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Organizations hold an average of 569 per cent more data than two years ago, and are increasingly aware of its value, according to the recently released Dell EMC Global Data Protection Index. The study, by Dell Technologies and Vanson Bourne, surveyed 2,200 IT decision makers across 18 countries on the maturity of their data protection strategies, how they value data, and assessed the relative preparedness of their businesses.

Globally, the surveyed companies each held, on average, 9.7 petabytes (PB) of data. Canadian companies reported an average of 11.45 PB, up from 1.1 PB in 2016.

Ruya Atac-Barrett, VP Marketing for Data Protection at Dell EMC, explained that digital transformation is driving a staggering increase in data volumes. As a result, businesses are viewing data as having more value and creating a competitive advantage.

“Customers are trying to better leverage this data, they don’t just want it sitting there taking up resources,” explained Atac-Barret, “They really are trying to unlock data as a new value driver for their business, in combination with human capital, intellectual property, and operations infrastructure.”

The new value of data, according to Atac-Barret, leads to data disruption becoming associated with higher costs. A third of respondents reported data loss within a twelve month period, at an average cost of USD $1,182,000. In addition to dealing with increasing data volumes, organizations are struggling with cloud adoption, the dispersion of data across cloud environments, and regulatory changes.

According to the study, “while Canadian businesses scored above average with 97 per cent recognizing the value of data protection, they are, on average, less confident in their data protection infrastructure and ability to meet future challenges. The study reveals a wide gap between Canadian businesses’ understanding of the importance of data protection, and the maturity of their own strategies.”

Globally, 76 per cent of respondents reported some type of disruption within a twelve month period, and 27 per cent were unable to recover data using their existing data protection solution. Canadian businesses reported slightly less disruption with 72 per cent in the same twelve months, with 16 per cent unrecoverable.

On the topic of confidence, the study found that 11 per cent of Canadian businesses (compared to 16 per cent globally) “believe their current data protection solutions will be able to meet all future business challenges,” and only 34 per cent “feel confident that their organization’s current data protection infrastructure and processes are compliant with regional regulations.”

The majority of Canadian IT professionals reported at least one data protection challenge. The top three were: the lack of data protection solutions for emerging technologies, ensuring compliance with regulations such as GDPR, and the ballooning costs of storing and managing backups.

Each company was categorized based on criteria such as recovery times, confidence in their infrastructure, modern data protection systems, and off-site data replication. Globally, 2 per cent of companies were laggards, 29 per cent evaluators, 57 per cent adopters, and 12 per cent leaders.

Canadian companies scored slightly better on the curve: 0 per cent laggards, 26 per cent evaluators, 64 per cent adopters, and 10 per cent leaders.

The study sheds interesting light on the explosive growth in data volumes, the growing value of data to businesses, and the challenge of data protection. The fact that over a quarter of businesses were unable to recover data speaks volumes to the need for more effective data protection strategies.

Have a security question you’d like answered in a future column? Eric would love to hear from you.

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