Why It's a Mistake to Rely on Cloud Providers for All Data Protection

Veritas research reveals that 69 percent of organizations wrongfully believe that data protection, data privacy and compliance are the sole responsibility of the cloud service provider.

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Turns out that when most companies trust the care of their business data to cloud services, they are mistakenly trusting it all to their service provider’s data management services when they should also be monitoring it themselves.

Storage and data management software maker Veritas Technologies on Oct. 25 came out with results of a global survey spanning 13 countries and revealing that 69 percent of organizations wrongfully believe that data protection, data privacy and compliance are the responsibility of the cloud service provider.

While cloud storage and computing providers serve as temporary caretakers of corporate data stores and are often well-equipped security-wise in their own systems, their customers are still the owners of the data and must provide their own data protection and regulatory monitoring—especially when workloads are transferred from an on-premises facility to the cloud and back again.

The study also indicated that a majority of global organizations (56 percent) now operate with a cloud-first mentality when it comes to deploying new applications and managing workloads. That’s a complete turnaround from only a few years ago, when on-premises software development was still in the driver’s seat.

Everybody's into the Cloud By Now

A mere 1 percent of organizations reported that they will not be adopting cloud over the next two years.           

"The Truth in Cloud" study, commissioned by Veritas and conducted by Vanson Bourne, surveyed 1,200 global business and IT decision makers revealed that customers are embracing the multi-cloud as a key component of their business strategies. Within the survey, customers indicated they use a variety of cloud service providers, including public clouds and hosted private clouds.

With respect to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) specifically, 67 percent of organizations stated that they use, or plan to use, two or more cloud providers. Forty-two percent said they are using, or plan to use, three or more cloud providers, with common goals of improving resiliency and data security as well as reducing capital expenditures (Capex) and operating expenses (Opex).

As customers embrace the cloud, the research explores three key areas of focus: misconceptions of data management in the public cloud, rise in multi-cloud adoption and future cloud trends. 

Misconceptions About Data Management in the Public Cloud

Although organizations are adopting a multi-cloud approach, the research shows that when it comes to public clouds specifically, there are misconceptions around which party holds the ultimate responsibility for data management: the customer or the cloud provider.

Key findings include:

  • More than eight in ten (83 percent) of organizations that use or plan to use IaaS believe that their cloud service provider takes care of protecting their data in the cloud.
  • More than two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents believe they can place all responsibility for data protection, data privacy and compliance on cloud service providers.
  • More than half (54 percent) of organizations believe it is the responsibility of the cloud service provider to securely transfer data between on-premises and cloud.
  • More than half (51 percent) believe it is the responsibility of the cloud service provider to back up workloads in the cloud.
  • More than one of two (55 per cent) of organizations also believe that application uptime is the responsibility of the cloud provider.

“Our legal teams reviewed contracts from multiple public cloud service providers to help Veritas understand what customers and cloud service providers are responsible for with respect to data management in the public cloud,” said Mike Palmer, Veritas Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer.

“Despite customers’ belief that cloud providers hold the responsibility of data management, cloud service provider contracts usually place data management responsibility on customers. Our research backed up our assumptions that the primary responsibility for data management lies with the customer.

“Veritas fully embraces a multi-cloud approach and is partnering with many leading cloud service providers to help customers manage and extract maximum value from  their applications and data,” Palmer said. 

Currently, 75 percent of organizations work with an IaaS public cloud provider and surprisingly, 16 percent of respondents say that they use, or plan to use, five or more cloud providers. Respondents stated that data privacy, security and compliance, workload performance and uptime are the top deciding factors impacting cloud provider selection.

Future Cloud Trends

According to the study, IT spending on cloud technologies-- including public cloud providers--is expected to rise from 12 percent in 2017 to 18 percent within the next two years. The trend is likely to continue and increase, as more than half (58 percent) of organizations that currently use one cloud provider indicate they plan to expand their portfolio across multiple cloud platforms.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...