IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

Zerto has published ‘The State of Data Protection and Disaster Recovery Readiness: 2021’, a survey based paper written by IDC and sponsored by Zerto. The study, which took place in Q1 2021, revealed that a large majority of respondents (94.7 percent) saw an impact to their work-from-home (WFH) data protection as a result of COVID. The survey also unearthed that 90.8 percent of respondents point to modernising data protection, including backup and disaster recovery (DR), as a top IT priority that is crucial to their organizations’ overall digital transformation.

Additionally, the survey found many organizations are modernising their infrastructure as 80 percent of new applications will be deployed in the cloud or at the edge, where most cloud applications will either be SaaS or cloud-native containerised applications, thus potentially creating a data management gap. Not only do these factors further contribute to data becoming siloed and requiring separate data protection, disaster recovery, and other solutions, but they also add infrastructure costs and staffing inefficiencies.

More specifically, the report identifies the top three IT priorities for organizations as they modernise backup and disaster recovery. These are cloud-first deployments, IT transformation, and implementing cloud-based DR.

Consequences of data disruptions

As organisations modernise and move to the cloud, the research finds that threats to data are increasing rapidly, and the consequences are becoming more serious. The survey revealed that a disturbing 95.1 percent of organizations have suffered a ransomware or malware attack in the past 12 months with more than 80 percent indicating at least one attack resulting in data corruption, 43 percent experiencing unrecoverable data within the past 12 months, and more than one third (36.6 percent) having suffered more than 25 attacks during that time. These threats have become so common that the likelihood of being a victim has become a matter of when, not if.

As these threats increase, the consequences become more costly. Nearly one third (31.1 percent) of respondents reported a direct loss of revenue, and 35 percent suffered from instances of unrecoverable data. The indirect cost in terms of people may have been even more costly with 45.4 percent reporting a loss of employee productivity and nearly half (49 percent) incurring employee overtime to combat the attack and get businesses back online. Coupled with other IDC research showing that the cost of downtime ranges from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour (varying by industry and organizational size), organizations are faced with greater revenue and employee implications.

One key point uncovered by the research is the cause of data loss when organizations experienced unrecoverable data. The number one reason was that data was lost in the gap between backups. This can be attributed to the length of time between backups being too long and an over reliance on snapshots, replicas, and standard backup schemes with recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) in hours versus seconds.

The study found that many organizations are now going to invest in their backup and disaster recovery plans as more than half (52.1 percent) plan to invest in both backup and DR improvements. As the report highlights, one of the key technologies now emerging to help IT organizations improve data protection, reduce data loss, and recover data more quickly is continuous data protection (CDP). CDP can reduce service levels— both RPO and RTO— from hours to minutes or even seconds. In fact, CDP is becoming a key means of driving toward near-zero RPO and near-zero RTO. Moreover, the highly granular nature of CDP recoveries can assist organizations in recovering to a point just prior to a cyber attack to assure recovery with the least amount of data loss possible.

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