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GDPR has not solved data protection problems

Industry research reveals the problems that customers are having using and protecting their data ten months after GDPR came into force

If the channel had expected GDPR to force companies to get on top of their data management issues then sadly they were mistaken.

The number of customers that continue to struggle to find, manage and use their data continues to be a concern with some in the industry blaming it for causing productivity and revenue losses.

Separate pieces of research from Veritas Technologies and Dell EMC have both underlined the limitations of current attitudes by customers to looking after data.

The Veritas study found that because users could not get their hands on data quickly it slowed productivity, with some wasting up to two hours a day looking for information they needed. The net results were that UK organisations could be losing £1.2m a year.

The Value of Data research found that there were various reasons why employees could not find data, including the lack of tagging, wading through large volumes of material or they didn't have access.

Jasmit Sagoo, senior director, Northern Europe, Veritas, said that the introduction of GDPR has not had impact on many firms, partly because so far there seemed to be little consequences for those that failed to abide by the rules.

"My observations are that a lot of organisations have done the bare minimum," he added "GDPR hasn't solved the problem. Customers haven't seen any big fines or faced the wrath so organisations are a bit relaxed about that."

"There has been a carrot and stick approach and if you don't see the right results then you might see the stick coming out soon. Something has to happen to provide a catalyst for it to be taken more seriously," he said.

He added that there was an opportunity for the channel to go out pitching tools like intelligent automation to support more precise data management practices.

“There is an opportunity. The future of our society and businesses will become even more data driven,” he added “People are not harnessing its value and protecting it properly and they need to.”

“Organisations have access to a wealth of data that can create significant opportunities if they use it intelligently. Unfortunately, employees waste precious time searching for useful, and potentially business-critical, data in fragmented IT environments,” he said.

Following on from that, research from Dell EMC indicated that the number of UK businesses unable to recover data after an incident had doubled since 2016.

The vendor's Global Data Protection Index pointed the finger to the explosion of data as one of the main challenges that users were struggling to deal with.

UK users have been seeing data increase by the rate of 278% since 2016 with firms now on average managing 10.80 petabytes of data last year, compared to the 2.86 petabytes managed two years earlier.

Just shy of three quarters of those firms quizzed in the study revealed that they had experienced some sort of disruption in the last year with 20% unable to recover the data using their existing software tools.

That downtime and data loss also had financial repercussions with Dell EMC finding that those that suffered 19 hours of downtime on average in the last year faced costs of $509,881, those who lost data,  5.46 terabytes on average, saw an eye watering price tag of $1.95m.

The Dell study also revealed that the vast majority of UK firms (78%) are using at least two data protection vendors and those using more than a single vendor were 112% more likely to suffer a disruption, making a compelling case for consolidating applications.

“The UK is witnessing an explosion in the growth of data, but how this data is managed and protected impacts the value organisations can extract from it”, said Rob Lamb, chief technology officer, UKI Dell EMC. 

“As organisations race to transform themselves to be better prepared for the digital age, cloud technologies will play a critical role in the protection of an organisations infrastructure, and the data it holds," he added.

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