According to the Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2022, the disconnect between business expectations and IT’s ability to deliver has never been more impactful, which found that 89 per cent of organisations are not protecting data sufficiently. Veeam Software, the leader in backup, recovery and data management solutions that deliver modern data protection, found that 88 per cent of IT leaders expect data protection budgets to rise at a higher rate than broader IT spending as data becomes more critical to business success and the challenges of protecting it grow in complexity. More than two-thirds are turning to cloud-based services to protect essential data.

The Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2022 surveyed more than 3,000 IT decision makers and global enterprises to understand their data protection strategies for the next 12 months and beyond. The largest of its kind, this study examines how organizations are preparing for the IT challenges they face, including huge growth in use of cloud services and cloud-native infrastructure, as well as the expanding cyber-attack landscape and the steps they are taking to implement a modern data protection strategy that ensures business continuity.

As per Anand Eswaran, chief executive officer, Veeam Software, “Data growth over the past two years (since the pandemic) has more than doubled, in no small part to how we have embraced remote working and cloud-based services and so forth. As data volumes have exploded, so too have the risks associated with data protection; ransomware being a prime example. This research shows that organisations recognise these challenges and are investing heavily, often due to having fallen short in delivering the protection users need. Businesses are losing ground as modernisation of ‘production’ platforms is outpacing their modernisation of ‘protection’ methods and strategies. Data volumes and platform diversity will continue to rise, and the cyber-threat landscape will expand. So, chief experience officers (CXOs) must invest in a strategy that plugs the gaps they already have and keeps pace with rising data protection demands.”

As per the survey, respondents stated that their data protection capabilities cannot keep pace with the demands of the business, with 89 per cent reporting a gap between how much data they can afford to lose after an outage versus how frequently data is backed up. This has risen by 13 per cent in the past 12 months, indicating that while data continues to grow in volume and importance, so do the challenges in protecting it to a satisfactory level. The key driver behind this is that the data protection challenges facing businesses are immense and increasingly diverse.

For the second year in a row, cyberattacks have been the single biggest cause of downtime, with 76 per cent of organisations reporting at least one ransomware event in the past 12 months. Not only is the frequency of these events alarming, so is their potency. Per attack, organizations were unable to recover 36 per cent of their lost data, proving that data protection strategies are currently failing to help businesses prevent, remediate and recover from ransomware attacks.

Commenting on the report, Danny Allan, CTO, Veeam Software, said, “As cyberattacks become increasingly sophisticated and even more difficult to prevent, backup and recovery solutions are essential foundations of any organisation’s modern data protection strategy. For peace of mind, organisations need 100 per cent certainty that backups are being completed within the allocated window and restorations deliver within required SLAs. The best way to ensure data is protected and recoverable in the event of a ransomware attack is to partner with a third-party specialist and invest in an automated and orchestrated solution that protects the myriad data centre and cloud-based production platforms that organisations of all sizes rely on today.”

Besides, the report also informed that in order to close the gap between data protection capabilities and this growing threat landscape, organisations will spend around 6 per cent more annually on data protection than broader IT investments. While this will only go some way to reversing the trend of data protection needs outpacing ability to execute, it is positive to see CXOs acknowledge the urgent need for modern data protection.

As cloud continues its trajectory to becoming the dominant data platform, 67 per cent of organisations already use cloud services as part of their data protection strategy, while 56 per cent now run containers in production or plan to in the next 12 months. Platform diversity will expand during 2022, with the balance between data centre (52 per cent) and cloud servers (48 per cent) continuing to close. This is one reason 21 per cent of organisations rated the ability to protect cloud-hosted workloads as the most important buying factor for enterprise data protection in 2022 and 39 per cent believe IaaS/SaaS capabilities to be the definitive attribute of modern data protection.

Meanwhile, Allan further added, “The power of hybrid IT architectures is driving both production and protection strategies through cloud-storage and disaster recovery utilising cloud-hosted infrastructure. The benefits of investing in modern data protection go beyond providing peace of mind, ensuring business continuity and maintaining customer confidence. To balance expenditure against strategic digital initiatives, IT leaders must implement robust solutions at the lowest possible cost.”

Other key findings from the ‘Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2022’ include:

  • Businesses have an availability gap – 90 per cent of respondents confirmed they have an availability gap between their expected SLAs and how quickly they can return to productivity. This has risen by 10 per cent since 2021.
  • Data remains unprotected – Despite backup being a fundamental part of any data protection strategy, 18 per cent of global organisations’ data is not backed up — therefore, completely unprotected.
  • Human error is far too common – Technical failures are the most frequent cause of downtime with an average of 53 per cent of respondents experiencing outages across infrastructure/networking, server hardware and software. 46 per cent of respondents experienced cases of administrator configuration error, while 49 per cent were hindered by accidental deletion, overwriting of data or corruption caused by users.
  • Protecting remote workers – Only 25 per cent of organizations utilise orchestrated workflows to reconnect resources during a disaster, while 45 per cent run predefined scripts to reconnect resources running remotely in the event of downtime and 29 per cent manually reconfigure user connectivity.
  • Economic drivers remain critical – When asked about the most important factors when purchasing an enterprise data solution, 25 per cent of IT leaders are motivated by improving the economics of their solution.