Banking on your Data?
“Is data the new currency?” the answer is yes to those who can gather and subsequently harness that data. Data is coming in thick and fast, it’s being collected from everywhere – mobile devices, websites, applications, points of sale, Wi-Fi hot spots and even satellites. This explosive growth in data is coupled with the realisation that the value data holds today is a magnitude greater than it held in the past, with market insight or productivity gains through Big Data solutions. Surdack’s book, “Data Crush” sums it up nicely; “with this onslaught of data comes tremendous opportunity”.
But, like currency, it also brings something else; tremendous responsibility. Something banks have learned the hard way over the years. So this raises two important questions “do I meet regulatory requirements?” and “do I value my data?”
Compliancy requires an understanding of the acts that apply to your business, both local and abroad. This will include retention and destruction requirements for everything that is a record. Beyond database, email and documents, that may include CRM, survey results, website tracking and so on, in fact data could exist electronically almost anywhere on your network; email, databases or even sitting on laptops. With personal data, you have a requirement to protect its privacy. A breach of security could result in hefty fines, personal liability and the brand crushing impact of having to advise those that have been affected by the breach. With the latest amendments to the privacy act everyone holding data of this nature has an obligation to “check the money is locked away”.
Then, the slightly more intangible “business value” of data. This often comes up when planning backup or DR policies and in my experience customer’s often realise they are under invested. This can caused a disconnect between the technical, business side and the associated budget. The impact can be a level of data loss and availability. That includes lost revenue for most companies. The “value” is the actual opportunity cost incurred in not having that data online and is rarely understood until it is lost.
So how do you lock up your data? Like banking, it’s more than just about putting the money in a vault. The answer is an end to end review of multiple aspects of IT and business process. The remediation can be as much cultural as it is technological. Here are a few things every business should be doing on a regular basis.
Audit Security: Understand who can get in and what can get out.
Evaluate your data: What’s it really worth? Even a simple risk analysis can point to where you are under invested.
Educate everyone: Because everyone handles data, they all need to understand how to handle it.
Test existing business continuity: From backups to disaster recovery. Is it working as it should or could?
Fix Process first: Without solid process any technology investment is wasted.
Ready your infrastructure: Design to meet your business needs and design for tomorrow not just for today.
Go beyond borders: You expect everything you have in the cloud or being managed is fine? Don’t expect it – validate it.