Despite sensitive data being increasingly moved to the cloud, extensive research recently carried out by business continuity and disaster recovery solutions provider Databarracks reveals that over 60% of organisations have not evaluated the continuity risks for their cloud services over the past year.
Recently, McAfee published the findings from its Cloud Adoption and Risk Report showing that over a fifth (21%) of organisations regularly store files in the cloud containing sensitive data. This is a 17% increase from over the past two years. The number of files with sensitive data shared in the cloud has also increased 53% year-on-year. These findings are a concern when set in context against research carried out by Databarracks.
From a survey of 400 IT professionals, only 40% of organisations have evaluated the continuity risks for their cloud services in the past 12 months. 17% of businesses have no plans to address this issue over the next 12 months. Further to this, almost a quarter (23%) of organisations admit to not having back-up or recovery capabilities in place beyond the standard default options offered by their cloud solutions 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’s 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’s vital to have reliable back-ups in place.”
Groucutt continued: “SaaS solutions will have a level of resilience built-in, but that ‘standard’ option may not be sufficient. If there’s a problem with a database, you may have to recover from a back-up 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, often as little as 30 days, which is insufficient for certain compliance requirements.”
In addition, Groucutt stated: “Addressing this is simple. First, 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 needs. If those options are not adequate, take matters into your own hands and establish 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 establish back-ups 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.”