Top Data Management Challenges and Opportunities IT Managers Will Face in 2022

From media companies to financial services organizations and even healthcare providers, businesses are generating, processing and storing more data than ever before. For most organizations, this means managing enterprise data has risen to the top of the agenda for businesses and IT managers, with many experimenting with new approaches and tactics.

So, are companies getting the most value from their data? Or are they crushed under the weight of a rapidly advancing avalanche of data? To find out, ESG Research and Quantum reached out to IT professionals (73%) and other business leaders (27%) in organizations with more than a petabyte (PB) of data capacity not structured solutions deployed in industries such as technology, financial services, manufacturing, and business services.

Unstructured data is growing at massive volumes and remains critical to business growth. According to the survey, 7 out of 10 management teams place their data at the heart of growth. But there are key emerging trends that will impact the success of capitalizing on this data in the future.

Based on the survey responses, here’s what was learned about the data management challenges and opportunities businesses will face in 2022.

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1. Data management and security implications of data proliferation

Not surprisingly, given the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and growing use of the cloud in the enterprise, most respondents said their organization’s data is highly distributed and mobile. In fact, 78% of respondents said their organization regularly moves data between cloud, on-premises, and edge environments. And in terms of storage infrastructure, most of the organizations surveyed use a hybrid cloud model, storing most data in the public cloud, with the rest remaining on-premises.

The resulting data proliferation can complicate enterprise data management. The vast majority (88%) of respondents said that highly distributed data was a barrier to implementing an end-to-end data strategy in their organization. Additionally, the regular movement of data between environments creates an ideal habitat for ransomware and cyberattacks, with 87% of respondents rating this as a significant concern.

Despite growing security concerns, only 6% of organizations have developed a viable strategy to respond to isolated ransomware. This low figure is particularly surprising, given that two in five respondents said their organization had been the victim of a ransomware attack in the past two years. And no less than 82% admitted to having paid a ransom (a median figure of $375,000) to regain control of their data.

Courtesy of Quantum

2. Find a storage solution that balances cost with performance

The increasing amount of data generated by organizations presents a serious challenge for IT managers. Today, IT managers struggle to find the right balance between extracting maximum business value from data and storing it securely and affordably. In fact, 76% of survey respondents from ESG Research and Quantum said they are under pressure to store data for longer periods of time than is currently possible and more cost-effectively.

Interestingly, 88% of respondents said keeping more data for longer would be a way to create greater business value in their organization. However, 38% also said they felt the complexity and volume of data produced made it difficult to understand which data was useful and which was not.

Additionally, more than half of respondents admitted to deleting data before it could create business value. Reasons cited included security and compliance issues (55%), cost (47%), and not being able to find a storage solution that offered the right balance of cost and performance (32%).

3. Opportunities for companies to improve their data management

It is clear that in most organizations there is significant room for improvement in data management. But with a different approach, organizations can better create value with their data.

Develop a data retention and destruction strategy

To do this, companies can implement a formalized data retention/destruction strategy. Currently, almost three-quarters of the organizations surveyed do not have one in place. Without a strategy, data is often retained unnecessarily, leading to spiraling storage expenses. Or the opposite of the spectrum, payload data is deleted without due process in order to save on storage costs.

Additionally, operating without a clear data retention/destruction strategy can unnecessarily complicate the data deletion process. When asked about the complications of deleting data, 67% of respondents cited confusing cross-functional and distributed processes, while 37% struggled to gain management approval.

Adopt new software tools

Companies can also improve their data management strategy by adopting new software tools designed for the data age. For example, 89% of respondents said that more automated storage tiering would bring them substantial savings. Meanwhile, 87% agreed they needed better technologies to quickly extract and access data for business decision making.

Store data longer

Last but not least, it is clear that on the whole, businesses would benefit from store their data longer. This has several advantages. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents said their organization would be better equipped to recover from a cyberattack if it could keep its data longer. Respondents also agreed that storing data longer would enable data monetization (60%) and improve overall business decision-making (58%).

Overall, concerns about data retention, storage costs, and data sprawl all point to a need for more comprehensive and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Forward-thinking IT managers should be open to evaluating alternatives to the public cloud, such as tape storage and object storage, to allow them to extract maximum value from their data.

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