EMEA businesses ignoring the cloud when it comes to backup

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Despite an explosion in digital transformation projects which means that businesses are generating and storing more data than ever before, businesses in EMEA are failing to exploit the benefits of cloud backup, and place too much trust in platform providers such as Microsoft to protect their data.

That’s according to the findings of a new study of 432 IT professionals, business executives and backup administrators released today by Barracuda Networks, the leader in cloud-enabled security and data protection solutions. The study was commissioned to celebrate World Backup Day, with the aim to examine the attitudes of EMEA organisations to backup and recovery.

NEW RESEARCH: Majority of businesses in EMEA say they are not using public cloud for data backup or backup replication. Click To Tweet

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More to protect than ever before

Modern enterprises are notable for their distributed nature, so it was perhaps no surprise to find that the vast majority of EMEA respondents claimed to backup between one and five sites. Slightly more eye-opening was that 8% of respondents were backing-up for over 26 sites. This shows the potential volume and complexity of data that backup administrators are being expected to manage and demonstrates why multi-site support is crucial for most firms when seeking a backup provider.

Added to this complexity are the wide range of systems and software that EMEA organisations are looking to protect via backups. Most popular data types were Email (76%), databases (94%) and proprietary application data (66%), whilst on the infrastructure side a vast number of systems including Windows Servers, File Servers, Linux Servers, VMware, Hyper-V and Desktop/Laptops were cited. Good visibility into their IT environment is important for any backup administrators, so a single trusted backup provider that can support all data types and systems is an attractive proposition.

With all those sites and systems being protected via backups, it seems that EMEA organisations can’t afford any downtime or breaches, prioritising these over both cost and support. When it came to features, survey respondents deemed product stability to be most popular, followed by file-based recovery, the ability to protect everything in the IT environment (including virtual, physical and SaaS), cost, and technical support.

The cloud’s the limit for many businesses

With the growth of the cloud showing no signs of slowing, it was surprising to find that the majority (64%) of EMEA businesses that we spoke to claimed not to back-up to the cloud. What’s more, only 57% of respondents thought it “important” or “very important” to be able to replicate backup workloads between sites or into the cloud.

Best practice suggests that organisations should back-up according to the 3-2-1 rule: that is, at least three copies, in two different formats, with one copy stored offline. Malware including ransomware often targets backup servers and can spread across logical domains, meaning that it’s vital that organisations have a safe “air gapped” copy of their data off-site for disaster recovery purposes. The cloud represents a relatively straightforward way of doing so.

Perhaps this is about confidence in the cloud, and the fact that, of those organisations that did back up to the cloud, private clouds were the most popular option (32%) seems to support this theory. The notion that public clouds like AWS and Azure and third-party backup providers are somehow ‘less secure’ could, in fact, be leaving organisations more exposed if it means fewer are backing up to the cloud.

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Misplaced confidence in Office 365

Whilst organisations claimed to have no plans to migrate their apps (51%) or file services (57%) to the public cloud email seems to be seen differently, with the majority (59%) saying that they’d either migrated, were currently doing so, or were planning to. Office 365 seems to be the beneficiary, with 60% of organisations claiming to use it. Yet there’s a problem: 41% of respondents said they are using no third-party solutions to back-up their Office 365 data, claiming Microsoft provides all the support they need.

This is a concern because in reality, Office 365 does not provide the kind of backup support most organisations require. For deleted emails, there’s just a Recycle Bin which empties after 93 days — not enough to keep GDPR regulators happy should there be a serious outage. The legislation requires that firms have “the ability to restore the availability and access to personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident.” Firms must enhance their deployments with a third-party cloud-to-cloud backup solution as an urgent priority.

Barracuda research reveals that 32% of EMEA organizations that back up data in the cloud do so in a private rather than public cloud. Click To Tweet

What does this all mean?

It’s clear that EMEA organisations are conflicted. On the one hand they want to back-up a variety of data on a range of systems across multiple sites. Yet they’re reluctant to invest in cloud backup solutions which could offer a low-cost, highly effective and hassle-free way to maintain availability and regulatory compliance. Worse, many believe that Office 365 offers comprehensive built-in backup protection: a misassumption which could leave them high-and-dry in the event of a serious incident.

The answer is to embrace cloud backup solutions, which can help them follow industry best practices in risk management. Third-party solutions can also provide crucial cloud-to-cloud backup for Office 365 environments. By taking time out to develop a coherent backup strategy and consolidating on a single trusted provider that can cover all data types and sources, IT leaders can effectively mitigate risk and in so doing support digital innovation and growth. On World Backup Day, there really is no better time to begin.

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