Data silos: Break them before they break you

Walking the streets of Singapore fresh out of a nationwide lockdown, I am made aware of the otherwise lost elements that make up the city’s architecture, infrastructure, and people. With a new lens, I observed things that would’ve otherwise gone unnoticed. From streetlamps that line the grid, to the careful process by our city’s maintenance teams to connect bus shelters, covered linkways, cycling tracks and footpaths – we realize together, the care of a city is complex. 

Your business is not so different from a city. Like a modern city state, a business comprises numerous interdependent parts and people, including multifaceted IT environments to help drive the whole.  

Turning the lights on with data visibility

Today, IT leaders have access to an abundance of products providing thoughtfully designed features and supporting integrations. Correspondingly, we are also positioned to manage and protect complex data and infrastructure in the cloud or on-premises through unique, intelligent ways.

The volume of data the average organization gathers continues to grow exponentially, multiplying the challenges of classifying, cataloging, and managing data while making data accessible on demand. To add to the complexity, the infrastructure across which data is dispersed is often siloed, making it hard to locate important information or identify inactive or unnecessary data.

Given these factors, it’s not surprising many organizations lack visibility into business-critical data. According to the Veritas Value of Data study, over half of the data (52 percent) is unclassified or untagged. Data in the public cloud and mobile environments is especially vulnerable. Only 5 percent of companies have classified all the data in their public cloud, and just 6 percent have done likewise for all their organization’s mobile device data.

To gain enhanced data visibility, organizations need a way to access information about their data. For example, a solution that supports a comprehensive classification library can catalog and locate the data within your infrastructure so you can easily access and manage it.

The driving force behind this accelerated change is backed by an understanding of the company’s lifeblood: their data. However, businesses can find themselves impeded, even with all the best tech and intentions, if they have not defined and delivered an appropriate strategy regarding the proper handling and understanding of their data.

Tearing down old silo walls

Data means different things to different people. For the marketing team, it can mean personal information gathered via a device or point of sale that creates an opportunity to better understand a customer. For accounting, it’s probably a number on a balance sheet that’s generated by incoming and outgoing finances. To sales, it’s most likely a moving target that’s broken down by cost-per-lead, or similar metrics. For IT, it’s thousands – if not millions – of bits and bytes that they must build a fortress around. In short – there’s a lot at stake.

The first step in protecting your organization’s data is knowing what data you have and where it’s stored – from edge, to core, to cloud. Here are three considerations to keep in one’s arsenal:

What are the types of data in my organization?

  • Being aware of the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data
  • Evaluate the control over data in motion, data at rest and data in use
  • Assess both structured and unstructured data types

How is data handled?

  • Provide data discovery, classification, governance, and monitoring capabilities for all sensitive data
  • Apply access control, encryption, and obfuscation technologies where appropriate
  • Review key management, backup, and data destruction

Who has access to data?

  • Data owners, custodians, senior management, and employees within the organization
  • Third parties such as partners and customers outside of the organization
  • Regulators and auditors who govern the data ecosystem

Using multiple point data protection solutions creates silos and restricts your ability to automate horizontally across physical, virtual, and cloud workloads. Consolidating backup into a single, integrated platform that enables truly automated recovery puts your organization on the path toward simplification – no matter how much data you have or where it’s dispersed. Just like how our nation state’s urban development team has shaped and connected the city into what it is today.

The potential is there in your siloes. Go break them.