Cloud-based data management and potential roadblocks in 2023

Andy Ng, Vice President and Managing Director for Asia South and Pacific Region at Veritas Technologies

EITN: What are the upcoming trends in cloud-based data management?

Andy: The adoption of cloud shows no signs of slowing down, driven by the promises of operational flexibility, higher resiliency, and lower costs. As organisations continue with their digital transformation strategies, they will be looking for new ways to make cloud solutions more efficient and cost effective.

Following post-pandemic data storage surge, businesses are at risk of facing hefty bills. CEOs and boards will increasingly demand transparency surrounding the ROI of cloud spend. This will put pressure on IT leaders to justify their cloud budgets while identifying new ways to reduce data volumes. This could lead to more effective data storage and cloud management strategies, such as deduplication techniques to ensure reduced storage consumption.

The allure of multi-cloud adoption is apparent for organisations looking to accelerate their cloud deployment. However, interoperability continues to be a challenge for data managers – it is  expensive to move data from cloud to cloud, and when clouds don’t work together seamlessly, this creates silos within an organisation and can introduce major security vulnerabilities.

To help mitigate the challenges and enhance cloud interoperability through data portability, businesses will start to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in autonomous cloud-based data management. Cross-cloud mobility will become more mainstream in 2023 and beyond as organisations work to address interoperability challenges and gain more control in the cloud.

We also see Kubernetes being rapidly deployed into mission-critical environments in enterprises around the world. According to Veritas research, 86% of organisations globally are expecting to deploy the technology in the next two to three years, and one-third already relying on it today. The use of Kubernetes is set to grow as it has emerged as a convenient solution that quickly improves affordability, flexibility, and scalability for enterprises.

EITN: What are the roles of emerging technologies in this area?

Andy: Ever-changing business requirements are placing a stronger emphasis on storing, managing and protecting data. In parallel, businesses are creating an almost unfathomable amount of data that is sprawling across a myriad of on-premises resources and hosted services from multiple public cloud providers. This is where emerging technologies, such as autonomous data management based on AI, come in to help businesses to manage the growing volumes of data, protect it from ransomware and other threats and ensure it complies with data regulations.

Multi-cloud has turned many enterprises to automation in order to simplify their public, private and hybrid clouds. At its most basic, consider backup software that automatically backs up data from specific stores after every pre-defined time period or when other triggers occur. It then got a bit more sophisticated with things like automated discovery and protection of new workloads.

Today, basic AI-driven autonomy powers anomaly detection that helps protect against ever-evolving cyber landscape, where ransomware has been observed operating so fast that it can encrypt 54 gigabytes of data n just under 43 minutes. AI is also currently helping to predict hardware failures in backup storage devices and enable relevant hardware to be replaced before failure to avoid backup performance impact and recovery failures.

The next step and ultimate goal for organisations is autonomous data management. By harnessing the power of AI/ML and hyper automation to self-provision, self-optimise, and self-heal in multi-cloud environments, autonomous data management will help IT departments to simplify tasks, deliver lowered TCO, increase efficiency and improve security in multi-cloud environments. This is necessary to meet the demands of current and future data trends and also enable self-service data protection and recovery for the business, freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic, transformational activities that have an even greater impact on the bottom line.

EITN: What are some potential roadblocks for businesses down the road in 2023? How would cloud solutions provider adapt?

Andy: As businesses plan for post-pandemic recovery in 2023, we expect greater scrutiny on budgets, including IT spending. With the ongoing global economic headwinds, geopolitical challenges and volatility of energy prices, disruption of supply chains will also continue to be a major concern for businesses in 2023.

For cloud service providers, a lack of hardware availability, especially chip shortages, will make it challenging to deliver new solutions quickly to the market. To counteract these supply chain woes, cloud service providers are embracing solutions with hardware and software already bundled together – rather than having to manage multiple relationships and wait for the hardware to arrive.

Due to increasing levels of cyber threats over the last several years, many cybersecurity professionals are feeling overworked and are even leaving the industry altogether – creating a talent gap and leaving businesses vulnerable.

With a significant increase in demand for cyber skills combined with a shortage of qualified workers, cloud service providers can help fill the talent shortage by implementing autonomous data management solutions to ensure customers’ data is always available and resilient from ransomware and other cyber threats.

