Fleeing Data Protection Pros Compound Ransomware Worries: Survey

Ransomware is still plaguing IT -- it's still the No. 1 cause of server outages -- but dissatisfied data protection pros seeking new jobs present a new concern, a new survey-based report indicates.

Lack of new skills or learning opportunities and the inability to influence strategic direction were cited as the top two reasons data protection pros intend to dump their current employers in the new 2024 Data Protection Trends Report from data protection and ransomware recovery specialist Veeam.

It's the fifth annual report from the company and the first to address the problem of fleeing talent, who cited "ramifications of a cyberattack or other disaster" as their third-highest concern, followed by lack of career development/progression and lack of management support.

"New to the survey for 2024 was the discovery that nearly half (47 percent) of IT leaders and implementers for data protection intend to seek a new job outside of their current organization," the report said. "In contrast, only 1 in 3 intend to remain in role/org and another 1 in 5 are undecided."

Likely to Leave
[Click on image for larger view.] Likely to Leave (source: Veeam).

"While losing valuable data protection talent puts organizations at a significant disadvantage when crises inevitably strike, the market shift presents an opportunity to add knowledge to protect modern production workloads that reside in clouds, such as Microsoft 365, Kubernetes containers, or other IaaS/PaaS deployments," the company said in a Jan. 17 news release.

Meanwhile, ransomware still reigns.

"Ransomware continues to be the biggest threat to business continuity,” said Dave Russell, VP of Enterprise Strategy at Veeam. "It's the number one cause of outages today, and protecting against it is hampering digital transformation efforts. Furthermore, although companies are increasing their spend on protection, less than a third of companies believe they can recover quickly from a small attack."

The report indicated 37 percent of servers had at least one unexpected outage in 2023, with cyberattacks listed as the cause of the most impactful outage -- for the fourth year in a row.

Natural Disasters Add to Woes
However, this year's report delved into yet another emerging concern: Mother Nature. That's probably not surprising considering recent climate-change disasters that are costing billions of dollars annually and promise to only get worse as the world warms.

"New to the survey question this year was natural disasters (fire/flood/hurricane/etc)," the report said. "Though it was thankfully among the least frequent of occurrences, still 1 in 4 organizations experienced a natural event. So, while they may not occur as often, it would be prudent to not dismiss what we as an industry have always considered a doomsday scenario."

Causes of Outages
[Click on image for larger view.] Causes of Outages (source: Veeam).

More Trends
Other data points plucked from the sprawling January report that shed light on data protection trends over the years include:

  • Reliable Protection of IaaS & SaaS are Enterprises' Priorities: For the second year in a row, the two most important attributes sought in an 'enterprise backup' solution are reliability and the protection of cloud-hosted workloads (IaaS & SaaS).
  • Reliability and Ransomware Continue to be the Drivers of Change: For the past five years, improving reliability/success of backups has been one of the top two drivers for changing backup solutions, usually in the undeniable top spot like this year.
  • 'Modern' in 2024 Must be Cyber-integrated and Hybrid-flexible: For the past few years, two macro themes of what does 'modern' or 'innovative' data protection mean, including integration between data protection and cybersecurity tools, as well being able to provide protection across myriad cloud scenarios.
  • Containers are Everywhere, but Their Backups are Scattered: For the third year in a row, 52 percent+ of organizations stated that they are running containers in production with another 35 percent+ in planning/deployment phases, equating to 90 percent+ each of the three years surveyed. But only 25 percent protect their containers deployments with a tool that is purpose-built solution.
  • Get Your Data Out of the Building: While disk-based backups within the same locale as the production data remains the most agile way to restore, there continues to be massive interest in complementing those disk repositories with tapes and/or cloud repositories in 2024.

"While companies say they will spend more trying to fend off cyberattacks, the survey found IT leaders are feeling even less protected and more concerned about their ability to recover and restore mission-critical data," Veeam summarized. "Respondents shared that cyber-attacks remain the top cause of outages and that while organizations are putting more emphasis on utilizing the cloud for major recoveries, only a small percentage believe they'd be able to recover from even a small crisis in under a week."

Veeam commissioned the survey in late 2023 through an independent research firm, polling 1,200 IT leaders and implementors around the world in organizations of sizes on a variety of data protection drivers, challenges and strategies.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


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