The appeal and the pitfalls of Backup in the cloud: part two

04/03/20

The appeal and the pitfalls of backup in the cloud: part two

In our last blog, we explored the dangers of companies failing to understand their cloud providers’ backup offering services fully – from compliance issues to data loss, the pitfalls are considerable. In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at why it is that so many organisations rely on cloud providers to take care of backup, and what challenges they face in trying to ensure they fully understand cloud offerings.

What are the appeals?

Cloud adoption has become increasingly important to the modern business and the scale of migration is continuing to rise; for instance, IaaS use rose by 40 percent, and SaaS by 41 percent, from 2017 to 2019. However, this growth means that backup environments are also expanding and becoming more complex.

4sl found that 61 percent of enterprises are struggling with an extremely complex backup environment. In addition, more than half of enterprises said that the cloud makes backup harder and 58 percent said that the nature of the cloud makes it more difficult to enforce backup policies. When faced with these challenges, any opportunity to give responsibility for backup to another party can seem extremely attractive – especially if it’s as part of an existing service. More than 70 percent of enterprises saw offloading the backup problem as a benefit of adopting cloud services.

What are the pitfalls?

However, as we saw in part one of this blog, backup is never quite as simple as passing on all responsibility with no questions asked. A big reason for this is regulatory; 80 percent of enterprises say they have to retain backups for a specific length of time to meet regulatory obligation. We’ve already seen how many enterprises have wildly varying beliefs about just how long their backup data is held by cloud services, and indeed only 30 percent actually know their cloud service providers’ backup and recovery processes in detail, raising a serious issue of compliance.

As such, cloud is a double-edged sword. While many enterprises can see it as entirely necessary in order to access the services they need, or as a shortcut to dealing with other infrastructure challenges, without a thorough understanding of exactly what processes cloud providers follow, enterprises could be putting themselves at risk.

One potential solution is ensuring that the enterprise deploys and operates a data retention layer across all systems and locations, whether cloud or on-premises. However, this requires the right technologies and the right skills – and 66 percent of enterprises say that a lack of skills has made backup more difficult. Resolving this should be a top priority. Training or recruitment can help address this skills gap. However, training takes time, and with two thirds of enterprises lacking skills the right talent will be in high demand. Another option is working with a third party, either tactically to address gaps in cloud coverage, or strategically across all data sources to do what the organisation prefers not to or cannot do itself.

Embracing responsibility

It’s no exaggeration that managing backup is a challenge. Yet if organisations are moving their data to the cloud, they have an obligation to do it correctly or else face risks of non-compliance and data loss.

This doesn’t mean understanding every in-and-out of backup. But organisations do need to have a grasp of the exact capabilities available, and what data may be at risk. They must also understand precisely how the latest technology advances such as microservices impact backup, and how to adapt to them. Lastly, they need to keep abreast with any changes to the services they use. For instance, enterprises using Salesforce should know how the retirement of its paid data recovery service will affect them, and plan accordingly.

Whether they do this themselves or rely on outside help, enterprises need to act.

Read more here: https://www.4sl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/research-report-nov-2019.pdf

Barnaby Mote