By Johan Scheepers, Country Head, Commvault South Africa

As data moves to the cloud, data volumes continue to explode and become increasingly fragmented across devices, locations and service providers.

This exponential growth of data and information ushers in the increased burden of responsibility on organisations to strictly enforce data policies and governance, that must be adhered to in an environment of escalating global regulation.

According to the IDC, data is fast becoming ubiquitous and currently 55% of companies in the world are digital natives. This means that from the inception of their business, they use data, depend on data and cannot operate without the use and application of significant amounts of data. By 2029, this figure is expected to reach 75% globally and there are no signs of this trend slowing down. Moreover, by 2020, 80% of businesses are expected to create data management and maintenance capabilities to strengthen competition and become data-driven.

Gartner also reports that enterprise IT spending for cloud-based offerings will grow faster than traditional (non-cloud) IT offerings through 2022. By 2022, cloud shift across critical enterprise IT markets will grow to 28%, up from 19% in 2018. Organisations without a cloud-first strategy, where the cloud is prioritised and promoted, risk falling behind competitors.

As cloud adoption accelerates, enterprises are increasingly recognising that single provider cloud solutions are becoming less fit for purpose when addressing the data challenges of today, as well as future business requirements. A recent IDC study found that the global volume of data is predicted to increase from 33 Zettabytes (ZB), in 2018 to 175ZB by 2025, half of which will be stored in public cloud storage.

At the same time, the challenge of dealing with ever increasing data volumes grows, penalties for poor data collection and handling can no longer be taken lightly, and trust is key for those operating in a digital marketplace, where customers demand transparency and accountability.

Therefore, organisations cannot afford to ignore the power of activated data, especially as data responsibility is one of the central challenges that enterprises face today.

In a multi-cloud, hybrid environment, an organisation’s ability to protect data, move it around freely, recover it and have a single view of its data assets is critical to its future success. By activating your data, you will be able to know what’s there, what it’s used for, who owns it and whether you should keep it. These are questions that most organisations do not have the right answers to.

There are solutions that allow you to enrich your data index for unstructured data, as well as tell you whether you’re spending money the right way and that make sure your company is agile enough. In other words, are you paying for storage where capacity can, in fact, be reduced?

Furthermore, you need to understand what your risks are and what you are storing in terms of data content and whether you should be storing it in the first place. This obviously reduces risk, because if you don’t have data that you shouldn’t have in the first place, you can’t be held liable for it.

Activated data is about gaining insight, giving you foresight and giving you the ability to collect it and pass it to whoever needs it. Activating data will also allow enterprises to achieve a cost reduction, as you’ll be storing less data, or be able to store certain data at different locations.

Whether you’ve have already embarked on a cloud adoption journey, or whether you’re about to, working with the right partners is critical to achieving data activation that will not only reduce costs, but also decrease your risk in an increasingly regulated global environment.