandon infrastructure management in favour of data management. This change is widely recognised, with Gartner Research VP Julia Palmer, an expert on emerging infrastructure technologies and strategies, highlighting the shift in an October 2022 report.
Once your data is no longer tied to a specific facility, location, or hardware, new opportunities arise for leveraging it within your organisation. However, to do so, you must first shift your strategic perspectives on data management and delivery, focusing on these three key rules or requirements: Utilising the cloud for more flexibility and scalability, making data delivery a priority and focusing on securing data. Let’s explore these in more detail:
1. The time is now to transfer data to the cloud
The advantages of shifting your data to the cloud have been apparent for quite some time, as the economical benefits and infinite scalability of object storage have solidified cloud services as the infrastructure of the future. The majority of data storage is now done in the cloud, with over 50% of company data on the cloud, and the pandemic has only increased the urgency to adopt cloud services.
Utilising cloud services is no longer simply about cutting long-term expenses, minimising physical infrastructure, and enhancing demand scalability; it also enables more agility for your business and transforms the possibilities of data usage.
2. Prioritising data delivery is key to productivity and efficiency
The shift towards modern infrastructure has been ongoing for a while, but the emergence of remote and hybrid work has accelerated this change. Previously, users were stationed at desks near the hardware that stored and protected their data, but now they are spread out everywhere, working from home offices, cafes, client offices, co-working spaces, and more. Users don’t stay put, either, shifting from location to location, and they expect to be able quickly and easily access their data regardless of where they happen to be working.
This transformation in how we work means that applications must be running close to workers’ data, as regardless of industry, where a worker is located, or if they’re using a general or homegrown application, to ensure efficiency and productivity, apps must be close to data to deliver the expected level of performance. Traditional storage hardware and wide area networks are insufficient for this task because the software needs to reach across the wire to access that data. This is where the cloud has become a crucial delivery vehicle for data. Cloud computing allows for increased flexibility and the ability to deliver data to users and applications anywhere in the world.
3. Never compromise on data protection
Last but not least, data protection is crucial and data delivery should not be at the expense of it. Even before the shift to hybrid and remote working, which accelerated during the pandemic, ransomware was a growing threat. The UK government released new estimates in April 2023 that suggested there were around 2.39 million instances of cyber crime across all businesses, with 11% of organisations experiencing cyber crime in the last 12 months. And now there are even more chances for malicious hackers due to the expanded attack surface. This is as more people are retrieving data and systems from various locations, so it is imperative to focus on protecting data while contemplating how to support the flexibility of hybrid and remote work models.
Ignoring one and focusing on the other is not an option. For example, keeping employees in a few major locations for data protection will restrict productivity and harm your talent pool. Conversely, distributing data everywhere without a reliable ransomware recovery plan will put your business at risk of extended downtime or financial exposure. It’s become clear that a comprehensive approach to data protection is critical for businesses to ensure both business efficiency and security globally.
Reaping the benefits from a shift to data management
Even with the underlying risk of ransomware, this transition from managing infrastructure to managing data aligns perfectly with the new flexible way of working. Users can be in the office one day, then at home the next, and collaborating with colleagues, partners and others potentially all over the world. Data centres no longer need to be the centre of data, as data itself is now the centre.
A new approach to enterprise data is now a requirement for businesses, with shifting to the cloud, prioritising data delivery, and honing in on data protection key to successfully transitioning from managing infrastructure to managing data. Embracing this new methodology could also spark larger changes with exciting implications for enterprises as they choose what to do with this newly accessible data. For example, feeding it into new machine learning and artificial intelligence workloads to further drive innovation, workplace productivity and efficiency.