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The Crucial Need for Robust Data Management for Engineering Firms

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Earl Duby

CISO | Trusted Advisor | Board Member | Change Agent | FBI CISO Academy
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“Data is the new oil” is often quoted but just left hanging there as an unfinished sentiment with the hopes that the person on the other side of that statement will fill in the gaps. Mathematician Clive Humby, the original speaker of that quote, had more to say: “Like oil, data is valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc., to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity. So, must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.”

All companies need the “new oil”, but engineering firms require much more of this raw material. For these engineering collaboratives, data is not merely a resource; it is the lifeblood upon which firms build projects, foster innovations, and make strategic decisions. Because of all of this, data accumulates more quickly in engineering-based organizations. The challenge for many engineering firms is not just accumulation, but in mastering data management; effective data management is crucial. Without it, functions like product development, process re-engineering, and other innovative creations cannot flourish.

Let’s look at the dangers of inadequate data management and find a pathway for engineering firms to navigate these complex issues.

The Risks:

The repercussions of insufficient data management strategies extend far beyond mere operational glitches, potentially causing missed opportunities, inefficiency, and events that could jeopardize the very survival of a business.

Compromised Decision-making: If you try to navigate without a compass, you’re sure to get lost. Much like a broken compass, inaccurate data can misguide engineering firms, leading to resource misallocation, overlooked market opportunities, and strategic blunders detrimental to business objectives.

Operational Inefficiencies: When teams grapple with fragmented systems and redundant data, valuable time that could be spent innovating and executing is lost. These inefficiencies interfere with productivity and stifle growth.

Heightened Risk: Just as structural integrity is paramount in engineering, so is data integrity in business operations. Poor data management exposes firms to security vulnerabilities and data breaches, potentially resulting in regulatory non-compliance, legal ramifications, and financial penalties.

Diminished Customer Trust: The mishandling of client data can severely damage professional relationships and reputation, leading to client attrition and long-lasting harm to the firm’s brand.

Competitive Disadvantage: Failing to leverage data analytics and artificial intelligence renders a firm unable to unearth critical insights, placing it at a disadvantage against more data-savvy competitors.

Escalating Costs: Inefficient data management leads to unnecessary storage costs and squandered resources, eroding profit margins.

The Improvements

The challenges posed by data management are formidable, yet surmountable with the right expertise and strategies:

  1. Increased Data Integrity: Partnering with proficient IT service providers allows engineering firms to benefit from robust backup systems and disaster recovery plans, safeguarding against data loss.
  2. Enhanced Security Measures: An IT partner acts as a barricade against cyber threats, employing advanced security protocols to protect the firm’s digital assets.
  3. Access to IT Expertise: Collaborating with a top-tier IT service provider affords engineering firms the expertise necessary to address data-related challenges efficiently, without the need to sustain an in-house team.
  4. Regulatory Compliance: With regulations continually evolving, an IT service provider can help ensure that a firm remains compliant with data privacy and security standards.
  5. Customized Data Management Strategies: Experienced IT consultants can develop bespoke data management solutions that align with a firm’s specific goals, transforming data into a potent strategic asset.

Securing Your Firm’s Future

While data may be the new oil, most engineering firms are not petrochemical experts. It is important to get the specialized help you need so you can focus on your area of expertise. In the case of engineering firms, bringing in a partner that can provide sound advice on technology and data security practices frees up the engineers to move the world forward with great ideas and innovations that benefit their clients.

Learn how Auxiom can help

Author

  • Earl Duby

    Earl Duby is a proven cyber security leader with over 25 years of experience leading security teams in multiple industries, ranging from large financial services companies to Fortune 150 manufacturers. Recently, Earl spent 6½ years as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for Lear Corporation in Southfield, Michigan. Before that, he was Vice President of Security Architecture for Synchrony Financial as it spun off from General Electric. Earl has held several other security leadership roles and has earned Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK), SABSA Certified Foundation and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certifications.

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