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Data has become an essential component of organizations all around the world due to the advancement of technology. Companies have amassed huge volumes of data as their reliance on technology and networked systems has grown, particularly in the pursuit of sustainable practices. However, businesses need to balance the narrow line between data consumption and preservation in the Asian economic world, where environmental sustainability has become one of the top priorities.

According to the recent Hitachi Vantara Modern Data Infrastructure Dynamics Report, 6 out of 10 businesses in Asia are overwhelmed with the data they manage. Furthermore, 73% of these businesses are concerned about their current infrastructure's ability to scale and meet future demands, leaving them open to security threats. With data requirements expected to roughly increase over the next two years, the situation seems like a ticking time bomb for businesses across the region.

Some businesses in Asia consider data to be one of their most important assets, helping to drive essential decision-making and strategic planning. Such significance, however, comes with serious challenges regarding security and resiliency. Around 70% of corporate leaders remain concerned about their capacity to discover data breaches in enough time to secure their valuable assets — a pervasive and formidable uncertainty.

Recognizing these dilemmas regarding data security, companies and governments in Asia are developing collaborative projects. Such coordinations enable enterprises to pool resources, expertise and best practices in order to address common security matters jointly. Singapore's Cyber Security Agency (CSA) has established a number of industry-focused programs aimed at promoting collaboration between the corporate and public sectors in order to increase the country's overall cybersecurity resilience.

In 2021, CSA’s Singapore Cyber Landscape study revealed a 154% increase in ransomware cases year on year, from 35 reported incidents to CSA in 2019 to 89 reported cases in 2020. These incidents primarily impacted Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), which shows that SMEs and larger companies may also be vulnerable to the downstream effects of supply chain attacks.

Ransomware, in particular, is viewed as a sizable threat, with 73% of business leaders concerned about their data infrastructure's ability to recover from ransomware attacks. This apprehension is justified, as 23% of survey respondents stated that vital data was not backed up and 33% had encountered data inaccessibility due to storage outages. These flaws highlight the critical necessity for strong data protection systems.

Data Consumption and Sustainability Challenges

Unfortunately, managing data and security more effectively comes with a price: higher energy consumption. According to the survey, 77% of IT leaders currently measure their data center's energy consumption, but 32% admit that their data infrastructure consumes too much energy as it stands. Additionally, more than half of these leaders, or about 52%, admit that their sustainability practices do not address the environmental impact of holding on to useless data.

Such unsustainable methods raise questions about an organization's compliance with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) norms, which have become increasingly important for retaining customers and lowering operational expenses. Companies' carbon footprints will surely expand as data storage grows, unless proactive actions are taken to prevent such occurrences.

Companies such as Toyota in Japan, for example, have been utilizing big data to streamline production processes, cut carbon emissions and limit waste. Toyota analyzes opportunities for improvement and streamlines operations to improve environmental performance by evaluating data from sensors deployed in its factories.

Hybrid Cloud Adoption and Modernization

Data infrastructures must fundamentally modernize in order to address the rising hurdles toward data management, security and sustainability. To effectively manage an efficient and effective data flow, businesses must invest in cutting-edge platforms that provide speed, dependability and data protection while consuming substantially less space and energy. Such modernization efforts will allow businesses to derive more value from their data while lowering their carbon footprints — an important step toward future-proofing their operations.

Currently, public cloud (27%), private cloud (25%), on-premises (27%) and co-located/managed services (19%) account for the majority of data center workloads, with, on-premises usage forecast to fall to 24% and public cloud adoption expected to climb to 29% by 2025. Importantly, the above study also emphasizes the viability and efficacy of a hybrid cloud architecture. Indeed, Asian business executives prefer the more sustainable hybrid cloud, which mixes the public/private cloud with on-premises and co-location services.

Asian businesses must focus on striking the appropriate balance between scalability, sustainability and security. They must determinedly adjust to emerging risks and remain compliant with increasing data protection requirements. Proactive initiatives such as investing in contemporary data solutions and utilizing the hybrid cloud architecture can assist firms in meeting their resilience and sustainability goals while reducing their carbon impact.

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