Data Access, Protection, and Management: The New Competitive Advantages

There is a common tendency to view data as “the new oil,” insofar as it plays a vital — even coveted — role in business decision-making. Through this lens, the value of data is tied to a company’s ability to harness it, evaluate it, and use it to its optimal advantage. While this is true enough on the surface, companies must also be able to store, manage, and protect their data, not to mention access in real-time, to exploit its full potential and gain a competitive advantage.

Of course, this takes place against the broader backdrop of a “digital transformation.” The diffusion and digitization of data are fueling disruptive changes that span entire industries and sectors worldwide. Since data can now measure many of the things that were previously thought impossible, digitization has changed the very nature of how we analyze information. With that, data management is no longer restricted to analytical reports but bears on how entire organizations function — from their interoperability to the compatibility of their supply chain information systems.

Consider emerging technologies and artificial intelligence. Essentially, they adopt a novel software approach to solving problems — marking a transformation from deterministic codes to probabilistic algorithms that use data to gain experience and solve problems, or come up with answers in a “smart” way.

The question becomes: How can companies manage these systems so that they yield a competitive advantage? Let’s start by investigating where data is stored and how it is accessed.

Many companies have taken advantage of the Cloud’s storage capabilities, given its flexibility to manage hardware infrastructure and safeguard information. By way of an overview, the Cloud can be public, private, or a hybrid of the two. With respect to the former, data is transferred to an infrastructure that is shared with other companies; in the second instance, this infrastructure is reserved for individual companies; and the latter is a combination of the two.

Despite the Cloud’s many advantages, particularly when it comes to reducing management costs, human resources, and administrative overhead, it is saddled with two insurmountable problems:

  1. It does not offer 100% protection and security.
  2. It creates time delays in accessing information and data.

Since the issues associated with data protection are already well-established and familiar territory, I will focus on data availability.

Service providers often build hierarchical levels of data storage for physical media and speed up subnets, depending on the access time a company requires. Different approaches are taken with respect to documents that are infrequently accessed on a magnetic medium versus data produced in real-time on an electronic memory device. That’s why the so-called “Cloud solution” isn’t the solution for all types of data. For reasons of confidentiality and access time, some types of data must be managed in-house. And, with that, we return to the problem of a company’s internal data management processes, including backup, access control, and data protection.

How can businesses mitigate, if not overcome, data protection issues?

Quite simply, they require a storage system that leverages advanced technology, offers cutting-edge performance, and contains a simple management tool and automatic data protection procedures.

But does this system exist?

Seeking an answer to this question, I returned to my professional roots: IBM.

A major player in the systems landscape, IBM was a pioneer of information technology — evolving from punch cards to electronic memory systems. To this day, IBM’s storage systems remain at the forefront, and the team has managed to integrate a complete software and services solution that boasts management and security tools alike. Guided by their vision of “storage made simple,” their system draws on sophisticated technology to offer unparalleled access times, simplified management, and automated protection thanks to artificial intelligence. This is known as the “IBM FlashSystem.”

A recent analysis conducted by Forrester — a leading market research company in technology — highlighted how Flash streamlines organizational workflow and processes:

Image thanks to Forrester

Judging by my 37 years of experience, this family of products represents the most viable solution for companies that need to ensure confidentiality and protection while minimizing delays in accessing data.

Taken together, FlashSystem marks the first steps towards the technological future — a future made up of data-based strategies and decisions that dramatically increase a company’s competitive edge. After all, data latency and confidentiality are businesses’ key competitive factors.

To learn more about IBM FlashSystem, please visit: