SYDNEY – 17 January 2013 – Organisations are widely migrating to the cloud to gain competitive advantages around speed, agility and flexibility according to Symantec Corp's. (Nasdaq: SYMC) recent Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013 Survey. In fact, more than 90 percent of all organisations are at least discussing cloud (85 percent in Australia and New Zealand), up from 75 percent a year ago. Other key survey findings showed enterprises and SMBs are experiencing escalating costs tied to rogue cloud use, complex backup and recovery, and inefficient cloud storage. Rogue clouds are defined as business groups implementing public cloud applications that are not managed by or integrated into the company's IT infrastructure.
Industry experts predict several key issues will arise in 2013 focused on the financial pressures and security challenges of cloud computing. Business continuity is seen as an important issue with the increase in cloud outages posing greater risks than security breaches. Over the holidays, a leading cloud service provider experienced an outage, which it quickly remediated. This outage impacted businesses and posed important concerns around data loss prevention, backup, time spent on data recovery and the associated costs. However, with advance preparation, organisations can build safe, agile and efficient clouds that will enable them to meet their business goals.
"By taking control of cloud deployments, companies can seize advantage of the flexibility and cost savings associated with the cloud, while minimising the data control and security risks linked with rogue cloud use," said Francis deSouza, group president, Enterprise Products and Services, Symantec.
Rogue Cloud Implementations
According to the survey, rogue cloud deployments are one of the cost pitfalls. It is a surprisingly common problem, found in more than three quarters (77 percent) of businesses within the last year (67 percent in ANZ). It also seems to be an issue experienced more by enterprises (83 percent globally, 75 percent in ANZ), due to their larger company size, than SMBs (70 percent globally, 59 percent in ANZ).
Among organisations who reported rogue cloud issues, 40 percent experienced the exposure of confidential information (ANZ 31 percent), and more than a quarter faced account takeover issues (ANZ 23 percent), defacement of web properties (ANZ 15 percent), or stolen goods or services (ANZ 27 percent). The most commonly cited reasons for undertaking rogue cloud projects were to save time and money.
Cloud Backup and Recovery Issues
Cloud is complicating backup and recovery. First, most organisations use three or more solutions to back-up their physical, virtual and cloud data – leading to increased IT inefficiencies, risk and training costs. Furthermore, 43 percent of organisations (same in ANZ) have lost cloud data (Globally: 47 percent of enterprises; 36 percent of SMBs. ANZ: 49 percent of enterprises and 36 percent of SMBs), and most (68 percent globally, 70 percent in ANZ) have experienced recovery failures.
Finally, most see cloud recovery as a slow, tedious process. Only 32 percent rate this as fast (19 percent in ANZ) and 22 percent estimate it would take three or more days to recover from a catastrophic loss of data in the cloud (ANZ 25 percent).
Inefficient Cloud Storage
One of the key advantages to cloud storage is how simple it is to provision. Sometimes this simplicity leads to inefficient cloud storage. Generally, organisations strive to maintain a storage utilisation rate above 50 percent. According to the survey, cloud storage utilisation is surprisingly low at 17 percent (only global figures available). There is a tremendous difference in this area between enterprises (which are utilising 26 percent of their storage) and SMBs (which is a shockingly low seven percent). Furthermore, roughly half admit very little, if any, of their cloud data is deduplicated (53 percent in ANZ), further compounding the problem.
Compliance and eDiscovery Concerns
According to the survey, 49 percent of organisations are concerned about meeting compliance requirements in the cloud (27 percent in ANZ), and a slightly larger number (53 percent globally, 36 percent in ANZ) are concerned about being able to prove they have met cloud compliance requirements. This concern about information in the cloud is well founded, as 23 percent of organisations have been fined for cloud privacy violations (18 percent in ANZ).
eDiscovery is creating additional pressure on businesses to quickly find the right information. One-third of businesses reported receiving eDiscovery requests for cloud data (ANZ 22 percent). Of those, two-thirds have missed their cloud discovery deadlines, leading to fines and legal risks.
Data in Transit Issues
Organisations have all sorts of assets in the cloud – such as web properties, online businesses or web applications – that require SSL certificates to protect the data in transit whether it is personal or financial information, business transactions and other online interactions. The survey showed companies found managing many SSL certificates to be highly complex: Just 27 percent rate cloud SSL certificate management as easy (ANZ 32 percent) and only 40 percent are certain their cloud-partner's certificates are in compliance with corporate standards (ANZ 30 percent).
Hidden Costs Are Easily Avoided
The survey shows ignoring these hidden costs will have a serious impact on business. However, these issues are easily mitigated with careful planning, implementation and management:
- Focus policies on information and people, not technologies or platforms
- Educate, monitor and enforce policies
- Embrace tools that are platform agnostic
- Deduplicate data in the cloud
Symantec's Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013 Survey
Symantec's 2013 Cloud Survey is a result of research conducted by ReRez in September-October 2012. The full study represents 3,236 organisations from 29 countries. Responses came from companies with a range of five to more than 5,000 employees. Of those responses, 1,358 came from SMBs and 1,878 came from enterprises. 200 organisations were surveyed across the ANZ region encompassing both large enterprises and SMBs
Read more detailed blog post: Avoiding Hidden Costs in the Cloud
- Report: Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013 Survey Results
- SlideShare: Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud Survey 2013 Results
- SlideShare: Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud Survey SMB 2013 Results
- Information Unleashed Blog Post: Avoiding Hidden Costs in the Cloud
- The Confident SMB Blog Post: Avoiding Hidden Costs in the Cloud
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