‘Gap widens’ between cloud perceptions and realities

UK enterprises are placing themselves at serious risk by misunderstanding their cloud service providers’ backup provisions, according to research by 4sl.

Its survey of 200 large UK enterprises showed that the majority of senior IT decision-makers believe their cloud service providers retain backup data for much longer than they actually do.

For instance, of the two most commonly used cloud services, 73 per cent of respondents using Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online believed data was recoverable for longer than the standard 14 days, while 92 per cent using Google Cloud incorrectly believed the service included backup provision as standard.

The poll also revealed that more than half of enterprises relied on the standard backup provision of at least one service provider.

For instance, 46 per cent of organisations using Office 365 and 51 per cent of those using Google Cloud thought their data was recoverable for far longer than it is – exposing themselves to the risk of permanent data loss or non-compliance.

Barnaby Mote, founder and chief executive of 4sl, commented: “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.

“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.”

More than three quarters of enterprises see handing over responsibility for backup as a benefit of adopting cloud services, although only 30 per cent know their cloud service providers’ backup and recovery processes in detail. However, the report found that 61 per cent of enterprises are struggling with complex backup environments, while 80 per cent stating they have to retain backups for a specific length of time to meet regulatory obligations.

The research revealed that 54 per cent of enterprises said the cloud makes backup harder, while 58 per cent think that the nature of the cloud - and the fact that it can be procured across the business - makes it more difficult to enforce backup policies. This was exacerbated by two thirds of enterprises saying a lack of skills has made backup more difficult.

The report was based on an online survey conducted in October by Vanson Bourne among 200 senior IT decision-makers in organisations with 1,000 employees or more in the UK.

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