IT Brief Australia - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Data storage and security trends propelling Australian businesses forward
Tue, 23rd Jan 2024

Australia's business landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by surging trends in outsourcing cyber security services and the undeniable advantages of cloud computing. The adoption of cloud storage and data protection services is experiencing significant growth, fuelled by enhanced web accessibility and the growing application of big data solutions. Indeed, the Australian cloud storage market has grown an average of 9.1% year on year since 2017. In light of this, and the ever-present threat of cyber-attacks, organisations will be more focused on the holistic protection of their entire organisation and, as such, will pivot towards a posture of overall cyber resilience rather than just protection and recovery.

This move towards increased resilience will involve an all-encompassing approach spanning data protection, data security with built-in AI capabilities, and recovery.

With these increasing cyber risks and high-profile attacks on major organisations, the speed at which an organisation can respond to a breach – and resume normal business operations – will also become increasingly scrutinised in 2024. According to the Commvault State of Data Readiness report 2023 for ANZ, 65% of companies stated their operations could not last longer than five days if subject to a business outage that restricted access to critical data.

While companies increase their engagement with cyber security platforms and managed security service providers to counter the ever-evolving threat landscape, conversely, an increasing number are bringing the management of their IT services back house in an effort to move systems and planning closer to the organisation and reduce exposure to third-party and supply chain threats.

In the wake of high-profile data leaks, clients are increasingly gravitating towards the secure option of managed data storage. Governments and major firms are on high alert, facing consumer backlash and legal responsibilities. The emphasis on secure storage solutions is now more critical than ever and will remain a constant focal point into the future.

With this rise in cyber risk, the onus will be on organisations to prove that their systems are immutable in order to obtain cyber risk insurance and adhere to new, strict governance imposed by boards and the Federal Government's Australian Cyber Security Strategy 2023-2030. Immutability in cybersecurity refers to the characteristic of data or systems that they cannot be altered or modified once they are created. This concept will be crucial for organisations moving into the future as it serves as a foundational defence mechanism against unauthorised access, tampering and malicious activities in general.

By maintaining the immutability of their systems, organisations establish a secure and unalterable baseline, ensuring the integrity and authenticity of their digital assets. This is particularly important in safeguarding the sensitive information that we have so often seen compromised in ANZ over the past 12 months, such as financial records, intellectual property and customer data. For this reason, proving immutability is going to be critical for organisations looking to obtain insurance against cyber risk.

Any attempt to tamper with immutable data would be easily detectable by a cyber defence platform. Therefore, immutability is going to become - and remain - a key pillar in building a resilient cybersecurity infrastructure, enhancing trust in digital operations and protecting the overall well-being of organisations in an increasingly interconnected and digitally reliant world.

Artificial Intelligence has come to the fore globally in 2023, and this will only intensify as we move into 2024. With regard to data protection, this brings both threats and challenges. While threat actors have the capability to exploit AI technologies and make their attacks more sophisticated, defenders and the organisations they protect have an equally enhanced capacity to detect abnormal behaviours and anomalies within a system and respond more quickly.

2024 will see an increase in discussion and debate around the regulation of AI, and governments will move towards a stricter posture of oversight and governance. Gaining a complete understanding of these regulations early on will be a distinct advantage to organisations as they navigate the complex new landscape.

With economic headwinds causing uncertainty across markets in ANZ, many companies will look at their costs and seek to find more efficient ways of performing essential tasks. One such factor will be the strength of the organisation's data security and making efforts to find the strongest defences at the least total cost of ownership. Reducing cost and complexity will, therefore, be essential in 2024.

As such, boards, in general, are becoming more attuned to navigating cyber security risks. Gartner and PwC both suggest that spending on cyber security is going to increase in 2024 across Australia – as much as 74%, according to PwC. Further to this, PwC's Global Cybersecurity survey found that cloud-related threats ranked as the highest concern in Australia and globally, looking forward over the next 12 months.

Service providers across the ANZ region will continue to embrace sustainability-promoting principles to differentiate themselves. Positive sustainability ratings are now considered a favourable factor, playing a pivotal role when clients are making decisions about long-term data storage contracts.

In conclusion, the evolving landscape of outsourcing trends and the escalating reliance on cloud computing are reshaping how Australian businesses operate. The integration of secure, sustainable, and scalable data protection solutions is not only meeting the demands of the present but also preparing businesses for the challenges of the future. As we navigate these transformative times, the ANZ business sphere is undoubtedly poised for continued growth and innovation despite uncertain economic forecasts.