Majority of IT and business leaders saw impact on WFH data protection — IDC and Zerto

The IDC and Zerto study, “The State of Data Protection and Disaster Recovery Readiness: 2021“, also revealed that 90.8% of respondents point to modernising data protection, including backup and disaster recovery (DR), as a top IT priority for the company’s overall digital transformation.

More specifically, the report identifies the top three IT priorities for organisations as they modernise backup and DR: cloud-first deployments, IT transformation, and implementing cloud-based DR.

Additionally, the survey found that many businesses are modernising their infrastructure, as 80% of new applications will be deployed in the cloud or at the edge, where most cloud applications will either be SaaS or cloud-native containerised apps.

This trend is likely to lead to a data management gap, and would further contribute to data becoming siloed and requiring separate data protection and other solutions, as well as adding infrastructure costs and staffing inefficiencies.

Rising threats to data disruptions

As more organisations look to modernise and migrate to the cloud, the study revealed that 95.1% of companies surveyed have suffered a ransomware or malware attack in the past 12 months.

Of those affected, over 80% indicated at least one attack resulting in data corruption, while 43% experienced unrecoverable data within the past 12 months, and more than one third (36.6%) suffered over 25 attacks during this timeframe.

Regarding the causes of data loss and unrecoverable data, the most frequently cited reason was that data was lost in the gap between backups. This can be attributed to the length of time between backups being too long; an over reliance on snapshots and replicas; and standard backup schemes with recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) in hours versus seconds.

Costs have also been found to be rising with these threats, with nearly one third (31.1%) of respondents reporting a direct loss of revenue, while 35% suffered from instances of unrecoverable data.

The indirect cost in terms of staff may have been even more costly, with 45.4% reporting a loss of employee productivity, and nearly half (49%) incurring employee overtime to combat the attack and get businesses back online.

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Increased investment in backup and DR

With these rising threats to data has come realisation of the need to invest more in solutions to combat data loss; more than half (52.1%) of respondents plan to invest in both backup and DR improvements.

One of the key technologies now emerging to help IT organisations improve data protection, reduce data loss, and recover data more quickly is continuous data protection (CDP), which can reduce RPO and RTO from hours to minutes, or even seconds.

Moreover, the highly granular nature of CDP recoveries can assist organisations in recovering to a point just prior to a cyber attack to assure recovery with the least amount of data loss possible.

“These survey results indicate that modernising data protection, including backup and DR, are high priorities for many IT organisations,” said Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC.

“CDP is a technology that is gaining traction in the industry. This technology, which is a part of modern backup solutions, can significantly lessen the potential for data loss regardless of cause, while reducing the time to recovery and simplifying recovery CDP is the solution the industry requires.”

Caroline Seymour, vice-president of product marketing at Zerto, commented: “We’re experiencing unprecedented times, requiring organisations to focus resources on providing ‘always-on’ data protection, especially as they deal with an increase of downtime due to various planned and unplanned disruptions.

“This research from IDC shows why CDP is important for organisations as they look to modernise their backup and disaster recovery to overcome the hurdles they face and ensure they are always protected and can focus on accelerating digital initiatives.”

IDC’s white paper, conducted in early 2021, involved 506 senior IT and business leaders from medium-to-large scale organisations across North America and Europe.