As any business leader is keenly aware, market and organizational dynamics have changed rapidly over the last several years, and despite any desire we might have to ‘get back to normal,’ the pace of change keeps accelerating. Customers expect a personalized and proactive (and often digitally enabled) experience, competition from unexpected directions is disrupting once-stable markets, and remote work is clearly sticking around for many enterprise roles. It’s clear our organizations need to find ways to respond to opportunities and threats faster and smarter, or else they risk being outmaneuvered by more nimble challengers.

One of the primary ways that organizations are responding to this new landscape is by rapidly expanding their use of Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud infrastructure. And it’s no wonder, as cloud services applications typically don’t require much more than a credit card to get started and can help us unlock new sources of productivity, collaboration and insight. The data being managed by these cloud solutions has become essential to our business operations.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

While IT leaders have welcomed cloud adoption, relieving them of the burden of building out and maintaining application environments, they’ve quickly come to realize that the use of multiple cloud tools like Microsoft 365 and Salesforce has led to the spread of data across multiple clouds and data centers. This increases the challenge of consistently securing, monitoring and enforcing application and data management policies.

SecOps teams also recognize that the data cloud applications store could be vulnerable to myriad internal and external threats. These threats include accidental deletion of data by users, malicious attacks by both internal and external actors, natural disasters, unexpected service interruptions, and perhaps most worryingly of all, the rise and prevalence of ransomware attacks. Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) noted that almost 9 out 10 organizations have experienced an email-based cyber-attack within the last year, making it clear that attacks are both widespread and common.

This is a familiar story that we’ve all experienced at some level—resolving one set of problems gives rise to a series of unintended consequences. Of course, the degree to which these challenges impact your organization depends on a variety of factors, including your industry, the nature and sensitivity of the data these applications are managing, regulations and policies that must be upheld, and the depth and breadth of your organization’s cloud footprint.

What is clear is that nearly every organization using cloud services needs to take some basic steps to make sure that the data these applications hold is secure and available so that the organization can meet its data resilience objectives.

Doesn’t my cloud provider have this covered?

Cloud providers inevitably focus their attention and effort on what they do best—keeping their service running and improving the capabilities of the application. While they will periodically back up user data, they don’t take responsibility for ensuring data hasn’t been lost or corrupted. Cloud providers almost universally recommend that users of its services take steps to protect their data.

As an example, Microsoft notes in its Microsoft 365 license agreement: “We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.” This is a disclaimer that all consumers of cloud services have had to come to grips with, as providers seek to protect themselves through a ‘shared responsibility’ model. ESG notes that three out of four organizations do not use a data protection solution to protect data generated by cloud application workloads. This represents a major disconnect between cloud providers and organizations that use their services, akin to walking across a busy street with your eyes closed.

What’s the worst that could happen?

The costs of a data breach are substantial for most organizations. The latest statistics from the 2022 edition of the IBM Security Cost of a Data Breach report note the following:

  • A breach in the United States costs firms an average of USD $9.44M.
  • The worldwide average cost of a breach stands at USD $4.35M.
  • Ransomware attacks have grown 41% in the last year and took 49 days longer than average to identify and contain.
  • Destructive attacks increased in cost by over USD $430,000.

Depending on the size of your organization, those cost impacts may or may not seem reasonable to you. What is clear is that data loss for any business can be expensive, disruptive and a challenge to fix without the right capabilities in place.

IBM Storage Protect for Cloud can meet the cloud data resilience challenge

The IBM Storage Protect for Cloud offering was designed to address this very problem. With dedicated versions for Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce and Azure Virtual Machines (new), it scans your data for threats to create a clean copy of the data and make sure that the data is safely backed up.

Even though cloud providers will periodically backup user data, the frequency of those backups and the length of time they are retained can present challenges to IT operations teams tasked with addressing whether data retention policies and regulations are being followed. All editions of IBM Storage Protect for Cloud put you in control by letting you determine the schedule and frequency that is right for your business, with the option to perform either full or incremental backups. You’re also in control of where your data is backed up. You can use our dedicated and scalable Microsoft Azure storage, your own cloud storage or a data center of your choosing.

Restoring your data is another area where most cloud providers limit your control. What happens when you realize that data was accidentally deleted after the user’s soft delete window (i.e., the ‘recycle bin’) has been automatically purged, or when a disgruntled employee wreaks havoc on your data on the way out the door?

While these may seem like unlikely scenarios, they are examples of planning for a rainy day for which every organization needs to prepare. IBM Storage Protect for Cloud gives you granular control to restore down to the item level, whether that is restoring a missing transaction, an incorrectly modified customer record or an accidentally deleted address. IBM Storage Protect for Cloud even offers self-service capabilities, enabling users you designate to quickly address issues like this to get keep your business moving forward faster.

In short, IBM Storage Protect gives you the flexibility and operational efficiency your organization needs while freeing up your IT resources to advance your digital initiatives to stay ahead of the competition and meet your customers’ expectations. It’s available today as a true SaaS platform with nothing to install and nothing to maintain, as an easy-to-use, modern data resilience software solution.

Interested in giving IBM Storage Protect for Cloud a try? Sign up for a free 30-day trial and see for yourself how easy it can be to add robust data resilience to your cloud applications.

Get started with IBM Storage Protect for Cloud

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