Don’t have your head in the clouds when it comes to modern data protection

cybersecurity, cyber crime

By Pam Napier, senior manager of cloud UK&I at Veeam

Cloud adoption is a critical part of a business’ digital transformation journey, and a non-negotiable in order to continue competing and offering exceptional service in today’s digital landscape.

Simply put, it’s a must-do rather than a nice-to-have. In fact, Gartner research suggests enterprise IT spending on cloud computing will overtake spending on traditional IT by 2025, after previously predicting that 75% of all databases will be migrated to the cloud by the end of this year, a shift being driven by the enhanced data and analytics capabilities it will provide. In support of this, the Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2022 found that 41% of European IT leaders consider hybrid-cloud workload protection as the most important aspect of enterprise data backup this year.

Initially catalysed by the pandemic to enable the shift to working from home, the benefits of cloud adoption in all areas of enterprise IT are still ringing true. Alongside more sophisticated data and analytics tools, this includes a reduction in risk and admin pressures on IT staff, more agility to respond to market changes and launch new capabilities and services to market. Some suggest that the pandemic actually validated the cloud’s position.

However, it’s vital that as cloud adoption and usage continue to grow, that businesses are putting the correct security measures in place for this new environment. Lifting and shifting current security processes isn’t enough. To put this in perspective, when it comes to data protection, Veeam’s research found that 65% of UKI businesses use cloud services as part of their data backup solution, meaning 35% are only using on-premises solutions. If Gartner’s research is correct, and 75% of databases are hosted in the cloud by the end of this year, a certain number of businesses won’t have suitable Modern Data Protection measures in place for this new environment.

Assess and mitigate the risks involved

Data migration is a vital part of cloud adoption, but one that’s easy to get wrong. A key reason moving data to the cloud fails, becomes vulnerable or falls victim to a cyberattack, is poor planning and implementation. In order to succeed at this process, businesses must ensure they have a fool-proof plan in place before getting started that encompasses the full spectrum of threats and vulnerabilities that they may face. To accompany this process, they must also have contingency plans for these vulnerabilities: what countermeasures need to be taken to ensure that they can still access their data if the worst should happen?

Furthermore, when migrating data to the public cloud, it’s vital that IT decision-makers fully understand who is responsible for the data hosted there and the repercussions this ownership may have in the event of a breach. They are putting their data in the hands of another entity, so they need to be confident that it’s secure and protected.

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Give your employees the tools they need

The speed with which cloud adoption has taken hold means that there is a damaging digital skills shortage facing the IT industry, which is providing a barrier to seamless cloud migration. Veeam’s research found that a lack of IT staff skills or transformation expertise was preventing 54% organisations from moving forward with their digital transformation initiatives. Therefore, staff need to be proactively trained on how to use the new cloud services they have access to and the new security risks they may now face. The insider threat is a common cause of enterprise data breaches, but one that is preventable, if employees are given the correct tools and training. This goes for both IT staff, who are more directly involved in the process, but also colleagues in other departments who may not be as aware of the complexities that it brings. To facilitate staff education, businesses should invest in thorough inductions and annual training courses, as employees are always the first line of defence when it comes to security and compliance. Furthermore, to foster a positive security culture, organisations should have a CISO or similar who oversees these processes and can provide clear security guidance that can be rolled out company-wide.

The benefits of the cloud are obvious – such as its scalability, agility and flexible pricing – proven by the rapid adoption and vast increase in spending enterprises are pouring into it. Veeam’s research predicts that by 2023, 81% businesses are expected to use cloud services as part of their data backup solution, up from 67% this year. However, in their rush to take advantage of what the cloud can offer, it’s crucial that businesses don’t forget to take data security into account. Data is their most valuable asset, so moving it to a new environment doesn’t come without risks. If the data is not properly cared for or protected, this could have vast legal, financial and reputational consequences. However, the solution is simple: adopting a modern approach to data protection that is tailored specifically to the cloud to support this modern IT environment.

About the author

Pamela Napier is senior manager of cloud for the UK and Ireland at Veeam. In this position, she oversees the strategic direction of the UK&I cloud team, driving the Veeam Cloud and Service Provider (VCSP) partner ecosystem and increasing growth. She joined Veeam in January 2018, having previously held positions in channel management, SIs and end user sales during her 20 years in IT. During her initial tenure at Veeam, Pamela participated in much of the business’ early success in the VCSP team and went on to expand responsibility as team lead and was then promoted to manager of the VCSP team in October 2019.

Pamela came to Veeam after seeing the IT market shift to cloud, and took a move away from vendor sales to cloud providers to gain valuable knowledge in order to follow her ambition to move back to vendor cloud sales. She has a real passion for sales, problem solving and developing people, and prides herself on her empathetic approach. Pamela has a wealth of knowledge and experience and is always willing to share that knowledge through coaching and mentoring.