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Managed services and ongoing support are essential elements of effective data management

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The constant evolution of technology and rapid pace of digitalisation means data has become a critical business asset. Without it, many organisations are left unable to function – a fact that cybercriminals are only too willing to exploit – but more than that, the value of data can only be effectively realised if it is well managed. Businesses rely on data, and a growing body of legislation means that it needs to be protected for compliance purposes as well. However, both data security and data management are specialist skills and ones that have become synonymous. Making use of managed services and ongoing support as offered by a Data Management-as-a-Service (DMaaS) solution ensures businesses have access to data management services and support, on demand and according to their own unique needs and requirements.

You can’t secure data without managing it
Data protection has become increasingly legislated, with new regulations being put into place including the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) in South Africa specifically. However, while the intention behind these laws is sound, it can create a mentality of simply procuring solutions for the sake of compliance, rather than addressing the problem.

“Companies will often buy a backup product for the sake of ticking a box, but where the magic happens and where the value lies is when you work with a specialist provider that understands how to manage and protect data. Data management is not the same as data security, but they do need to work together, otherwise there is a significant risk of creating loopholes and vulnerabilities from data that is not well understood,” says Hemant Harie, Group Chief Technology Officer at Gabsten Technologies.

“Data security is there to prevent breaches or detect anomalies, while backup creates a copy of data to recover from, in case it gets damaged or goes missing. You cannot have one without the other, and if they do not talk to each other, there is a serious risk that backup data gets infected by malware as well as production data, which means that any restore copy will also be infected and will not solve the problem,” adds Iniel Dreyer, Managing Director of Data Management Professionals South Africa.

You can’t set and forget
Selling data has become an extremely lucrative business, which means that ransomware is only part of the problem. The reality is that once data has been exfiltrated, regaining access to that data is not the end of the road. Increasingly, cyber criminals are perpetrating double and triple extortion, threatening businesses by selling the data, which can often result in identity theft. Once systems are infected, the damage has already been done.

“Being able to recover is important, but the consequences are so much greater now. Data security is no longer a once off implementation, it is a constant evolution and it needs to be monitored and kept up to date. Tools to detect data leaks and continuous monitoring have become essential, but these are not skills many businesses have in house, nor are they readily available in the market. That is where managed services and support come in,” says Harie.

You can use managed services to solve these challenges
Traditional backups and archiving no longer meet the needs of today, and having a copy of data stored in the cloud is not enough. Ransomware can and does attack both backup and production data, which means that immutable, air gapped copies have become more important than ever. In addition, as more and more elements of business move toward the ‘as-a-Service’ model, it makes sense for data management and security to do the same. Leveraging DMaaS means that your ‘business as-a-Service’ has the best data management and protection solutions for the current environment.

“Managed services and support give you the complete solution, from best of breed technologies to a team of skilled people who understand how the system works and keep up with the evolution of the data landscape. You need the immutable copy of data, you need the air gapping, and you need to work with the right experts in the field who can advise you best on how to make the right decisions for your specific business. This is a niche market with niche skill sets, and it is mission critical for business, so it’s essential to get it right,” concludes Dreyer.

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