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Cloud backupFor as long as anybody remembers, backup and recovery has been the number one application workload type predicted to move into the cloud. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a survey conducted by Barracuda Networks finds that just over half the companies responding (50.6 percent) say their backups are now based in the cloud. Moreover, a full 76 percent report that at the very least they replicate their data to the cloud.

The survey doesn’t delve into how many of the respondents rely on a managed service provider to handle the backup and recovery process. But given the lack of best practices being employed, the data suggests that a lot more of them should be. Half the respondents admit they never test to see if they can recover data, and more than four out of five respondents (81.2 percent) admit they don’t test their recovery strategies more than once a year.

The survey suggests that situation deteriorates even further when cloud-based applications are involved. Among users of Microsoft Office 365, the survey finds that two-thirds have not implemented any form of data protection, with 66 percent saying they primarily rely on the recycle bin in Microsoft Office 365 to recover files.

Backup and recovery reality check

While ransomware has helped more organizations appreciate the value of backup and recovery, it’s clear not enough companies have fallen victim yet to result in a wholesale reevaluation of data protection strategies. Therein lies the challenge and opportunity for MSPs.

With each new report of a ransomware attack, most organizations are at least thinking about data protection. They’re assuming, however, that the data protection strategy they have in place works. In most cases, a test of their recovery process would quickly show them otherwise. As a marketing exercise, MSPs should offer to run those tests on behalf of a customer. There’s nothing quite as unsettling as discovering that the safety net you thought was in place isn’t going to save you after all. More often than not, the data protection strategy a customer thought they could rely on was created by the most junior person on their IT staff. After all, the first job any IT professional usually gets out of college involves overseeing backup and recovery. The odds that those entry-level hires are going to get that process right are relatively low.

Once an organization’s leaders realize just how vulnerable they really are, it becomes much simpler to talk to them about a variety of services, ranging from managing their firewalls to appreciating the difference between when they need to back up and what simply needs to be archived. But none of those conversations are going to happen so long as there’s an untested faith in the capabilities of the internal IT staff. Naturally, everyone involved in managing the data protection process has the best intentions. But, as is all too often the case elsewhere in life, the road to backup and recovery hell has already been paved with those intentions millions of times.

Photo: Vitalii Nesterchuk/Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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