Nov 07 2017

Commvault GO 2017: Organizations Must Take a Data-Centric Approach

As businesses shift away from an infrastructure-focused approach to IT, Commvault unveils a new data analytics platform to help provide insights.

When the world is awash in data, what’s a forward-thinking organization to do? Ride the data wave, in the view of Commvault CEO N. Robert Hammer.

IDC forecasted earlier this year that by 2025 the world will generate 163 zettabytes (a trillion gigabytes) per year, 10 times the 16.1 zettabytes of data generated in 2016.

Speaking during the opening keynote on Tuesday at the Commvault GO 2017 conference at the National Harbor near Washington, D.C., Hammer said that the data management and protection company’s customers are “rethinking their approach to how they build and operate IT.”

Customers, he said, “are shifting to a data-centric view. They are starting to make a shift in their thinking from infrastructure-centric to data-centric in this age of digital transformation.”

If organizations want to thrive in a world in which data volumes will grow exponentially, and take advantage of artificial intelligence technologies such as machine learning, they need to focus less on their IT infrastructure and more on the data stored and moving between that infrastructure, Hammer said.

To that end, on Tuesday, Commvault unveiled a new analytics portfolio of applications, capabilities, solutions and services, all built on the Commvault Data Management Platform. The platform is designed to help organizations achieve better data insights for compliance, e-discovery and a variety of other digital transformation use cases.

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The Importance of Data for Digital Transformation

At its heart, digital transformation is focused on using technology and data to change business models — better cost efficiency and return on investment, and improved customer experience and business processes.

Data, Hammer noted, helps organizations make faster and more insightful decisions and is the “foundation for digital transformation.” He noted that Alibaba founder Jack Ma has said that “data technology is totally opposite from IT.”

Over the past 30 years, Hammer said, data has been stored and centralized in IT but not shared. Data technology is about sharing data and making it dispersed across an organization and available anywhere. Traditional IT approaches are not working, he continued, especially as more data moves to the cloud, and companies face more data privacy regulations, according to Hammer.

Historically, IT has been focused on improving an organization’s infrastructure — its store, computing and networking, Hammer said. Now, CEOs, CIOs and CTOs are realizing they need to first understand and define their critical data requirements and then use those to drive key infrastructure decisions and priorities on how to store and access that data.

Analytics Portfolio Aims to Protect Growing Amounts of Data

With that in mind, Commvault unveiled its new analytics portfolio, which includes applications and an application framework, new capabilities, solutions and packaged service offerings. The company said this portfolio will be continually expanded over the next 18 months. Commvault said businesses can use it to create actionable data visualizations and implement business rules to drive workflows. It can also be used to simplify management of growing amounts of data and to use that data to reduce risks and improve business outcomes.

The first application in the portfolio will be for information governance and data privacy, and offers customers the ability to identify, manage and reduce data privacy risks in compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data privacy regulations.

GDPR, which provides strict new controls on personal data, takes effect on May 25, 2018 and impacts any company that collects data on citizens in EU countries. For example, as CSO Online notes, “companies will need the same level of protection for things like an individual’s IP address or cookie data as they do for name, address and Social Security number.”

Commvault said its new data privacy application for the analytics platform “can address many GDPR compliance challenges, enabling enterprises to better understand what personal data they have, respond to customer requests and meet GDPR obligations regarding the collection, storage and handling of personal data.”

The application was designed with input from Commvault customers who are addressing GDPR compliance challenges. Enterprises can use the new application to detect an expandable set of personal data, initially focusing on Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on file systems and endpoints. The app also allows businesses to use dashboards, reports and visualizations to map where this PII information is located and dig into the data, allowing them to develop, implement and automate data privacy risk management policies.

Additionally, the app lets organizations “create and assign automated work tasks to address customer requests and other remediation actions for PII data disclosure, export and erasure,” according to Commvault, as well as produce audit trails of PII data management actions.

Commvault says the new data privacy application helps enterprises “develop action plans and data policies to meet the requirements of GDPR and other data privacy regulations automatically, consistently and at scale, while also proving to regulators that they have met their compliance obligations.”

Those capabilities can help reduce the risk of fines as well as hits to their reputation if customers’ personal information is breached and released. The app can help organizations increase customers’ trust in their ability to appropriately handle and protect their personal data.

Follow all of BizTech’s Commvault GO 2017 coverage here.

Phil Goldstein