How do you manage your data? Research shows that businesses produce 2.2 zettabytes of information each year. To put this into context, if this data was available as one page documents then you could fill the Empire State Building 1,287 times. Coping with such a huge amount of data doesn’t just call security processes into questions but also requires organisations to put the correct procedures in place so that data can be tiered for importance and access can be regulated.
Managing data effectively is a challenge every business has to face but getting it right can pay dividends for your business so here are a few steps organisations can take towards effective data management.
Consider multiple platforms: Information is no longer within the four walls of a company. Cloud-based solutions are being used – whether officially or otherwise. This means data protection is not solely concerned with device protection but the data itself needs to be secure – encryption technology is key.
Organisations must prioritise their data: Which data would you feel comfortable giving to your competitor? Is your data suitable for the public domain? These are worthwhile considerations. The consequences of lost data may be disastrous for your organisation, so make sure you can identify and protect what matters.
Deduplication and archiving: This allows organisations to save vital storage space, to speed up network backups and to efficiently target protection on the data that matters. Frequently review the data held on your servers to understand its relevancy and conduct cleanups to remove any duplicated data. Some appliances now do this process automatically.
Value your business: Now that information forms 35% of an organisation’s value it is important that every organisation has a data policy which can be supported across physical, virtual and cloud environments. These are commonly known as data retention policies and are important for managing data across an organisation. Does your organisation have a policy in place?
Technology is constantly evolving: As the amount of data we are storing increases each day, it is critical to make sure that your data centre is prepared for the future. This means ensuring expandable storage space and up-to-date security. Be prepared by having data plan in place ahead of time.
Organisations can no longer rely on data to run their businesses without considering its importance, security and how it should be accessed safely. We believe successful information management is critical for all as it is, now more than ever, a crucial part of running a business. We all need to put the “I” back in “IT”.
Statistics taken from Symantec’s ‘State of Information’ Report.
I was thinking over the weekend… It’s interesting that all of the major IT vendors are returning to the old model of selling pre-integrated technology stacks to sell their wares.. It seems that the days of having “one great product” that can drive revenue (of the size that the large vendors need) are numbered and, as a result, the big guns are going back to positioning themselves as “one stop shops” for technology.
IBM (who never really moved away from the old model !) are now positioning themselves as “chip to command-line” suppliers, leaning heavily on Linux and virtualization enablers
Oracle have obviously acquired Sun to provide an integrated stack
Cisco/EMC/Vmware have partnered (with themselves !?) to create VCE to aggressively go after “Cloud”
Microsoft and HP are partnering to enable future Hyper V, .NET installations and the Azure cloud platform.
Let’s hope that, this time around, customers will actually benefit from this dynamic change. Also, it is clear the Symantec needs to show it has a very strong proposition in order to stay at the table in large data centre transformations.
An interesting report was published this week by Information Age and concerning IT strategies in 2009 (a hard year for most !). The report found that most effective IT strategies of the year to be:
1. Support mobile working
2. Server virtualisation
3. Unified IP network architectures
Certainly good news for the Hypervisors..
The least effective strategies were deemed to be:
1. Reduce IT staff costs
2. Outsourcing the IT organisation
3. Offshore development
That should raise a few eyebrows !
Over the past few weeks I have been hosting “Symantec Technical Strategy 100” workshops in the UK. The workshops are designed to bring 100 senior technical design authorities from our customer-base together to discuss all things “VERITAS”.
Fifteen companies have been involved so far and, I must say, that it has been engaging and rewarding to see the users and designers of our storage and availability management product coming together and speaking so openly and candidly about this area of their technology stack. There has been a real sense of “community” in the sessions and we now hope to run further workshops, create a secure portal for community discussion and start a series of webcasts to ensure that our most important customers fully understand our storage and availability strategy.
If you think that you would like to represent your company within the community and you are already users of the VERITAS portfolio, please get in touch with me at email@example.com. Now… off to the continent to gather more community members..!
