Organizations lack protocols to protect data in the cloud

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While sixty-two percent of survey respondents are leveraging the cloud and/or virtualization, only 33 percent of these organizations test data recovery plans regularly to ensure proper protocols are in place to protect this data, according to a survey conducted by Kroll Ontrack of 367 enterprise and services providers.

Forty-nine percent of organizations reported experiencing some type of data loss in the last year, but not necessarily from the cloud.

Fifty-five percent denoted data was lost from a traditional storage device in contrast to 26 percent who reported a data loss from a virtual environment, 3 percent who reported a loss from the cloud and 16 percent who experienced data loss from both a virtual environment as well as the cloud.

“It is clear that the cloud is quickly gaining ground among organizations looking to streamline their technology infrastructure and cut IT costs, as 26 percent of respondents reported leveraging IaaS, 16 percent reported leveraging SaaS and 13 percent reported utilizing both IaaS and SaaS,” said Abhik Mitra, data recovery product manager, Kroll Ontrack.

“However, if there is anything that technology has taught us, it is that data loss can occur in any environment, regardless of the specific technology. The key to minimizing a data loss risk and successfully recovering from a loss is asking the right questions prior to adopting a new storage medium and amending your policies and procedures accordingly,” Mitra added.

Key questions to consider prior to incorporating cloud in your storage architecture include:

  • Are backup systems and protocols in place? Do these systems and protocols meet your own in-house backup standards?
  • Does your cloud vendor have a data recovery provider identified in its business continuity/disaster recovery plan?
  • What are the service level agreements with regard to data recovery, liability for loss, remediation and business outcomes?
  • Can you share data between cloud services? If you terminate a cloud relationship can you get your data back? If so, what format will it be in? How can you be sure all other copies are destroyed?

When asked about their cloud provider’s ability to properly handle data loss incidents, only 29 percent revealed a lack of confidence, compared to 55 percent of respondents in 2011. However, just 17 percent of respondents revealed that they test their data recovery plan regularly to validate technical and personnel readiness against cloud or virtual data loss technical recovery capabilities and 13 percent responded that they do not have a data recovery plan.

“Virtualization is the engine of cloud technology. If virtualization fails, the cloud fails,” added Mitra. “Whether it is human error or an operating failure, it is important to know who to turn to. Only 14 percent initially turn to a data recovery provider. The first chance of recovery is always the best chance, so it is critical to have a data recovery provider that is experienced in complex storage platforms such as virtual environments denoted in your data recovery plan.”