EITN: Against the current uncertain economic backdrop, how are businesses planning to optimise budget for IT and continue to bring value to the company?

Andy: According to Gartner, end-user spending on public cloud services is expected to reach nearly $600 billion in 2023, despite uncertain economic outlook. Cloud computing will continue to be the largest chunk of IT spend and a bastion of innovation due to its agile, elastic, and scalable nature.

Bracing for the imminent storm, we expect more organisations to deploy autonomous cloud-first optimised solutions from a single pane of glass – combining automation, artificial intelligence, and elastic architecture to deliver secure and flexible cloud data protection – to reduce operational complexity and costs associated with managing multi-cloud environments.

To keep pace with the latest innovation and capitalise on their cloud initiatives, businesses can work with their cloud service providers to choose the right cost-optimised solutions and design successful modern architectures. In this way, businesses will be better able to respond more quickly and accurately to the needs of their customers with greater agility and flexibility.

According to Deloitte, Asia could potentially witness a USD160 billion economic boost should organisations increase their investment in cloud-based technologies and take greater advantage of them. Moving operations to the cloud also reduces capital expenditures by extending cash outlays over a subscription term, a key benefit in an environment where cash may be critical to maintain operations. Businesses will be putting their money on cloud-based technologies and third-party CSPs to optimise their IT budget while continuing to deliver value and the same level of efficiency with less manpower and resources.

EITN: How do cloud-based data management solutions help to cut costs whilst maintaining compliance?

Andy: Cloud-optimised data management solutions provide businesses with flexibility and choice across any cloud, workload, data source and deployment architecture, with multi-cloud visibility. With autonomous cloud-based data management, the burden on IT staff is reduced by leveraging automated operation to streamline management through orchestrated automation of discovery, protection, and recovery of data. In addition, features that optimise the use of cloud resources through elastic utilisation and deduplication techniques will enable organisations to pay for the exact storage capacity they need, thereby reducing costs.

By leveraging AI and ML technologies to detect security threats, autonomous cloud-based data management solutions can further reduce operational burden and increase protection and operational efficiency with little or no human intervention. For instance, with the recent launch of Veritas Cloud Scale Technology, we simplify how businesses manage their data and automate protection from cyber threats, with AI-powered malware scanning, near real-time anomaly detection, and flexible data recovery options, to keep data safe and compliant with AI-based ransomware resiliency.

Cloud-based data management solutions also enable easy and efficient scaling so that organisations can update their cloud storage with evolving business requirements. These solutions also reduce the need for on-premise redundancy by maintaining some or all  of an organisation’s data in the cloud. By having your data replicated across your server networks, your business benefits from lesser downtime in the event of any disruptions, such as a system failure or ransomware attack.

EITN: How will compliance adhere to the changing tech landscape in SEA, and what are the expected changes in compliance across industries to look forward to?

Andy: As organisations navigate their course in the changing landscape, it is timely for them to regain control of the surging data to ensure they don’t run afoul of the plethora of the data regulations that exist across the SEA region.

Today, more and more organisations are using compliance automation tools to streamline compliance workflows and activities. With compliance automation, organisations are equipped with the embedded tools put in place by their compliance teams. This helps to reduce the time spent on manual tasks and minimise the occurrence of security breaches and human errors, leading to greater accuracy and timeliness of reporting.

For example, AI and ML technologies will help manage and govern the massive volumes of regulatory information and automate routine tasks while digitalising compliance rules to stay abreast of the latest requirements.  

Embedded compliance is also taking centre stage as it allows sectors such as financial services to flag any regulatory and tax implications in their banking systems, digital channels, and processes – significantly reducing compliance risk.

Compliance training will be another top priority for business leaders across all industries. Organisations should train their all employees on their defined roles, responsibilities, and access rights, as well as the policies and tools that are deployed on a regular basis. This will reduce any potential or accidental policy breaches and ensure that employees know how to access and retrieve data that is lost or compromised in a timely manner.

In today’s world where a growing number of CEOs are identifying sustainability as a top business priority, ESG compliance is also becoming a policy imperative as investors and stakeholders demand greater transparency and accountability. Businesses need to ensure that their entire supply chain operations are clean and sustainable. They also need to break down the siloes across teams to work together to design a more standard framework for all parties to adhere to.