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Many businesses did not evaluate business continuity risks for cloud services prior to switching to remote working

New research from Databarracks shows that just 46 percent of UK organizations surveyed had evaluated their business continuity risks for cloud services compared with on-premises IT in the months before widespread remote working – and the accompanying growth in the use of cloud applications – began.

The findings, taken from Databarracks’ annual Data Health Check survey, show a third of organizations (32 percent) had also not assessed any business continuity challenges for staff working from home.

Peter Groucutt, Managing Director of Databarracks, commented:

“Despite UK restrictions easing, remote working looks set to become a permanent fixture for large proportions of the workforce. However, the research suggests that businesses still have some way to go to ensure business continuity and security risks are minimised.

“Throughout the 2010s, there was a rush to cloud computing as a panacea to solve every IT problem. When the hype subsided, we started to gain a real picture of both its benefits and limitations. We saw that backups included in cloud services aren’t always as comprehensive or granular and need to be supplemented. We also found that when SaaS services go down, it’s much harder to revert to an alternative. Recent Google and Zoom outages have shown exactly that.

“With on-premises IT, if a server failed, you would recover it from a backup or fail-over to your DR site. If a SaaS solution fails, you simply have to wait until service resumes. The way you maintain continuity is different. Think laterally about mitigations you can implement to keep the business operating in the event of a failure.

“We have also found the methods of remotely accessing applications are far from standard. A quarter of businesses are entirely cloud-based, accessing SaaS applications via the internet. The rest is a mix of Virtual Desktops, remotely accessing office desktops or most concerningly, using local applications and manually transferring data to corporate systems. Using applications locally and transferring data later works in a pinch, but it’s more of a workaround than a permanent measure. Our experience says these manual processes are the ones that go wrong and cause problems.

“Now is the time to reassess remote access and make changes for the longer term. That also means looking at the devices staff are using. Over half of the organizations we surveyed were using employee-owned devices. You may also want to consider company owned laptops for all employees to standardise and simplify management.”

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