Vangelis Lagousakos, General Manager - Channel Sales, Middle East, Russia, Africa and Turkey (MERAT), Dell Technologies
The threat of a catastrophic cyber-attack is a daily reality for business leaders, as the exponential growth of data and digital-first organisations increases the cyber-attack surface. The channel must be prepared to support customers along their security journeys, with cutting edge consultancy and solutions.
Today, organisations in EMEA are managing 16.40 petabytes of data on average, a staggering 975 per cent increase since 2016, according to Dell Technologies Global Data Protection Index 2020 Snapshot. The report found that most regional organisations (80 per cent) have suffered a disruptive event in the last 12 months – up from 77 per cent in 2018. Highlighting the challenges in the race towards digital transformation, organisations admit they are struggling to find adequate data protection solutions for emerging technologies like 5G and edge infrastructure (61 per cent) as well as AI and ML platforms (51 per cent). This is the state of the enterprise’s frontlines – and they need to be addressed.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2020 ranks cyber-attacks as the second risk of greatest concern to businesses in the coming decade. As the tools of the Darknet become more sophisticated and accessible, cyber-attacks are increasingly borderless – taking advantage of jurisdictional constraints of regional authorities. We’re seeing more and more large-scale data loss and the rise of ransomware attacks, making resiliency planning key to survival. In 2019 alone, there was a ransomware attack every 14 seconds around the world.
Why customers must act – and how partners can help
These worrying figures are proof that reacting in real-time to a cyber-attack is already too late. Managing the risk requires agility, meticulous alignment across the business and testing to maintain awareness – it’s about being proactive rather than reactive. Cyber resilience is now more important than ever, and channel businesses have a role to play in helping their customers assess the risk of attack, whether at the hands of criminals or as collateral damage in cyber warfare.
Defending against catastrophic data loss:
- Mission-critical data loss is the worst-case scenario and defending a customer requires the support and cyber security expertise of channel businesses – as well as a holistic approach to resilience. Through channel consultancy, customers can build awareness across their business – along with the understanding that this is not just a tech problem, synergy between technology and business processes is where true resiliency is attained. Meanwhile, leaning on the channel’s cyber expertise when it comes to planning and implementation will help customers to identify key applications, recovery times and hone objectives. Channel partners are in a unique position, as looking into mission-critical processes, structures and data requires requires trusting, longer-term relationships which are mutually beneficial.
- It is essential that every arm of the customer’s business understands where its most sensitive data and services sit – and the level of risk around them. This is something channel partners can help to maintain. To understand the level of risk an agile approach is needed, because risk changes along with the business landscape. For this reason, regular scans and analysis of the internal landscape are essential to understand these changes and their impact – and by virtue a close collaboration with channel partners.
- Protecting a huge portfolio of assets is not easy, especially as it expands. But every business must understand what its DNA is – that’s the critical 10 to 15 percent of data that must be protected at all costs. This is the life-blood of an organisation and, in the event of a cyber-attack, is the difference between its life and death. It is business critical and must be decided upon with a holistic view. For some, this can often lead to analysis paralysis – the desire to save it all. In the same way that we would only carry our most essential belongings from a burning home, businesses must decide upon their most prized data so that it can be protected and used to recover the business in the aftermath. These critical decisions can be supported with third-party, channel guidance, for instance taming the tendency towards analysis paralysis with trusted advice.
- The good news is, this process can be simplified by data protection and cyber-security services that enable organisations to establish policy-driven automated workflows to move business critical data into an isolated environment and lock it down in less than five steps. This is called a cyber-vault, the ultimate protection for a business’ DNA. In the event of an attack, this data will help businesses to recover. When responding to cyber incidents and working to bring critical systems and data back online, accuracy and simplicity matter. A cyber recovery plan must be fully integrated within the business and align with its cloud strategy over the following five years
Businesses are increasingly aware of the dangers of a cyber-attack, but they need to truly invest in cyber resilience in order to shore up the gaps in the ever-changing business environment – and cyber-security expertise is vital. This is an opportunity for channel leaders to step up and support customers, using their advantage to build longer-term, more trusting customer relationships. The clock is ticking, it’s not a matter of if, but when and channel businesses need to be prepared.