Dealing with digital insecurity

Recall the times when you heard about or experienced a data breach in Singapore – be it government agencies or privately held companies – what was your first reaction? Was it: “It won’t affect me” or “Oh dear, what will happen to my information?”.

Many of us may not immediately think that such information is valuable, but the truth is criminals can use personal information to commit targeted attacks towards individuals, resulting in identity theft and fraud.

In today’s technology-driven landscape, data has become the world’s digital building block. In Singapore, data is supporting plans to transform the country into a cashless society with customers now able to pay for food at hawker centres using just their mobile phones. Cash transactions have also been simplified, with many residents in Singapore choosing to use e-payment options for convenience. In short, data is now the currency for the digital economy.

Singapore has an estimated 4.92 million active Internet users, equivalent to 84 percent of the total population, making it one of the most data-penetrated countries in the world. In fact, organisations in Singapore on an average managed a whopping 9.15PB (petabytes) of data in 2018, representing an explosive growth of 458 percent since the 1.64 PB managed in 2016.

As organisations continue to harness data to drive experiences for individuals in the digital economy, there are a few implications that leaders will have to bear in mind, especially around data security.

Enhancing data protection and agility with cloud

A robust data protection strategy is one of the cornerstones of long term business success. A solution that can protect a business today must also be balanced with the ability to scale and flex for future needs. Dell EMC Global Data Protection Index (GDPI) shows that 63 percent of organisations in Singapore acknowledge the importance of scalablity for data protection solutions in a public cloud environment and 41 percent are using cloud-enabled, on-premises data protection software to protect their public cloud workloads.

In Singapore, many companies are now leveraging the public cloud as part of their data protection infrastructure. The cloud potentially makes data protection more cost-effective in general as it involves minimal computing resources and only spins up resources for a data recovery event. Minimal backup infrastructure is needed in the cloud.

Organisations can consider partnering with technology vendors that can provide a software-defined, multi-dimensional and multi-cloud approach to data protection. This will allow IT teams to automate and orchestrate data protection seamlessly, proactively identify issues early and take away potential human errors.

Data protection strategies for organisational profitability and long-term data health

In a connected world, downtime as well as data loss has a huge impact and can have a crippling effect on businesses. According to the GDPI report, organisations Singapore on an average suffered 2.31TB of data loss, worth at least S$1.8 million (US$1,376,970) in 2018.

With close to 9 in 10 organisations in Singapore (86 percent) having experienced disruption in activities due to data breaches in 2018, and close to 4 in 10 (37 percent) having experienced irreparable data loss – nearly double the number (19 percent) in 2016 – data and file back-up is more important than ever, with companies relying on both physical devices and the cloud.

Emerging technologies are driving data-intensive workloads

Through various Smart Nation initiatives and the introduction of 5G networks, data will place an increasingly heavy load on the network from the edge to the cloud. Compounding this growth in data is the adoption of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies.

This explosion of data comes with the added issue that it must all be moved, stored, analysed, and most importantly, protected. In short, larger amounts of data leads to more complex IT systems, which can lead to increased cybersecurity risks that must be addressed.

Dell Technologies’ data protection research shows that 39 percent of organisations in Singapore are struggling to find suitable data protection solutions for new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. With organisations already making big investments in new technologies, the race is on to ensure that their IT infrastructure can be modernised to support and protect these new workloads. 

Data is the rocket fuel that will drive the next level of innovation. Our ability to harness, store, share, analyse and most importantly, protect this data, will be the difference between companies leading their respective industries and those who fall behind the curve.