The amount of data created and held by companies is increasing exponentially, and keeping it safe continues to be a major cause for concern. At the same time, cloud computing, rather than remaining a theoretical concept, is now a reality for many organizations. Data loss continues to be a huge problem for companies across North America that are looking to cloud-based platforms for a solution, according to a survey commissioned by CA Technologies, Insights: Data Protection and the Cloud.
The study of 300 companies across North America (200 in the U.S., 100 in Canada), which was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research, found that 55 percent of U.S. organizations expect their use of the cloud to increase as part of their business-continuity strategy over the next year. The study is a follow-up to a previous CA Technologies survey, The Avoidable Cost of Downtime, which found that the cost of outages to a company over a year is in the range of $160,000.
Disaster recovery incidents are a significant problem for Northern American organizations; every single one surveyed admitted to data or application loss over the previous year. There were numerous causes, but at 76 percent, IT systems failures, such as a network or software failure emerged as the most prevalent. That cause was followed by employee or human error (41 percent) and external attacks on IT (35 percent). Of the U.S. companies surveyed, 49 percent have increased their expenditure on data protection solutions, compared with last year and 36 percent have sustained investment, while only 14 percent have decreased it.
The proportion of businesses assured of their datas safety in the public cloud stood at 73 percent, suggesting confidence in cloud storage is growing. More than four out of five (84 percent) U.S. and Canadian organizations that have data residing in a private cloud said they are confident that it is adequately protected. Moreover, 36 percent of organizations in the U.S. said they have data stored in a public cloud, with 76 percent storing data in a private cloud.
When quizzed on the key barriers to better data protection and disaster recovery operations, businesses pointed to inadequate training of IT personnel (reported by 62 percent of U.S. organizations) and lack of budget (54 percent). Just 26 percent of organizations in the U.S. have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, although the majority of them reported they would implement one within the next year, the survey found. Another significant challenge was lack of employee understanding of procedures in the disaster recovery plan, which was reported by 40 percent of companies in the United States.
It is broadly acknowledged that cloud computing can offer many benefits to organizations that require more agile and cost-effective ways of delivering IT services, Bill Mann, senior vice president of data management at CA said in a statement. This survey reveals that one of those benefits is improved data protectionwhich remains a huge challenge in conventional, noncloud environments.