Data Management Trends in 2024, with Artificial Intelligence as a Cross-Cutting Stimulus

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the disruptive technology of the year, and in 2024, it will continue to extend its influence and capability across all types of domains. One of them being data protection and management. Commvault, a leading provider of data protection and cyber resilience solutions for hybrid environments, has compiled the trends observed in the data management market for businesses in the coming year, largely marked by the advancement of artificial intelligence.

AI and Data Protection
AI is forcing CISOs and CIOs to think differently in 2024. For years, organizations have used AI to extract more value or information from data, and in terms of data security, they have relied on AI technologies or machine learning for detecting anomalies in backup data that could indicate a possible attack was underway. However, the landscape of attacks is rapidly evolving, partly driven by the onslaught of AI-fueled attacks. In this regard, AI will be crucial in identifying and mitigating cyber threats, which will require organizations to adopt a strategic approach to incident response and recovery. However, while AI will significantly strengthen cybersecurity, it will complement, rather than replace, the need for human expertise in assessing and responding to nuanced threats. AI and ML will also be used more regularly to identify security gaps and provide recommendations to IT and security teams on how to reduce risk and complexity in their environments, thus reducing exposure to incidents. Generative AI is in the perfect position to offer practical recommendations and suggestions in this area.

Data Intelligence
Data intelligence will be a top priority at the executive level in 2024. Companies are already beginning to recognize and manage their data as assets. And, like all assets, solid management of data will be crucial to improve cybersecurity, business continuity, and service offerings. With more data than ever (organizations are estimated to need to manage twice as much unstructured data in 2024), a company’s ability to leverage intelligence and recover quickly will be key as a competitive advantage and release valuable resources to put that data to work.

Increased Executive Engagement
Board members in 2024 will be more attentive to identifying company risks, and particularly committed to decisions regarding risk management. IDC shows that only 33% of senior executives are involved in current cyber readiness initiatives, however, 61% of those same leaders believe an attack could affect their business in the next 12 months. In 2024, boards will also expect greater commitment from senior officials to ensure that organizations holistically analyze their security posture, from detection to protection and recovery.

New Threats
In 2024, we will see cybercriminals utilizing asset discovery and vulnerability analysis across a wide range of diverse assets to perpetrate attacks. Unlike businesses, which use this information to protect themselves, attackers will prioritize and exploit vulnerabilities that maximize impact with minimal effort, leveraging the same advanced tools and AI-based analytics typically used to defend data. Attackers may even go as far as running predictive models to understand the degree of impact or discover new parameters and techniques leading to the creation of a new emerging threat.

Data as a Strategic Priority
Data is a fundamental asset of any company. Protecting it, especially with the constant emergence of new threats, has become and will remain a strategic priority. In 2024, the ability to rapidly recognize and respond to cyber threats will become a competitive differentiator, and companies that focus on cyber resilience –including data protection, data security, data intelligence, and recovery– will have the upper hand. The growing sophistication of cyber threats will require advances in AI-driven data security technologies and strategies, and companies that adapt more quickly are likely to stand out in the industry and gain more consumer and public trust.

Talent Acquisition
One of the major challenges in dealing with data will be talent acquisition and development. Talent is always a scarce resource and will be essential in deploying, maintaining, and managing systems, ensuring that they are an asset rather than a liability. Additionally, human oversight will remain crucial. Therefore, companies will have to prioritize ongoing training and knowledge updates to ensure that their teams can fully leverage technologies, including AI, while maintaining vigilance over the systems.

Collaboration Between Teams
The collaboration between ITOps and SecOps teams will continue to evolve in 2024. It needs to, as any company that continues to operate in silos will be at a serious disadvantage when attacked. Companies must think about cyber readiness across the entire NIST framework, including identification, protection, detection, response, and, if necessary, recovery from attacks. This must involve close collaboration between IT and security teams, which is something we have already seen in the past 12 months as the threat landscape becomes more sophisticated. This goes beyond the obvious collaboration necessary when managing an incident.

We will see more legislation and supervision related to AI, and like current data compliance regulations, these policies may vary from country to country. Having an in-depth understanding of regulations will be as crucial as adopting the technology. Navigating the complex landscape of emerging global regulations on AI will require a proactive and well-informed approach, with companies establishing dedicated teams to maintain compliance.

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