Data Protection: From Innovation Killer to Multicloud Enabler

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Blue Planet Studio

As businesses become increasingly tied to their cloud data, protecting it becomes a CDO’s main worry. 

In response, companies like Dell Technologies are moving fast to close the gaps and offer innovations that can help to protect digital assets. 

“Organizations need to adopt a data protection strategy that yields optimal returns on investments while giving them the flexibility, security, control and management of protecting their data from the edge to the core and to the cloud,” says Saravanan Krishnan, director for Data Protection Solutions in South Asia at Dell Technologies.

Rebooting data protection thinking

For decades, many tolerated data protection as a necessary roadblock to innovation. 

But unlike other IT designations, CDOs — both chief digital officers and chief data officers — see it differently. With so much of their goals tied to data, they cannot afford to have its integrity questioned. 

Data capital is shaping the data protection policies that CDOs are driving.

They also understand that not all data is created the same. Some data holds information that can impact decision-making or make emerging technologies like AI more effective, while others are for compliance.  

Dell Technologies calls it data capital, and it is shaping the data protection policies that CDOs are driving. 

“CDOs need to understand the value of data across the entire IT infrastructure to leverage the right data protection policies and resources for different workloads across the data protection continuum. Without doing so, organizations will not effectively unlock their data capital and protect it,” says Krishnan.

The multicloud complexity

Strategies designed for protecting data on-premises do not work well in multicloud environments. 

Yet, multicloud environments are becoming the new normal, with the IDC survey forecasting that over 70% of organizations globally are using multi-cloud environments. 

“Managing data protection processes and ensuring data integrity across multicloud environments require alignment across the whole organization with streamlined, defined data access and protection policies,” says Krishnan.

It is what DXC Technology faced when it wanted to assure data integrity across its 128 strategic delivery centers and client-facing data centers worldwide. With nearly 6,000 private- and public-sector customers in 70 countries, a single cloud data compromise event can bring its business to its knees.

As its customer numbers soared, DXC Technology needed a better way to back up and assure cloud data integrity in multiple cloud environments without compromising performance. 

“Whenever data integrity is compromised, we need to ensure that there is no data corruption throughout the data’s lifecycle." – Saravanan Krishnan, Dell Technologies 

So, vendors like Dell Technologies are offering a different approach that tightly integrates data protection management with virtualized platforms. It also automates protection processes, identifies issues early and eliminates potential human errors.

For example, Dell EMC Data Domain Protection Storage is a purpose-built backup appliance that secures data replication and ensures data integrity during the backup process via its patented Data Invulnerability Architecture. It checks data stored in the system for end-to-end verification and fault avoidance.

Zeroing in on integrity

These features matter when data integrity becomes suspect. 

“Whenever data integrity is compromised, we need to ensure that there is no data corruption throughout the data’s lifecycle. This could mean the replication of data between locations and the state of its recoverability from its backup source,” says Krishnan.  

It was one reason DXC Technologies chose Dell EMC Data Protection Solutions. It offered it fast, efficient and cost-effective data protection for its customers. It also works where customers are backing up to public clouds hosted by service providers or public clouds. 

“DXC improved its data protection service-level agreement (SLA) from 10 hours to just 20 mins while reducing infrastructure costs by 97%. DXC eventually gained greater agility which allowed it to move customer applications from AWS to its private cloud, and vice versa, while maintaining a consistent data protection operating environment,” observes Krishnan. 

For valuable data backup copies — the so-called “golden” copies — Dell Technologies goes a step further. 

The Dell EMC Cyber Recovery Solution uses air-gap technology to separate the backup copies physically. “This is the true last line of defence for data loss and corruption,” adds Krishnan.

Shifting landscape of data ownership

Data sovereignty is always a top CDO concern. 

The situation is more complex in Asia Pacific where different countries are inking new legislation that requires any data linked to PII (personally identifiable information) to be kept onshore. A few are even requiring all transaction data to be stored within the borders. 

Data sovereignty legislation requires continuous data audits to ensure compliance.

The reasons are obvious: with fraud, money laundering or data theft threatening livelihoods, it is a lot easier to investigate and prosecute if the data is available on servers within the country’s jurisdiction. 

But it is a nightmare for CDOs working in global and regional companies. It requires continuous data audits to ensure compliance. 

Dell EMC Data Protection eases some of this burden by giving customers the choice on where they want to store their data within their hybrid or multicloud environment. 

“For customers who face limitations when it comes to moving and protecting sensitive data in the public cloud, especially outside their resident countries, Dell EMC Data Protection offers business value assessments to help CDOs classify and segregate their sensitive and mission-critical data from their least sensitive or non mission-critical data,” says Krishnan.  

Krishnan does not see a single blueprint for such strategies, however. Instead, Dell Technologies takes a consultative approach. 

The company will suggest data protection strategies and hold workshops with the CDOs and various stakeholders “to eventually arrive at a cost-effective and risk-averse cloud operating model to ensure business needs around both data protection and data sovereignty are adequately addressed,” he adds.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Blue Planet Studio