Businesses must constantly balance many different issues and priorities to maximise success. Whether it’s managing day-to-day demands, long-term projects or even an unexpected crisis, the list of items they need to prioritise can seem endless.
But despite having a lot of these plates to spin, there are many ways business leaders can make positive changes within their organisation to achieve its desired goals. Improving security for agile workers can be a useful way to inspire transformative change. Proactively future-proofing the business can also be immensely helpful. Better still, taking the time to better prepare a business for the many ‘what if’ scenarios that could affect them - no matter how unlikely these scenarios seem – can be hugely effective.
Not enough time
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But business leaders unfortunately can’t do and buy everything they need to make these kinds of changes on their own. Today’s time-pressured work environments are fuelled by an ethos of quick turnarounds and immediate responses, which means that business leaders don’t have the time to get familiar with every new approach or solution that appears on the horizon claiming to make a difference. Substantial amounts of time is therefore taken up by the management of core functions of the business instead. Yet, managing those core functions is impossible without having a good understanding of the underlying backbone that makes them happen. In today’s data-driven world, that often means data infrastructure and storage technology.
Understanding the cost of not getting this kind of planning right is simpler, especially in terms of numbers. Our 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management report has revealed that the average cost of downtime globally for mission-critical applications can clock up to as much as £80,000 per hour, with the average annual cost of downtime sitting at almost £16m.
The effects of outages on businesses can be astronomical, especially when customers begin looking for alternatives. If customers lose faith in a company’s ability to deliver on service level agreements (SLAs), they will not be afraid to vote with their feet. And when it comes to expectations, today’s customers set the bar high.
If an outage occurs, customers expect for issues created by that outage to be resolved within an average of 2 hours and 41 minutes – the same time it takes to fly to Paris and back from London. If the outage drags on, searches for an alternative quickly become a permanent switch. Nobody understands this better than TSB, whose severe three-week outage cost the British bank roughly 16,000 customers, who all moved on to find what they hoped would be a more reliable service.
For businesses hoping to work towards long-term stability, these numbers are impossible to ignore. To say they could offer ‘a setback’ on meeting business objectives would be a major understatement.
So what can businesses do to ensure they have the right technology in place to help them achieve their desired goals, and at the same time provide the continuity and availability they need to avoid any potential pitfalls to success?
Go it alone or partner up?
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Deciding the appropriate solution can be difficult for a business unfamiliar with complex storage technology. Businesses often now bring partners in to help support and navigate their storage needs. A wise move, as the right partner will help them choose the best solution they can buy based on their available investment, industry, strategy and chosen business targets. The right partner will also be able to provide a much clearer view of where the business’ critical data is being stored and managed at any one time – enabling them to focus on what they do best, rather than being held back by the wrong kind of technology. With over a third (39 per cent) of consumers admitting they would stop using a service or product in the event of an organisation’s outage, choosing a partner to support and guide an organisation through its data management could be the difference between losing and retaining customers.
But choosing that partner is also a big decision to make. From their experience to the nature of the SLA that they can offer, there are several factors businesses must carefully consider. For this, they should keep their own goals and targets front of mind when deciding what’s most important – what performance metrics matter most, for instance? Even the most basic agreement needs to offer clarity on the likes of uptime guarantees, service turnaround, fees, compensation and regulatory compliance.
Whether or not a business chooses to partner up or simply try to tackle the storage challenge alone, having a clear action plan for storage and infrastructure investment really comes into its own once disaster strikes.
This year’s UK government cybersecurity breaches survey, for instance, showed one in three businesses were a victim of an attack or breach in the last 12 months. With a risk as high as a third of business across the UK, data is now impossible to separate from the goals of almost any business. Being able to guarantee its resilience and security is paramount.
A major return
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Prioritising the right kind of investment in storage and data management offers a major return. Not only through more efficient operations, but also through guaranteeing quality-of-service in those rarer but no less serious moments of cyberattack, outage or file damage.
Either way, all investment decisions need to stem from a company’s set of priorities. If data isn’t placed high up the list, serious questions need to be asked. From British Airways’ record breaking fine for the breach in their security systems last month, to the £4billion fine delivered to Facebook just weeks later, crackdowns on cybersecurity breaches have never been so acute. And further headline-making fines are set to continue breaking records.
Following British Airways’ fine the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, highlighted the gravity of the situation by stating that, “when you are entrusted with personal data, you must look after it. Those that don’t will face scrutiny from my office to check they have taken appropriate steps to protect fundamental privacy rights”.
By making sure technology is aligned with wider goals, businesses can rest assured that they have everything in place to not only adhere to Denham’s words, but also achieve what they would define as success.
Michael Cade, Senior Global Technologist, Veeam (opens in new tab)