data management

With IDC predicting that the collective sum of the world’s data will grow from 33 zettabytes (ZB) in 2018 to a 175ZB by 2025, it is more important than ever for organisations to ensure that their information is managed appropriately. However, data management is a term that is often used loosely in organisations.

What many companies fail to understand is that data management encompasses a very broad range of disciplines which include policies, regulations and standards to manage, maintain and leverage data for making better business decisions.

In addition to this, data management is also a term ascribed to solutions and services that are used to protect, store, backup and archive information which ultimately assists in adhering to these often-strict guidelines.

Hemant Harie, managing director at Gabsten Technologies, says: “It is always important for organisations to ensure that they implement the right infrastructure and software so that their data is securely stored, protected and can be retrieved easily. Once this is done, only then can you apply analytics to gain intelligence and essentially ‘activate’ your data.”

Just as much as accessibility plays a part in data management, data governance is also key.

Data governance is a collection of practices and processes, which assists in guaranteeing the formal management of data assets within an organisation. It often includes other concepts such as data stewardship, data quality, and others to help an enterprise gain better control over its data assets, including methods, technologies and behaviours.

Gary Allemann, managing director at Master Data Management, adds: “Data governance is vital for a business to sort through and understand what data it has, where it resides, create a strategy around it and carry it out successfully. One of the biggest challenges with data governance, though, is a lack of understanding of what it comprises. Many organisations confuse governance with the tactical tools and tasks it prescribes to manage data.”

Managing data in an operational environment

There are many different solutions that assist with managing data in an operational environment and this is where the main focus is on infrastructure and the overlapping software that protects this data. Essentially, this focuses on how information is moved to secondary storage for duplication, replication and archiving purposes – thereby ensuring accessibility.

Harie explains, “Solutions that protect, back-up and store information can only prove valuable if those who implement the solution are provided with the right instructions or direction in order to ensure regulatory compliance. Here, the business must inform the IT department regarding what data can be kept and what data should be removed.”

This is because not all data is equal and organisations need to ensure they either archive, put it into secondary storage or delete the information.

Allemann continues: “Data is a model of the real-world business stored in a digital format and can be used interchangeably. However, whether it is structured or unstructured, one can agree that not all data is of equal value. This is where a business needs to assess the data, how it can be used and determine it’s worth.”

With the increase of IoT devices, the world is going from storing terabytes to petabytes. As a result, organisations need to stay ahead of the curve by ensuring data is kept for the amount of time when it is relevant and delivers value, and then moved once it is no longer of value – and never again will be. However, this can only be done through effective data management.

Here, Allemann says a framework is essential to ensure the success of master data management, and that data governance provides that framework. Governance enables the business to prioritise, making data management more efficient, effective and, therefore, more cost-effective, too.

Furthermore, on-boarding a managed service provider makes sense particularly when it comes to data management, backup and disaster recovery tasks. A data loss would be disastrous for any organisation, which makes information management, backup and disaster recovery the ideal task to outsource to the experts.

“This holistic approach to managing the organisations data throughout its entire life cycle therefore ensures business continuity and prosperity,” Harie concludes.