The Resiliency Gap Widens: Failure to Keep Pace with Complexity in Multi-Cloud Environments Leaves Businesses at Risk of Ransomware, Finds Veritas Survey

12 cloud providers used on average to drive business transformation, but complexity can lead to risk unless comprehensive data protection tools are used

Reading, UK – November 17, 2020Veritas Technologies, a global leader in data protection, availability and insights, today highlighted the challenges that businesses around the globe are facing as they try to protect data stored in complex hybrid multi-cloud environments, from the growing threat of ransomware. In the 2020 Ransomware Resiliency Report, Veritas found that only 36% of respondents said that their security has kept pace with their IT complexity, underscoring the need for greater use of data protection solutions that can protect against ransomware across the entirety of increasingly heterogenous environments.

Need to pay ransoms
Typically, if businesses fall foul to ransomware and are not able to restore their data from a backup copy of their files, they may look to pay the hackers responsible for the attack to return their information. The Veritas research showed that companies with greater complexity in their multi-cloud infrastructure were more likely to make these payments. The mean number of clouds deployed by those organisations who paid a ransom in full was 14.06. This dropped to 12.61 for those who paid only part of the ransom and went as low as 7.22 for businesses who didn’t pay at all. In fact, only 20% of businesses with fewer than five clouds paid a ransom in full, less than half the number (44%) for those with more than 20. This compares with 57% of the under-fives paying nothing to their hackers and just 17% of the over-20s.

Slow recovery times
Complexity in cloud architectures was also shown to have a significant impact on a business’s ability to recover following a ransomware attack. While 43% of those businesses with fewer than five cloud providers in their infrastructure saw their business operations disrupted by less than one day, only 18% of those with more than 20 were as fast to return to normal. Moreover, 39% of the over-20s took 5-10 days to get back on track, with just 16% of the under-fives having to wait so long.

Ian Wood, Senior Director, Head of Technology UK&I at Veritas Technologies, said: “The benefits of hybrid multi-cloud are increasingly being recognised in businesses around the world. In order to drive the best experience, at the best price, organisations are choosing best-of-breed cloud solutions in their production environments, and the average company today is now using nearly 12 different cloud providers to drive their digital transformation. This number rises dramatically to an average of 21 cloud services in the UK. However, our research shows that many businesses’ data protection strategies aren’t keeping pace with the levels of complexity that they’re introducing and, as a result, they’re feeling the impact of ransomware more acutely. In order to insulate themselves from damage of ransomware, organisations need to look to data protection solutions that can span their entire infrastructure, no matter how complex they may be.”

Businesses recognise the challenge
The Veritas research revealed that many businesses are aware of the challenge that they face, with just 36% of respondents believing that their security had kept pace with the complexity in their infrastructure. The top concern as a result of this complexity, as stated by businesses, was the increased risk of external attack, cited by 37% of all participants in the research.

Wood continued: “We’ve heard from our customers that, as part of their response to COVID, they rapidly accelerated their journey to the cloud. Organisations turned to cloud deployments as they needed to enable homeworking across a wider portfolio of applications than ever before with limited access to their on-premise IT infrastructure. However, this increasingly complex multi-cloud infrastructure provides hackers with more opportunities to strike. Businesses need to deploy data protection solutions to secure these cloud environments, but many are lagging behind. Our research shows that some businesses are investing to close that resiliency gap – but unless this is done as a priority, companies will remain vulnerable.”

Need for investment
Nearly half of businesses (46%) shared that they had increased their budgets for security since the advent of the COVID pandemic. There was a correlation between this elevated level of investment and the ability to restore data in the wake of an attack: 47% of those spending more since the Coronavirus outbreak were able to restore 90% or more of their data, compared with just 36% of those spending less. The results suggest that there is more to be done though, with the average business being able to restore only 80% of its data.

Cloud complexity hampers UK ability to defend against attacks

The issues revealed in this research appear to be exacerbated at a UK level – businesses in the UK have more complex cloud infrastructures and are more likely to have seen budget cuts during the COVID-19 crisis, with half (50%) of UK businesses decreasing IT security budgets since the start of COVID-19. The research revealed:

  • UK organisations use the highest number of cloud services globally - 35% of businesses use more than 20 cloud services, compared to just 16% globally
  • 56% of companies admit to paying a ransom in full compared to the global average of 31%, making the UK the second most likely country in the globe to pay hackers demands in full
  • The ability for UK businesses to recover from a ransomware attack also lags behind the rest of the world. Only 7% of UK companies can recover from a ransomware attack in under a day, far below the global average of 30%
  • For more than a third (35%) of UK organisations, it would take between 10 days and a month to fully recover from an attack

Wood concludes: “Complexity in multi-cloud environments is severely hampering the UK’s ability to cope with ransomware attacks. The only saving grace for UK businesses is that 71% have never experienced a ransomware attack, compared to the 58% global average. However, ransomware attacks are a matter of when, not if.

“The research shows a clear need for UK businesses to simplify their cloud infrastructure, invest in IT security and ensure the right data protection solutions are in place, otherwise they could be facing a costly and damaging attack.”

To read the full 2020 Ransomware Resiliency Report please visit:
www.veritas.com/defy/ransomware


Methodology

The 2020 Ransomware Resiliency Report was carried out by Wakefield Research in September 2020 and includes the responses to questions from 2,690 senior IT executives at companies of 1,000 or more employees in Australia, Benelux, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, UAE, UK and US.

About Veritas
Veritas Technologies is a global leader in data protection, availability and insights. Over 80,000 customers—including 87 percent of the Fortune Global 500—rely on us to abstract IT complexity and simplify data management. The Veritas Enterprise Data Services Platform automates the protection and orchestrates the recovery of data everywhere it lives, ensures 24/7 availability of business-critical applications, and provides enterprises with the insights they need to comply with evolving data regulations. With a reputation for reliability at scale and a deployment model to fit any need, Veritas Enterprise Data Services Platform supports more than 800 different data sources, over 100 different operating systems, more than 1,400 storage targets, and more than 60 different cloud platforms. Learn more at www.veritas.com. Follow us on Twitter at @veritastechllc.

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