UK enterprises are placing themselves at risk by seriously misunderstanding their cloud service providers’ backup provisions, according to research by 4sl – a London-based data custody and availability services specialist.
A large majority of senior IT decision makers believe their cloud service providers retain backup data for much longer than they actually do, the business found in a survey, with the gulf in understanding often huge.
For example, some 73 percent of respondents using Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online believe data is recoverable for longer than 14 days; and 92 percent of using Google Cloud incorrectly believe it includes backup provision as standard.
Cloud Back-Up: An Industry “Blind Spot”
“If this blind spot in organisations’ knowledge continues, the risks of data loss and non-compliance will only increase,” said Barnaby Mote, CEO and founder of 4sl. “The desire to pass on responsibility for backup to service providers is understandable – backup environments are becoming extremely complex, and the peace of mind that a responsible partner is managing backup can be invaluable.
He added: “However, enterprises need to understand that in the main the standard level of backup provided for infrastructure or software as a service won’t meet their needs. More than likely they’ll need to invest in the expertise or services to ensure their data in the cloud is protected and retained for long enough.”
The survey, although of an admittedly modest sample size of 200 (at companies with over 1,000 employees) notes that more than three quarters of enterprises see handing over responsibility for backup as a benefit of adopting cloud services, although only 30 percent know their cloud service providers’ backup and recovery processes in detail.
Some 61 percent of enterprises are still struggling with extremely complex backup environments, the company finds. At the same time, there is a clear compliance need to ensure backup data is kept. 80 percent of enterprises say they have to retain backups for a specific length of time to meet regulatory obligations.
The report, available here, comes after data infrastructure and disaster recovery company Sungard filed for (then rapidly re-emerged from) bankruptcy, as it collapsed under the weight of its debt and as margins fell on competition from cloud rivals (who do, of course, provide a wealth of cloud back-up options, forcing it to seek relief in the courts; debtors ultimately took an $800 million haircut.