This is not a New Zealand-only initiative of course, as organisations at a global level recognise the importance of incorporating security in storage strategies to keep data secure in the event of a breach.
“If it doesn’t tick the security box, then it doesn’t matter,” adds Arnold, in representing Dell in New Zealand. “Cyber security is absolutely top of mind from the individual to the large enterprise to government and everyone is somewhere along that journey.
“But you can’t defend against anything because they are already in, full stop. Businesses must understand the actions needed to take in the assumption that an attack is enviable, and also how to mitigate the damage of such a breach.
“This awareness is coming into play quite significantly as organisations look at different ways of managing security.”
As Arnold points out however, the broad issue of security can at times make for vague discussions and out of touch technology and strategies.
“Crucially,” he adds, “businesses can’t stop the other things they have to do and with this explosion of data, they now need to understand what data to keep and what data to get rid of.”
Take the Sony hack as a recent case in point, or the Target breach, or even the Home Depot attack, the point remains that enterprise data security has become a growing concern, as the rise of external threats continues.
From a partner perspective, the rising tide of security concern at a business level has crossed over into storage, with organisations now realigning priorities and rolling out new protection initiatives.
“Of the businesses we are selling to, security is a huge concern,” says Jon Waite, Chief Technology Officer, Computer Concepts Limited. “If it isn’t top of mind among Kiwi decision makers, it is certainly very close.
“For storage, what we find is that as you tick each box in terms of performance and what the platform can deliver, the big problem focuses around security.
“There’s lots of innovation in the market at present but they are not answering all of the security questions in one platform.
“It’s definitely a challenge for partners when looking at managed storage services, storage-as-a-service and we consider security above everything else.”
Waite, when discussing the decision making process of the Christchurch-based tech company, says CCL looks at two key areas when selecting storage technology, which stand tall above performance and price issues.
“Firstly, can we get support for it in New Zealand?” he explains, “and secondly, is it secure?
“Then we examine performance and cost conditions but if we can’t tick those two boxes first, then we don’t proceed any further.”
Unsurprisingly, security remains the top priority for CIOs and IT decision makers in New Zealand, as they continue to be influenced by the never-ending stream of cyber attacks, across all sectors and verticals.
But when the security box is ticked, what next? What happens to the data? And where does the innovation come from?
“The answer differs by organisation,” Arnold adds. “Some organisations have a good understanding of the data they are housing, and collecting, where it is and what they what to do with it.
“Others, and this is probably the larger amount, think what is the data we are collecting?”
Arnold says because data derives from all kinds of sources and enterprise avenues, businesses continue to remain in the dark about where their data is stored, and perhaps crucially, how they can use the information to innovate.
“That’s one of the challenges for the reseller community,” he adds, “to provide such a service back to customers.
“What is the data that you are collecting? What do you want to do with it? What is the business driver?
“The discussion must focus around what businesses are trying to achieve and working backwards from that.”
Gartner findings show that in 2015, 80 percent of CEOs claim to have operationalised the notion of data as an asset, yet only 10 percent say that their company actually treats it that way.
While many companies rely on data every day to make decisions or to create a better customer experience, and business leaders and IT executives continue to wax about how their company’s information is one of their most important assets - in reality, few treat it that way.
“In New Zealand, everyone sees the vision and can figure out that the Internet of Things and all these devices are producing vast streams of data, but challenges still remain,” Prowse adds.
“Truthfully, some organisations are embracing data at a local level, and are working out strategies and extracting value. But not all.
“I think the biggest challenge lies in finding IP that can be utilised as a commercial advantage, when goes back to business reasons.”
While Prowse accepts Kiwi organisations recognise the value of data, the sheer information overload remains the biggest barrier to innovation.
“How do I use this?” asks Prowse, offering a deeper insight into how businesses in New Zealand think when it comes to data. “If I’m a bank collecting data such as customer interactions, visa transactions etc, how do I capitalise on this information?
“It’s not going to be a penny drop moment for businesses but once they figure this out, on their journey, the way data is used in business will change.”
As pragmatic New Zealanders, Prowse asks how businesses can take smaller databases in the banking, telco and retail spaces as examples, and utilise the information for a value output.
“Businesses want instant results, they don’t even want to wait a day,” he adds. “If they’ve just ran a marketing campaign then they want to have the results and essentially fail fast. App developers are also driving a lot of need for storage and we’re still on the upstream journey in this respect.”
Data, in truth, can only take an organisation so far, adds Kennedy—Moffat, citing the real drivers as the people.
“The value lies in the intersection of the data sets,” he explains. “Where do they intersect to give us the most meaningful data and it is the ability of the human mind to see where that value lies.”
Patterson, drawing on six years of experience as Chief Technology Officer in the New Zealand market, believes enterprise has only “scratched the surface” in terms of innovation and disruption, but encouraging trends are emerging locally.
“New Zealand businesses are doing some cool stuff with data,” he adds, believing that most industries are “ripe for disruption.”
The majority of CIOs across both sides of the Tasman however, as Patterson observes, expect the biggest challenge to business to come from a disruptive technology they’ve never heard of within the next five years.
“New start-ups based in the cloud, not carrying legacy systems, are looking to create this new value proposition,” he adds.