Canadian businesses doing more with their data: Dell EMC study

Since the last time this study was done in 2016, data has grown globally by 569 per cent – but this pales besides the Canadian data growth rate of 941 per cent over the same period.

The Canadian portions of a new study from Dell EMC has some interesting conclusions about the growth of data in Canadian enterprises, their attitudes towards the value of the data, and the degree to which they are monetizing it. The data come from their Global Data Protection Index, a study which Dell EMC has undertaken three times, the last time being in 2016. The survey, conducted by Vanson Bourne, surveyed 2,200 IT decision makers from both public and private organizations with 250+ employees across 18 countries and 11 industries, to determine the state of their data protection and the maturity of their data protection strategies. 100 of those decision makers were from Canada.

“With this version of the study, we wanted to get a better understanding of the value organizations are putting on data – and specifically the degree to which they are monetizing their data,” said Ruya Atac-Barrett, VP Marketing for Data Protection at Dell EMC.

In terms of the amount of data, the index showed a data growth rate of 569 per cent since the last time that the study was done in 2016. That’s not likely to surprise too many organizations who have witnessed that growth first hand. The Canadian rate of data growth may, however. It is up 941 per cent over the same period – from 1.10 petabytes of data managed in 2016, to 11.45 PB in 2018. The global data average was 9.70PB managed.

‘This surpasses what we thought it would be,” Atac-Barrett said. “We were expecting to find that the data doubled over the period. But this is exponential growth.”

Atac-Barrett said that another surprise from the data was that while Canadians defined in the top category of data protection leaders was a little below average, at 10 per cent compared to the global average of 11 per cent, that’s up from 2 per cent in 2016. Moreover, the number of Canadians in the second category, adopters, increased by 61 per cent, 11 per cent higher than the global average.

“We see that data as very optimistic, especially the big move in data protection adopters making progress,” Atac-Barrett said.

Another positive set of metrics is that 97 per cent of Canadian businesses see the potential value of data, and that 33 per cent are already monetizing it. That compares to global numbers of 92 per cent and 36 per cent respectively. The fact that only 33 per cent are actually doing something to monetize the data today might seem low, but Atac-Barrett said that it’s actually a good number.

“It’s a bigger number than I expected,” she said.

Unsurprisingly, cloud data protection use is way up. Public cloud use increased from 28 per cent of the total IT environment in 2016 to 40 per cent in 2018. 97 per cent of Canadian organizations were also using the cloud as part of their data protection strategy, about the same as the global number of 98 per cent.

“The fact that almost 100 per cent of organizations that we talked to were using pubic cloud as part of their DP infrastructure was also a surprise, as we thought it would be something more around over 70 per cent,” Atac-Barrett said. “But putting data in the cloud doesn’t mean that data is protected.” More than three-quarters (76%) globally experienced some type of disruption within a 12-month period compared to 72 per cent in Canada. More problematic is that 27 per cent globally were unable to recover data after an incident using their existing data protection solution. In Canada, the irreparable data loss number was better, at 16 per cent.

“The fact that Canadian numbers are better here is likely explained by the absence of laggards, the lowest category of data protection,” Atac-Barrett said.

Dell EMC sees a major risk factor for data loss in organizations having more than one data protection vendor. 76 per cent worldwide had at least two. The study said that this made them 35 per cent more likely to experience some type of disruption during the same 12-month period, compared to those with a single vendor. The Canadian numbers were 71 per cent and 41 per cent respectively. Unplanned systems downtime was the most common type of disruption for these multi-vendor Canadian businesses (54%) followed by ransomware attack that prevented access to data (17%) and data loss (39%).

“We see a multi-vendor strategy as exposing organizations to more risk,” Atac-Barrett said.

Organizations in Canada who encountered downtime experienced 25 hours of downtime compared to the global average of 20 hours in the last 12 months. The estimated cost of this to the Canadian organizations was approximately $584,615. The cost for Canadians who lost data was greater, nearly $1.2 million, based on an average loss of 6.15 TB.

The top use cases in Canada for data protection in the public cloud were

  1. Cloud-enabled versions of on-prem data protection software to protect public cloud workloads (this ranked 4th globally)
  2. Protecting specific SaaS apps ( 3rd globally)
  3. Backup of on-premises workloads/data (2nd globally)
  4. Long term retention (not ranked in the top 5 globally)
  5. Archiving (not ranked in the top 5 globally)

More than a third (34%) of Canadian respondents are very confident that their data protection infrastructure is compliant with existing regulations, 1 per cent shy of the global average. However, only 11 per cent believe their data protection solutions will meet all future challenges, lower than the global average of 16 per cent.

“Regulation is a big data protection catalyst,” Atac-Barrett said. “43 per cent ranked regulatory compliance as a top concern, while only 35 per cent were confident in their ability to meet them.”