Data protection challenges are undermining organisations’ ability to execute Digital Transformation (DX) initiatives globally, according to the Veeam Data Protection Report 2021, which has found that 58% of backups fail leaving data unprotected. Veeam Software, the leader in Backup solutions that deliver Cloud Data Management, found that against the backdrop of COVID-19 and ensuing economic uncertainty, which 40% of CXOs cite as the biggest threat to their organisation’s DX in the next 12 months, inadequate data protection and the challenges to business continuity posed by the pandemic are hindering organisations’ initiatives to transform.
The Veeam Data Protection Report 2021 surveyed more than 3,000 IT decision makers at global enterprises to understand their approaches to data protection and data management. The largest of its kind, this study examines how organisations expect to be prepared for the IT challenges they face including reacting to demand changes and interruptions in service, global influences (such as COVID-19), and more aspirational goals of IT Modernization and DX.
“Over the past 12 months, CXOs across the globe have faced a unique set of challenges around how to ensure data remains protected in a highly diverse operational landscape,” said Danny Allan, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam. “In response to the pandemic, we have seen organisations accelerate DX initiatives by years and months in order to stay in business. However, the way data is managed and protected continues to undermine them. Businesses are being held back by legacy IT and outdated data protection capabilities, as well as the time and money invested in responding to the most urgent challenges posed by COVID-19. Until these inadequacies are addressed, genuine transformation will continue to evade organisations.”
Urgent action on data protection required
Respondents stated that their data protection capabilities are unable to keep pace with the DX demands of their organisation, posing a threat to business continuity, potentially leading to severe consequences for both business reputation and performance. Despite the integral role backup plays in modern data protection, 14% of all data is not backed up at all, and 58% of recoveries fail, leaving businesses’ data unprotected and irretrievable in the event of an outage by cyber-attack. Furthermore, unexpected outages are common, with 95% of organisations experiencing them in the last 12 months; and with 1 in 4 servers having at least one unexpected outage in the prior year, the impact of downtime and data loss is experienced all too frequently. Crucially, businesses are seeing this hit their bottom line, with more than half of CXOs saying this can lead to a loss of confidence towards their organisation from customers, employees, and stakeholders.
“There are two main reasons for the lack of backup and restore success: Backups are ending with errors or are over running the allocated backup window, and secondly, restorations are failing to deliver their required SLAs,“ said Allan. “Simply put, if a backup fails, the data remains unprotected, which is a huge concern for businesses given that the impacts of data loss and unplanned downtime span from customer backlash to reduced corporate share prices. Further compounding this challenge is the fact that the digital threat landscape is evolving at an exponential rate. The result is an unquestionable gap between the data protection capabilities of businesses versus their DX needs. It is urgent that this shortfall is addressed given the pressure on organisations to accelerate their use of cloud-based technologies to serve customers in the digital economy.”
IT strategies impacted by COVID-19
CXOs are aware of the need to adopt a cloud-first approach and change the way IT is delivered in response to the digital acceleration brought about by COVID-19. Many have already done so, with 91% increasing their cloud services usage in the first months of the pandemic, and the majority will continue to do so, with 60% planning to add more cloud services to their IT delivery strategy. However, while businesses recognise the need to accelerate their DX journeys over the next 12 months, 40% acknowledge that economic uncertainty poses a threat to their DX initiatives.
DX starts with digital resiliency
As organisations increasingly adopt modern IT services at rapid pace, inadequate data protection capabilities and resources will lead to DX initiatives faltering, even failing. CXOs already feel the impact, with 30% admitting that their DX initiatives have slowed or halted in the past 12 months. The impediments to transformation are multi-faceted, including IT teams being too focused on maintaining operations during the pandemic (53%), a dependency on legacy IT systems (51%), and a lack of IT staff skills to implement new technology (49%). In the next 12 months, IT leaders will look to get their DX journeys back on track by finding immediate solutions to their critical data protection needs, with almost a third looking to move data protection to the cloud.
“One of the major shifts we have seen over the past 12 months is undoubtedly an increased digital divide between those who had a plan for digital transformation and those who were less prepared, with the former accelerating their ability to execute and the latter slowing down,” concluded Allan. “Step one to digitally transforming is being digitally resilient. Across the board organisations are urgently looking to modernise their data protection through cloud adoption. By 2023, 77% of businesses globally will be using cloud-first backup, increasing the reliability of backups, shifting cost management, and freeing up IT resources to focus on DX projects that allow the organisation to excel in the digital economy.”
Other highlights of the Veeam Data Protection Report 2021 include: