Businesses must be proactive with cloud data protection

Advances in technology have given way to the growing adoption of the cloud and virtualization to enhance server performance and overall business operations. A new study by Kroll Ontrack noted that approximately 62 percent of organizations are now leveraging these services. However, only one-third are regularly testing their data recovery programs to ensure mission-critical information is available and protected at all times.

"It is clear that the cloud is quickly gaining ground among organizations looking to streamline their technology infrastructure and cut information technology (IT) costs, as 26 percent of respondents reported leveraging Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), 16 percent reported leveraging Software as a Service (SaaS) and 13 percent reported utilizing both IaaS and SaaS," Abhik Mitra, a data recovery manager at Kroll Ontrack, said.

Despite the benefits associated with leveraging the cloud, not many decision-makers are taking the appropriate precautions to ensure sensitive data is protected. In fact, 49 percent of survey respondents said they experienced some type of data breach within the last year, although not necessarily through the cloud. However, 3 percent of IT professionals said they lost valuable information through their cloud computing platform, while 16 percent said they did so from both their cloud and other virtual environment, Kroll Ontrack reported.

Businesses need to be proactive with their virtual defense strategies and ensure proper protocols are in place to minimize damage if an unforeseen event does occur. Decision-makers should ensure their cloud or other service provider offers data recovery capabilities that can enhance a company's continuity plan, Kroll Ontrack said. This is especially important when organizations are using virtualization.

"Virtualization is the engine of cloud technology. If virtualization fails, the cloud fails," Mitra said.

A separate report by InformationWeek noted that companies need to establish robust yet realistic service-level agreements to ensure disaster recovery plans operate efficiently in the cloud and other virtual landscapes. Not every service provider will offer the same benefits and it's important to find the vendor that offers the most advantageous offerings that meet specific demands.

As the cloud computing and virtualization markets continue to expand and evolve, it will become increasingly important that businesses be proactive and implement the appropriate tools to ensure sensitive data is accessible and safe at all times. This is especially true as web threats evolve and become more menacing.

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