Rogue clouds, outages and hidden costs threaten business

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17 January 2013

Interest in public cloud services has increased to 90%, from 75% a year ago, among businesses of all sizes, finds the Symantec   "Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013" survey, but these same organisations are experiencing escalating costs "tied to rogue cloud use, complex backup and recovery, and inefficient cloud storage".

As well as hidden costs, concerns were also highlighted around business continuity and "the increase in cloud outages posing greater risks than security breaches", said the survey report.

"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.

 

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According to the survey, rogue cloud deployments are one of the cost problem areas. It is a surprisingly common problem, according to the survey, which was reported in more than three quarters (77%) of businesses within the last year. It also seems to be an issue experienced more by enterprises (83%), due to their larger company size, than smaller businesses (70%).

Among organisations who reported rogue cloud issues, 40% experienced the exposure of confidential information, and more than a quarter faced account takeover issues, defacement of web properties, or stolen goods or services. The most commonly cited reasons for undertaking rogue cloud projects were to save time and money.

Cloud is complicating backup and recovery, the survey found. 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% of organisations have lost cloud data (47% of enterprises and 36% of smaller businesses), and most (68%) have experienced recovery failures.

Most of the organisations surveyed see cloud recovery as a slow, tedious process. Only 32% rate this is as fast and 22% estimate it would take three or more days to recover from a catastrophic loss of data in the cloud.

One of the key advantages to cloud storage is its ease of provision. However, sometimes this simplicity leads to inefficient cloud storage, the survey reports. Generally, organisations strive to maintain a storage utilisation rate above 50%. According to the survey, cloud storage utilisation is surprisingly low at 17%. There is a tremendous difference in this area between enterprises (which are utilising 26% of their storage) and smaller businesses (which just 7%). Furthermore, roughly half admit very little, if any, of their cloud data is de-duplicated, further compounding the problem.

According to the survey, almost half (49%) of organisations are concerned about meeting compliance requirements in the cloud, and a slightly larger number (53%) 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% of organisations have been fined for cloud privacy violations.

eDiscovery is creating additional pressure on businesses to quickly find the right information. One third of businesses reported receiving eDiscovery requests for cloud data. Of those, two-thirds have missed their cloud discovery deadlines, leading to fines and legal risks.

TechCentral Reporters

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