Cloud data protection trends you need to be aware of

Veeam Software released the findings of the company’s Cloud Protection Trends Report 2023, covering four key “as a Service” scenarios: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service (BaaS/DRaaS).

cloud protection trends 2023

The survey found that companies are recognizing the increasing need to protect their SaaS environments. For example, nearly 90% of Microsoft 365 customers surveyed use supplemental measures rather than relying solely on built-in recovery capabilities. Preparing for a rapid recovery from cyber and ransomware attacks was the top cited reason for this backup, with regulatory compliance the next most popular business driver.

“The growing adoption of cloud-powered tools and services, escalated by the massive shift to remote work and current hybrid work environments, put a spotlight on hybrid IT and data protection strategies across industries,” said Danny Allan, CTO and SVP of Product Strategy at Veeam.

“As cybersecurity threats continue to increase, organizations must look beyond traditional backup services and build a purposeful approach that best suits their business needs and cloud strategy. This survey shows that workloads continue to fluidly move from data centers to clouds and back again, as well as from one cloud to another — creating even more complexity in data protection strategy. The results of this survey show that while modern IT enterprises have made significant strides in cloud and data protection, there is still work to be done.”

2023 cloud protection trends

Software as a service (SaaS)
  • 90% of organizations realize they need to back up Microsoft 365. The report revealed only 1 in 9 (11%) organizations do not protect their Microsoft 365 data — a promising majority of 89% use third-party backups/BaaS or enhanced tiers of Microsoft 365 for legal hold, or both.
  • As data protection strategies have evolved and ransomware continues to be a top concern, most organizations are delegating backup responsibilities to backup specialists, instead of requiring each workload (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS) owner to protect their own data. This fuels the progression of backup becoming a conventional component tasked to the traditional backup admin versus the application team.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

While organizations of all sizes now embrace hybrid-cloud architectures, it is not a one-way journey to the cloud that reduces the importance of the modern data center.

  • 30% of cloud-hosted workloads were from “cloud first” strategies, whereby new workloads are starting in clouds at far faster rates than old workloads are being decommissioned in the data center.
  • 98% of organizations utilize a cloud-hosted infrastructure as part of their data protection strategy, including cloud-storage tiers, cloud-infrastructure as their disaster recovery site, or the use of BaaS/DRaaS providers.
  • 88% of organizations brought workloads from the cloud back to their data center for one or more reasons (development, cost/performance optimization, or disaster recovery) — highlighting a need for 2023 data protection strategies to ensure consistent protection and the ability to migrate, as workloads move from data center to cloud, cloud to data center, or from one cloud to another cloud.
  • The majority of backups of cloud workloads are now being done by the backup team and no longer require the specialized expertise or added burden of cloud administrators. However, while nearly every organization acknowledged having long-term regulatory mandates, only half of organizations retain backups of their cloud data for even one year.
Platform as a service (PaaS)

While most organizations initially “lift and shift” servers from the data center to IaaS, most agree that running foundational IT scenarios, such as file shares or databases, as native cloud-services is the future for mature IT workloads:

  • 76% run file services within cloud-hosted servers and 56% run managed file shares from AWS or Microsoft Azure
  • 78% run databases within cloud-hosted servers and 65% run managed databases from AWS or Microsoft Azure
Backup and disaster recovery as a service (BaaS/DRaaS)

Nearly every IaaS/SaaS environment also utilizes cloud services as part of their data protection strategy in some form.

  • 58% of organizations utilize managed backup (BaaS) compared to the 42% that utilize cloud storage as part of their self-managed data protection solution. Of special interest, 48% started with self-managed cloud storage but eventually switched to BaaS.
  • 98% of organizations claim to use cloud services as part of their data protection strategy, though that varies from cloud storage as a repository to full-fledged BaaS or DRaaS services.
  • BaaS is predominantly sought for gaining operational and economic efficiencies, as well as assuring data survivability from disasters and ransomware attacks. It is notable that BaaS is no longer seen as the “tape killer” that early pundits offered, with organizations stating that nearly 50% of their data is still stored on tape during its lifecycle, regardless of their use of cloud-based data protection services.
  • DRaaS is perceived as surpassing the tactical benefits of BaaS by providing expertise around BCDR planning, implementation, and testing. Expertise is perceived as a primary differentiator by subscribers choosing their BaaS/DRaaS provider, based on business acumen, technical IT recovery architects, and operational assistance in planning and documentation of BCDR strategies.

This year’s report showed a significant shift from last year as customers are increasingly interested in outsourcing their backups and gaining a “turnkey” or “white-glove” level of management service instead of the internal IT staff continuing to manage BaaS-delivered infrastructure. This shift indicates that experience and trust in providers is increasing and could also point to challenges over the past year with the IT talent supply chain.

The report is the result of a third-party research firm that surveyed 1,700 unbiased IT leaders from 7 countries (US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, New Zealand) on their use of cloud services in both production and protection scenarios to deliver the largest single view into the trajectory of hybrid strategies across the modern IT enterprise in today’s cloud-first digital landscape.

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