In order to stay ahead of competition, South African businesses strive to deliver the best possible customer experiences.

By David McMurdo, country manager: South Africa at Veritas Technologies

But, at the same time, they also need to ensure they safeguard customer data against any compromise – especially in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, and as they strive to meet stringent data privacy regulations.

Organisations that have complex or fragmented IT environments will find this even more challenging.

But, by simplifying their IT environments to ensure they have actionable insights into data and applications that are both highly available and protected, organisations will have the opportunity to harness the true value of their data.

Data discord

Poorly managed data can have a huge detrimental impact on the efficiency, security, productivity and profitability of businesses.

In fact, data breaches cost South African organisations around R50-million on average in 2019. In addition, our own research revealed that 97% of global organisations have missed valuable opportunities as a result of ineffective data management.

Those who know and understand their data are better positioned to mitigate the risks associated with poor data management.

When an organisation is unable to rally its data to a cause or business objective, it is flying in the dark. It lacks crucial insight and cannot accurately predict outcomes or opportunities for disruption. It can’t be agile and, therefore, will not be successful in today’s fast-moving digital economy.

Yet, with poor data management posing financial risk to business, why can’t organisations get it right?

The causes are both strategic and operational. EMEA organisations, including those in South Africa, admit that over half (54%) of their data is dark, indicating that they have limited or no visibility over vast volumes of potentially business-critical data.

Public cloud and mobile environments often represent the weakest links in data security, with the majority of data across these environments likely to be left unclassified and potentially unprotected.

This data sits in disconnected silos, where it can’t be properly accessed or utilised by the business.

These silos have been given room to grow and are usually the result of specialised, non-integrated point solutions or storage repositories introduced across the organisation over many years.

As a result, businesses are contending with daily data challenges. They can struggle to monitor and keep track of databases and management systems.

In such a labyrinthine environment, it is easy for data to go dark – forgotten, uncategorised and open to abuse by bad actors.