MSPs have long grappled with the cloud and have struggled for even longer to protect client data adequately through proper backup. In recent years, the solution to both has come together in the form of cloud data protection services.
Results from Unitrends’ 2018 annual State of Cloud & Data Protection survey of IT professionals about the obstacles organizations face in protecting data shows the challenges are greater than ever, while the solutions are more effective. However, the findings also reveal many organizations do not follow even minimal best practices for data protection and disaster recovery.
While this is concerning news for many organizations, it spells opportunity for service providers and smart IT shops that make the cloud a key part of a business continuity solution.
Here are the top findings of the 2018 report.
1. Exponential Data Growth
Whatever you have for storage, after a short while, it is never enough. Facts bear this out. Since 2016, the percentage of companies needing to protect more than 100 TB of data has doubled. And businesses are facing more complex backup and data protection challenges. Most 2018 survey respondents must protect both physical (73 percent) and virtual servers (67 percent).
While scope and complexity of this backup challenge is too much for most firms, a well-equipped MSP can easily handle it and experience growth in the process.
2. Data Loss Continues at an Unacceptable Rate
Despite the availability of foolproof business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) solutions and awareness of cybercrime, data loss remains at an unacceptable and dangerously high rate. Roughly, one-third of respondents lost data last year – a number consistent across all three years of the survey.
3. DR Testing Starting to Get Done
All too often systems fail, and the organization discovers the backup it has relied on is junk. More and more shops are getting the message and testing backup for recoverability.
Today, a full 75 percent report at least annual DR testing vs. just 64 percent in 2016. The only way to know if your failed applications can be properly restored is to test, find, and fix recovery issues, and then test again.
The good news is that there are solutions that make recovery testing automatic and easy, with high-quality reports to identify what parts of the process have recovery issues. Many industries such as healthcare require all companies to know and document their recovery times. This presents a host of opportunities for MSPs to explore.
4. Too Few Have a Secondary Recovery Site
One backup that fails to recover is the same as having no backup at all. That is why a secondary location is critical to fully protect clients’ backups and host recovery operations. Data protection best practices include a 3-2-1 data protection strategy: three copies of clients’ data, in two different formats, with one copy located at a remote site.
More shops are catching on. In the most recent survey, there was a 16 percent reduction in the number of organizations with no secondary recovery site to store data copies or host recovery operations.
Failure to recover is one possibility with a single backup, but the speed of recovery is also an issue. With no secondary location, recovering applications can take much longer since companies will be required to restore their basic infrastructure before they can even begin to recover data, reinstall software, restore the network, and get the business back up and running.
5. Cloud Growing as a Backup Layer
Cloud is replacing physical as the backup media of choice. More organizations report storing backups in the cloud (36 percent) than using physical media (disk to tape, removable, tape) combined (31 percent). The cost of cloud storage has declined over the past few years, and organizations are taking advantage of it to make cloud the most widely used long-term retention option today.
6. Cloud a Rising Data Protection Star
While the cloud is growing for simple backup, it is also on the move for deeper data protection. A majority of respondents now trust the cloud enough to use it for data protection and business continuity. Nearly one quarter more of respondents using the cloud for BCDR in just three years is a strong vote of confidence — and a wide avenue for MSPs to explore.
7. Cloud is Mature Technology
Most IT shops not using the cloud today will not stay that way for long. One-third of non-cloud users plan to add cloud within a year, and another third will add the cloud more than a year from now. By contrast, in 2016, IT admins showed a strong reluctance to adding cloud, with 55 percent having no plans to do so.
8. Cloud Trust Up, Cost Concerns Persist
In 2016, there were deep fears that the cloud could not perform as advertised. In that survey, 28 percent of respondents distrusted cloud security, 21 percent feared data would not be private, and 18 percent worried about losing control of their data. Today, cost is the most frequently cited reason for not using the cloud with functional concerns dropping dramatically from 2016 levels. This is a major shift, and enterprises should bear it in mind when presenting cloud offerings.
9. Midsize Companies Slow on Cloud Uptake
It is important for MSPs to understand that cloud will not be an ideal fit for all customers. For starters, cloud adoption rates are not equal across companies of different sizes. More than two-thirds of small enterprises (1-50 employees), 57 percent of midsize corporations (51 – 1,000 employees), and 65 percent of large enterprises (1,001+ employees) use the cloud for BCDR. On the other hand, midsize corporate cloud adoption is 12 percent to 18 percent lower than that of smaller and larger organizations.
10. Cloud Use Varies by Industry
The same variances apply by industry. In 2018, it is no surprise that technology companies lead cloud adoption with 68 percent of businesses using the cloud for BCDR. A handful of other industries, such as retail, construction, wholesale, and utilities, also have a high rate of adoption. Finance and legal, however, have the lowest cloud usage as they deal with highly proprietary data and are conservative in adopting new technologies, especially ones where they seem to lose control and potentially increase the exposure of their very private information. Still almost half of all finance, insurance, and legal organizations use the cloud. Interestingly, while healthcare data is also proprietary and sensitive, this industry leads the list of cloud adopters, perhaps because of HIPAA and ARRA incentives.
The Hybrid Cloud Answer
There is a clear need for a BCDR solution that optimizes the cloud but has a secondary backup location. This enables you to simplify your backup stack with a cloud-integrated backup appliance managed from a single console. The result? A high-value, high-margin solution with a low return on investment.
To learn more read the complete State of Cloud & Data Protection 2018 Report.