For C-suite executives, protecting their companies’ data and fending off a growing army of hackers and ransomware attacks have become fundamental to managing their businesses in recent years. Failing to do so, exposes them to work stoppages, sharp financial losses, lawsuits and even blackmail.
But in 2022, corporate America will need to go well beyond just protecting and securing their data against digital assailants to thrive. Executives, from big and small businesses alike, now need to able to locate, manage and act on this data at a time when it’s proliferating and moving well beyond traditional corporate confines and firewalls.
The COVID-19 pandemic, a global shift toward remote work and the migration of data to cloud storage platforms, means executives increasingly run the risk of losing sight of their critical digital streams. This comes at a time when there’s growing requirements from global regulators, law enforcement and consumers for commercial data to be protected and kept private.
C-suites, in response, need to employ sophisticated new software systems that enable them to find and manage this data wherever it’s stored. This ranges from an employee’s home computer and smart phone to customer and supplier databases. Executives are now responsible for all their data streams.
Vast Data Troves
Historically, companies were confident that their commercial data was stored inside the physical confines of their businesses and digital firewalls. But the past five years has blown apart this calculation. The global pandemic has unleashed a remote-work phenomenon in which this corporate data is stored in devices far outside these firewalls. And even more commercial data is now being stored in the cloud. This trend is only expected to continue in the coming years, redefining what is the perimeter of a company.
Growing Global Data Regulations
Both national and local governments are taking steps to ensure that companies both control this data and protect it from third parties. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is the most pervasive regime in place to govern data security. But California has also put in place its own data protocol, the CCPA, while New York and a host of other U.S. states and foreign governments are moving to put in place similar data regulations.
American companies need to be preparing to abide by these regulations. But to do so requires them to know where all of their commercial data is stored, and how it’s being used. This includes recognizing data housed in foreign countries that may have differing data regulations and laws.
Sophisticated Data Protection
Hacking and ransomware attacks have more than tripled in the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Digital assailants have seized on this remote work trend, and companies’ relatively weaker cyber defenses, to bring to a halt some of the United States’ biggest logistics, food and energy companies. The U.S. government has started designating as terrorist organizations some of the Russian, Iranian and North Korea cyber gangs involved in these crimes.
Even with the most sophisticated digital defenses in place, many companies will still be breached by hackers, according to cybersecurity experts. As a result, it’s even more imperative for companies to understand where all of their data is stored and being utilized. Having this knowledge allows C-suites to protect and warehouse their most sensitive data, often referred to as a company’s crown jewels. They can also copy and backup important data, enabling companies to be far less susceptible to ransomware attacks.
Understanding and harnessing a company’s vast and evolving data streams allow executives to greatly enhance the competitiveness of their operations. This digital information, when appropriately and legally utilized, can greatly increase a business’s understanding of their customers and clients. And drawing from information across a global enterprise can greatly improve its efficiency and innovation.
The digital transformation currently taking place in the world, which is being expedited by COVID-19, is redefining what it means to be a business. Seeing, understanding and harnessing data will be one of the keys to allowing businesses to compete and thrive. A company is no longer confined to its physical space.