I’m at the Storage Expo show at Olympia, London.. There is good attendance this year (and it’s not just vendors and analysts!). A couple of observations so far:
First the hardware vendors are getting a pretty tough time of it. The messaging from most people here is around the fact that storage infrastructure desperately needs to be optimised and consolidated.. There seems to be a general theme of “the hardware vendors have been over-selling for years” and that the right thing to do at this point is to step back and re-assess the need to buy more expensive disk.
Secondly, business is getting done here.. Last year was an opportunity for the storage community to look for new job opportunties. This year sees customers researching solutions to their IT infrastructure problems.
I hear that this year is the last for this particular show.. Shame, it’s finally doing what it’s supposed to.
Finding ways to substantially cut costs and complexity in an active, vibrant Data Centre is not easy. CIO’s have spent years trimming here and there and, to many, further demand from the business to reduce CAPEX/OPEX can seem like asking the impossible.
Nonetheless, significant additional reductions and effeciencies can be made possible where companies take a broader look at the way IT serves the business in a broad context. Key to this approach is the bringing together of “IT” and “Business” people in a combined effort to rationalise applications, processes, core infrastructure and operations. I have recently facilitated “IT/Business Alignment” workshops, forced both sides of the house to work together productively and have been amazed as to the opportunities that drop out of this exercise. Well managed and facilitated workshops are a great way from stakeholders to express ideas, test theory and find “1+1=3″ type opportunities.
The days of the IT organisation behaving as “custodian of technology” need to be brought to a close and the CIO needs to be positioned and fully recognised as a business partner by their peers in the organisation.
Since its appearance in late – 2008, the Conficker/Downadup worm has become one of the most wide-spread threats to hit the Internet for a number of years. OK it got a huge amount of hype and media interest so that it can be easily overlooked that it is a complex piece of malicious code. This threat was able to jump certain network hurdles, hide in the shadows of network traffic, and defend itself against attack with a deftness not often seen in today’s threat landscape. Yet it contained few previously unseen features. What set it apart was the sheer number of tricks it held up its sleeve.
In fact if it wasn’t for the impact it has had on millions of PCs around the world, it would be a facinating case study into modern security threats and it is something which has had security analysts around the world studing its methods and tricks.
The folks at the Symantec Response team have just updated their white paper on Conficker – the Downadup Codex - and it’s a great read for those wanting to get to the bottom of this complex threat.
I had to laugh when I read the story about the email ‘out of office’ message ending up on a sign. But, it also indicates an interesting problem – we get email all day, everyday and presume that that the replies we get are correct… without a second thought. As the numbers go up, so our ability to respond to them properly or adequately goes down.
Dr. Herbert Simon, a Nobel Prize Winner, said it best, “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”
Email is an essential business tool and provides a lifeblood of information, but we need to continuously revisit how we achieve quality rather than quantity.
Gartner has now recommended that employees buy their own laptops. There is nothing new in the concept, otherwise known as consumerisation. The idea is simple, employees buy and use their own hardware for work. In the US, it was the iPhone which has driven the move to consumerisation, lots of people rushed out to buy one and then asked their IT departments to support them. Here in lies one of the issues – support. The other one being licensing.
From a licensing perspective, who owns the software? Is it the company or the individual, what happens when they leave? From a support perspective what happens when a machine goes wrong? If there is a standard build, with a standard machine, then it is simple to fix or just to deliver a replacement. If it is down to the employee to get it fixed, do they do that on their own time? What happens if they don’t – laptops are an essential business tool if not available then productivity can drop to zero! What happens with backup? Who is responsible for doing it and how is it done? What about data loss prevention? If the machine has company information on it, what happens to it when the employee leaves?
There have been a number of successful schemes, but it is still early days. Before rushing in to save costs companies need to work through the issues and ensure that their corporate policies cover all eventualities.