Despite sensitive data being increasingly moved to the cloud, research carried out by business continuity and disaster recovery provider, Databarracks, reveals over 60 per cent of organisations have not evaluated the continuity risks for their cloud services over the past year.
Recently, McAfee published findings from its Cloud Adoption and Risk Report showing over a fifth (21 per cent) of organisations regularly store files in the cloud containing sensitive data. This is a 17 per cent increase from over the past two years. The number of files with sensitive data shared in the cloud has also increased 53 per cent year-on-year. These findings are a concern in context against research carried out by Databarracks.
From a survey of 400 IT professionals, only 40 per cent of organisations have evaluated the continuity risks for their cloud services in the past 12 months. 17 per cent of businesses have no plans to address this over the next 12 months. Further to this, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of organisations admit to not having backup or recovery capabilities in place, beyond the standard default options offered by their cloud provider.
Peter Groucutt, managing director of Databarracks commented, “McAfee’s research shows the increase in ‘sensitive data’ in the cloud. That data must be protected, just as it has been previously for systems held in internally managed data centres.
“In many ways cloud computing is vastly more secure and resilient but it’s worth noting that several issues do carry equal risk, regardless of whether systems are on-premises or in the cloud. There is the potential for disgruntled users intentionally deleting data. Or, the potential for hackers to gain access and do the same. Or, for malware to encrypt or delete your data. For those reasons alone, it is vital to have reliable backups in place.”
Groucutt continues, “SaaS solutions will have a level of resilience built in, but that ‘standard’ option may not be sufficient. If there is a problem with a database, you may have to recover from a backup 24 hours ago, recovering the entire database rather than an individual record. Those options often make recoveries impractical because you wouldn’t want to lose a day’s worth of work to save a single mistake. Another common issue is that deleted files are removed after a short period, as little as 30 days, which is insufficient for certain compliance requirements.
“Addressing this is simple. Firstly, find what levels of protection are included. If it isn’t enough, the Cloud Service Provider itself may have additional options that will meet your need. If those options still aren’t adequate, take matters into your own hands and setup your own additional data protection methods.
“There are a range of different options depending on the type of cloud service. For self-service public cloud providers, all the tools are available, but it’s up to you to setup backups and copies across multiple regions, back to your site or to another cloud. With SaaS services the customer doesn’t have the same level of access to the infrastructure but in most cases, you can set up your own methods to give you the level of protection you need.”