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The Enterprise and Technology Issues Data Professionals Will Be Facing in the Year Ahead

To say the past year has been interesting for data managers and professionals is an understatement. Intensifying efforts to achieve data-driven processes, escalating security issues, shifts toward graph and cloud databases, and supply chain turbulence have dominated data teams’ task lists. The coming year will be no different.

We canvassed leaders in the database space on the concerns they have for 2023. The bottom line: Data teams are well accustomed to rapid change and technologies and continue to adapt as their organizations seek to develop into data driven enterprises.

Data as a Hedge Against Economic Turbulence

The economy has been rocky, with economists predicting more rockiness ahead. They key is to elevate data management initiatives to the C-suite or even board of directors. “With the current economic turbulence, businesses need to get hold of their data if they want to survive and compete effectively in the market,” said John Wills, field CTO at Alation. “The question is no longer whether a company will be data-driven, but how effective it can be with the data they have.

This places strategic decisions about how data will be managed and used at the heart of the business—a shift we’ll continue to see organizations rely on for a competitive advantage, focusing their strategy on the key pillars of data literacy, data access, and data quality.”

New Wrinkles in Data Security

The most significant challenge for data teams over the coming year is security. “With more data and increasing attack vectors, cybersecurity is becoming increasingly difficult,” said Patrick Kopins, chief operating officer of OvalEdge. “Data governance is a critical process that makes data more available to businesses by centralizing distributed data assets. However, when you can see your data, it’s far easier to develop a separate security plan to secure it.”

Over the past year, hackers and other malicious parties have figured out ways to work around multifactor authentication systems, undermining the latest layer or protection sought for enterprise data. Expect stepped-up attacks in the year ahead. “Overall, organizations must keep a watchful eye in 2023, looking for the next cyberattack,” said W. Curtis Preston, chief technical evangelist at Druva “Then they must harden their data protection systems to ensure they do not become the next statistic.”

The year 2022 saw new forms of attacks and security breaches, and these will only accelerate over the coming year. “The big takeaway from the incidents of 2022 is that multifactor authentication, while incredibly important, is not infallible,” said Preston. “Multifactor authentication exhaustion attacks are now becoming commonplace. They overwhelm the victim with so many multifactor authentication system requests that they eventually authorize one of them, and the attacker is in. Companies must look to make their systems more resilient to these types of attacks.”

Preston advises organizations to “reach out to their data protection vendors to learn how to protect against such attacks. On-premises systems should use local passwords on the backup server, leverage multifactor authentication wherever possible, not store backups in user-accessible directories, consider using a non-Windows backup server to store backups, and copy some of the backups to immutable cloud storage.”

Needed: Smarter Scaling for Growth

“The next scale challenge is here. It is no longer centered on storage or computing but rather scaling the production of data products and increasing team productivity,” said Sean Knapp, founder and CEO of This means building data organizations that have the capability to deliver more services in a more systematic way. “Just because something doesn’t have a price tag doesn’t mean it’s free,” he said. “We see businesses spending $5 million on salaries to save $100,000 in software costs.”

For forward-looking deployments, said Kurt Kuckein, senior vice president of marketing for DDN, there are two questions that tend to emerge. “Do you have the data, people, process, and platforms that will allow your organization to succeed? And if the outcome is successful, what are the knock-on effects to the entire system?”

Sophisticated applications such as AI and analytics “don’t operate in a vacuum and will potentially drive unexpected, organizational changes. Relief comes from being prepared and reducing potential risk. By selecting the right foundational platforms, organizations can focus on business value and managing change, instead of managing technical complexity and having to make compromises on data and scale.”

Technology itself may seem inexpensive at the outset, but needs accumulate, and “costs creep up,” Knapp added. “On top of expensive headcount to manage those tools, companies are facing ballooning expenses. With data automation technology, companies can greatly reduce the number of tools and integrations in their system and simplify its management, which greatly reduces the need to hire costly technical specialists.”

Find technical expertise to support bespoke platforms and build with them, Knapp added. “The talent pool is already narrow, and the technical complexity of bespoke platforms compounds the problem. Data automation tools can remove that technical complexity, expanding the pool of candidates by 5x.”

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