Every business worldwide is going through a digital transformation today, which is expanding the amount of data a company collects and holds. Indian companies, however, are least prepared to handle the explosion of information among its counterparts in Europe or the US.
“It is almost guaranteed that Indian companies are more susceptible to data breach. Indian companies have grown much faster than other markets. Where rest of the world would have taken 30 years, Indian companies have done that in 10 years. When you grow so quickly the data you collect has also exploded in a short span of time. By definition it means that you are exposed to threats such as hacking, data breach and so on,” Anil Chakravarthy, the chief of Informatica, a leading data management platform, told.
According to study by IDC, data creation will swell to a staggering 163 zettabytes by 2025, ten times the amount of data collected today. “With that amount of data inflow, the control CIOs enjoyed over data has been going down,” Chakravarthy said.
He rued that that most Indian companies have looked at data in isolation rather than looking at data as a strategic asset.
Until that happens, management of data will not be possible. “At a time when the enterprise is grappling with immense volumes of data, some usable, some not; the key is to find right insights by tapping into the metadata,” he said.
Metadata is, simply put, data about data, but not to be confused with big data. While Metadata provides granular information about a single file, Big Data gives you the ability to discover patterns and trends in all of your data.
“As we see data proliferation, it is not just about the amount of data or type of data, it is also about location of data, and also about following regulations, such as GDPR in EU that prescribes guidelines where a certain kind of data can be used. For a greater focus on data-centric security, metadata can get you there,” he said.
The way companies in Informatica’s other market are tackling data explosion is by putting together a data catalogue that enumerates details about what data sits in the company, where is it located, who is using it, how is it allowed to be used, how is it actually being used, how to secure it, and so on. That’s called metadata of a company consisting of operational metadata, business metadata, technical metadata and usage metadata – depending on the use cases of each type of data.
Informatica serves over 7,000 customers worldwide, with 3,800 employees. In its 15th year of operation in India, the company has over 1,000 employees in India alone, which is also its largest R&D centre.
Informatica, which started as a single products company 25 years ago, expanded its focus to be a data management provider. In this space of enterprise data management, the company focuses primarily on core capabilities – data integration, data governance, master data management, data analysis and data security, which is its key focus area at the moment.
“Companies that are doing a good job of tackling these problems focus on these. They build enterprise wide data catalogue. Then they are able to apply it to various use cases such as data optimisation, security, governance, making data available to decision makers, Chakravarthy said.
“Organisations need to treat data management as a strategic move. Organisations need to make data platforms to manage their data effectively. It has to be done by default. Companies have built controls on gadgets being used, how much of access to be given, how to de-board a device if it’s no longer in use in the premises. In data world, those processes are non-existent or very immature. That is the biggest shortcoming,” he added.
The need to put security protocols around data is urgent, Chakravarthy said. With negligent data privacy laws in India, it is imperative for companies to align themselves with global standards on their own.
Setting boundaries around data usage is also imperative from Chakravarthy’s perspective. “When customer provides data, it has been authorised for a certain purpose. That understanding has to establish too. If you want to use it for any other purpose, go back to the user and ask for permission. Currently, it’s like once I have got the data, I can do whatever I want with it,” he said.
However, Chakravarthy feels that with users becoming more conscious about sharing and privacy rights, companies have started to show signs of maturity.
“There are no regulations like EU’s GDPR, but it will come soon, I believe. A few Indian companies that are becoming global are applying global standards in internal operations also,” he said.
India may even leapfrog over US to bring in data privacy laws, he added.
Informatica is currently investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to provide granular metadata internally, as well as for its clients. The company is already using AI and ML as an assistive feature for culling out metadata.
“It’s important to leverage such capabilities because data cataloging will become foundation for businesses going forward. Data security will be a huge area of focus for us. It is still an unsolved problem and difficult to manage,” Chakravarthy said.