Cloud computing as key to improved data protection

More than half (55%) of U.S. organizations expect their use of the cloud to increase as part of their business continuity strategy over the next year, according to CA.

Canadian organizations are starting to make the switch but are less advanced than their American counterparts, with a quarter (23%) reporting they will use the cloud for data protection.

The survey shows that data loss continues to be a huge problem for companies across North America. All of the 300 organizations surveyed across both the U.S. and Canada admitted to incidents in the last year which led to data or application loss. Despite the high levels of data being lost, only a quarter (26%) of U.S. and Canadian companies reported having an adequate data protection plan in place.

To combat this precarious situation, budgets are growing and strategies are evolving. Of the U.S. companies surveyed, almost half (49%) have increased their expenditure compared to last year, while only 14% have decreased it. This, together with the fact that organizations are beginning to appreciate that cloud resources can offer a solution to these requirements, should lead to fewer incidents of data loss.

About a third (36%) of organizations in the U.S. report having data stored in a public cloud, with more than three quarters (76%) storing data in a private cloud. In Canada, the cloud storage rate is lower, with 28% storing data in a public cloud and 45% using a private cloud.

Those using the cloud for data storage feel safe doing so. More than four out of five (84%) U.S. and Canadian organizations that have data residing in a private cloud are confident that it is adequately protected. The percentage of businesses assured of their data’s safety in the public cloud is also high at 73%.

“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,” said Bill Mann, senior vice president, Data Management, CA Technologies. “This survey reveals that one of those benefits is improved data protection—which remains a huge challenge in conventional, non-cloud environments.”

The study also highlighted the main triggers of data loss. The most common cause (76%) was IT system failures (encompassing network, storage, hardware and software failures) followed by employee or human error (41%) and external attacks on IT (35%).

When asked about the key barriers to better data protection and disaster recovery operations, businesses pointed to inadequate training of IT personnel (reported by 62% of U.S. organizations) and lack of budget (54%). Organizations in Canada also reported a lack of employee understanding of procedures in the DR plan (40%).

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