Enterprise data development provides new business opportunities for partners

Companies that provide a range of data classification and planning services help customers better control IT costs.

Christina Walker

By 2025, more than 200 zettabytes of data will be in cloud storage worldwide, up from 4.4 ZB in 2019 and 44 ZB in 2020, according to Cybercrime Magazine. This global proliferation of enterprise data, both in the cloud and on premises, can provide channel partners with new revenue streams.

Indeed, channel partners with knowledge and expertise in data classification who understand that it is not just about corporate data control, but also the role it plays in business intelligence, business continuity, disaster recovery and security, can expand the possibilities for new business opportunities. By providing a broader range of data tiering services, partners will be able to help their customers leverage public cloud consumption-based pricing and better control IT costs through better optimization and more strategic storage planning.

In 2006, British mathematician Clive Humby said: “Data is the new oil.” With data powering the operations of entire organizations (and industries), this phrase is more relevant today than ever. However, like oil, data must be refined to be of value — this is where data classification best practices come in. One of the most important steps a business can take from a data management perspective is prioritizing data classification, or the process of categorizing data for the purpose of storing, sorting, and retrieving it for future use.

While data classification is a rich area of ​​opportunity for the channel, it does require a deep understanding of the customer’s specific requirements, workflow and IT operations, which partners can address through consultation and technology integration.

Classification best practices

Data classification best practices should first verify the data to be included in classification and access definitions against industry or country regulations, standards, and compliance mandates — including GDPR, PCI-DSS, CCPA, etc. .

Once the important issue of regulatory compliance is resolved, companies can move on to the “nuts” of data classification, with partner consultation and support, in the following five areas:

  • Identifying and defining sensitive and high-value data.
  • Discovering where the data is and who has access to it.
  • Classification and defining data based on its value for the customer’s organization and assigning classification levels.
  • Alignment the right security controls and measures to ensure integrity.
  • Monitoring regularly as part of security audits for data management best practices.

Building a successful data classification service offering

Businesses have many competing priorities, but partners can play an important role in helping to highlight the importance of data classification, which can become problematic if not regularly maintained.

Channel partners and service providers looking to build data classification program offerings should prioritize value-added packages that combine training, coaching and consulting, in addition to helping develop processes that keep pace with today’s agile and mobile work ecosystems.

Affiliates should also educate their customers about the consequences of improperly executed programs, which could include fines or worse.

Effective data classification programs must include the following four elements:

  • Advise customers to be proactive and standardize the process early so they don’t find their business in a breached position later, where resources are wasted on firefighting or additional costs.
  • Encourage corporate customers to involve all key stakeholders to identify and help create a policy (if one does not exist) that provides a roadmap for how data should be classified and managed, defining ownership, enforcement and accountability for the process.
  • Use the latest and leading technologies to help companies comply with internal policies, automating the process as much as possible. This is where a Request for Proposals (RFP) and Proof of Concepts (POC) come into play, steps that require additional resources.
  • Educate customers about avoiding the accumulation of redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) and unclassified data indefinitely. Not only does ROT data take up valuable server space and increase associated energy costs, it threatens the security posture of the enterprise and results in the negative impact of cyber waste on the environment.

There’s no better time for channel partners and service providers to expand their offerings to serve their customers as they struggle to keep up with the massive amount of data collected every day.

The ability for businesses to derive more value from information through data mining and analysis is critical to making strategic business decisions, which makes data classification best practices even more important. Not only are service providers able to help their customers make key data easily accessible, but they can also be trusted partners in managing and mitigating risk in an increasingly complex data and privacy regulatory landscape.

Christina Walker is the global director of channel and program sales at Blancco. He manages Blancco’s channel sales team and overall partner strategy and ensures the program evolves to support the needs of the company’s growing list of active partners. Follow her LinkedIn and the company at @BlanccoTech on Twitter.

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