How Organizations Can Better Manage And Proactively Protect Corporate Data
Mark Mulcahy, Technical Sales Director at Waterford Technologies, discusses how organizations can better manage their data environment.
Enterprise email and file data management solutions help organizations to more effectively manage their corporate data, meet compliance requirements and perform eDiscovery.
These features are becoming increasingly critical for organizations of all sizes. As organizations scale, the challenges of properly storing files and emails becomes all the more difficult, and new compliance regulations and cybersecurity threats mean data protection has become a top priority for IT admins. Adding to this challenge is the rise of new digital technologies that mean business data is more spread out and harder to manage than ever before.
To discuss these issues, we spoke to Mark Mulcahy, Technical Sales Director at Waterford Technologies, a data management and archiving provider based in Waterford, Ireland, with bases in the UK and the USA. We discussed the importance of file and email data management, the challenges of securing data, and how organizations can better ensure their data is protected.
Why Is Email And File Data Management Important?
Waterford Technologies’ typical customers range from under 100 users to over 50,000, across industries including government agencies, the public sector, banks, financial companies, hospitals, and any other industry complying with legal requirements to carefully manage sensitive data.
The use case for file and email data management for these companies is crucial, Mulcahy says. He highlights five key benefits that these solutions provide, which help organizations to better manage their corporate data.
“First of all, from a regulatory standpoint, organizations who need to comply to certain regulations need a mechanism to be able to do that,” he says. “A lot of organizations will acknowledge that, to be compliant, they need to be proactive about putting a solution in place.
“Our software can help you to better understand your data. It will help you to identify data and protect it, especially legacy data. We are storing terabytes and terabytes of email and file data, which means we can understand it, we can clean it up, and we can move it out of harm’s way.”
Second is achieving more granular control over corporate data, including where it is being stored and used. “We’re generating much more data through different applications than in the past,” Mulcahy says. “Quite often, IT managers have to catch up with technology to make sure they’re managing data securely and effectively. We try to make it simple, so people can optimize their data management.”
The third benefit, enabled by greater control, is cost reduction, Mulcahy says. It’s often cheaper to store data in one central location than pay for the costs of data storage across multiple apps and services, and greater visibility can allow you to cut storage costs where data is no longer needed.
Data management can also be an important way to reduce complexity. “People come to us because they want to understand what they have, and where it is,” he says. This is something that has exploded since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year he tells us, as remote working has led to a desire to simplify data management. “People want to try to optimize their data environment. But they don’t want to have to do three PhDs to do it! So, we try to simplify that process,” he says.
The final benefit of data management is the proactive protection of corporate data. Organizations should be encouraged to take proactive measures to protect their data, Mulcahy explains. “Data management is not a must have for many organizations,” he says. “But organizations should understand that concept of being proactive.
“I often use the analogy of house insurance. You don’t need house insurance. But most people have it, not because they want their house to burn down, but because, if it does, they want to be able to recover quickly from that incident.”
The Rise Of Ransomware Attacks
One of the most pressing reasons for implementing file and email data management solutions is to proactively secure data against the risk of ransomware attack.
Ransomware is not a new threat, but one that has dominated the news cycle in recent weeks and months, with numerous high-profile attacks hitting major government services. Just recently, the Irish health care system was hit by a “catastrophic” ransomware attack that took down critical hospital system, an even more appalling attack considering the context of a global pandemic.
Data management solutions can have a “massive” impact on keeping corporate data secured against the risk of ransomware attack, Mulcahy says. “Two years ago, if you asked me what features our customers wanted, I’d have put ransomware protection at maybe number seven. Today, ransomware protection has moved up to probably number two.”
Waterford can help organizations to proactively prepare against ransomware attacks in several ways, Mulcahy says.
“The starting point for us is education,” he explains. “We have to educate our clients quite often to understand what their risks are. The key takeaway for businesses is that they need to start treating their data properly from a security and compliance perspective and that securing and maintaining back-ups of data is not just a nice idea, but something that is critical to mitigate disaster.
“We also offer an affordable solution that is simple to use and easy to implement. We can take your data, understand it, and then move it into immutable storage for ransomware protection.
“We need to get people to understand they have to start doing this now,” he says. “Because you can bet that our health system in Ireland will fix the ransomware problem now. They’ll get the resources and the money they need to put proper systems in place. But it’s too late, the horse has already bolted.” So, it’s important that organizations should implement ransomware protection in anticipation of an attack, rather than in response to one.
A More Secure Data World
One of the better outcomes of remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of cybersecurity, is that it has helped organizations to better understand the importance of data management, Mulcahy says.
A lot of this simply comes down to perception, he explains, rather than an actual increase in risk. “Take a bank, in the City of London, with 2,000 people spread across three floors. Then take the same jobs, and the same data, but scatter them remotely across the southeast of England.
“Their IT manager probably has a different concept or different concern about how to secure that data. Sometimes there is a lack of proper concern because it’s felt that all the data is secured in the building. So, one of the good things about remote working, is that it has focused the mind for us to start understanding the vulnerabilities of remote management.
“So, when we move back to the office, whether in a hybrid way or a full return, I think it will have educated a lot of people that there are risks associated with data management that were only realized with COVID. It’s been a painful education experience, but there is an understanding now of the security leaks that can happen.
“So, I do think, from that point of view, it will be a more secure data world when we return to the office.”
How We Can Better Manage And Secure Corporate Data Today
Mulcahy’s number one piece of advice for organizations looking to better manage and protect their corporate data is to research what you’re trying to achieve and then properly prepare for it. In addition to that, be prepared to invest time to achieve your ROI.
His second piece of advice is to focus away from the software. “The hard part of implementing solutions and getting them right is not down to the application itself,” he says. “The hard part is getting the most out of an application once it has been put in place and paid for.
“Our real unique selling point is that we provide our solution as a managed service. Our team becomes part of your team and—together with the software—we are going to get you a proper, efficient implementation so that you get your ROI.
“And then the final thing I would say is that, when looking at these solutions, it often seems like you’re going to be adding complexity. It’s actually the opposite. If you do it correctly, you can actually simplify your network, you can finally understand your network, and you can do it very cost-effectively.
“Often people put these solutions on the back-burner because they don’t have time to do it. But if you do it, and you have the help we provide, it’s actually going to simplify every aspect of your organization.”
Thanks to Mark Mulcahy for participating in this interview. To find out more about Waterford Technologies and their data management and archiving solutions, visit their website here: https://waterfordtechnologies.com