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

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

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – November 17, 2020 –  Veritas 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 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 companies with greater complexity in their multi-cloud infrastructure were more likely to make these payments. The mean number of clouds deployed by those organizations 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.

Inability to restore data
Furthermore, according to the findings of the research, greater complexity in an organization’s cloud infrastructure, also made it slightly less likely that they would ever be able to restore their data in the event of a ransomware attack. While 44% of businesses with fewer than five cloud providers were able to restore 90% or more of their data, just 40% of enterprises building their infrastructure on more than 20 cloud services were able to say the same.

John Abel, SVP and Chief Information Officer at Veritas 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, organizations 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. However, our research shows many businesses’ data protection strategies aren’t keeping pace with the levels of complexity they’re introducing and, as a result, they’re feeling the impact of ransomware more acutely. In order to insulate themselves from the financial and reputational damage of ransomware, organizations need to look to data protection solutions that can span their increasingly heterogenous infrastructures, no matter how complex they may be.”

Businesses recognize the challenge
The Veritas research revealed that many businesses are aware of the challenge they face, with just 36% of respondents believing 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.

Abel continued: “We’ve heard from our customers that, as part of their response to COVID, they rapidly accelerated their journey to the cloud. Many organizations needed to empower homeworking across a wider portfolio of applications than ever before and, with limited access to their on-premise IT infrastructure, turned to cloud deployments to meet their needs. We’re seeing a lag between the high-velocity expansion of the threat surface that comes with increased multi-cloud adoption, and the deployment of data protection solutions needed to secure them. Our research shows some businesses are investing to close that resiliency gap – but unless this is done at greater speed, companies will remain vulnerable.”

Need for investment
Nearly half of businesses (46%) shared 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 there is more to be done though, with the average business being able to restore only 80% of its data.

Back to basics
While the research indicates organizations need to more comprehensively protect data in their complex cloud infrastructures, the survey also highlighted the need to get the basics of data protection right too. Only 55% of respondents could claim they have offline backups in place, even though those who do are more likely to be able to restore more than 90% of their data. Those with multiple copies of data were also better able to restore the lion’s share of their data. Forty-nine percent of those with three or more copies of their files were able to restore 90% or more of their information, compared with just 37% of those with only two.

The three most common data protection tools to have been deployed amongst respondents who had avoided paying ransoms were: anti-virus, backup and security monitoring, in that order.

Global trends
The safest countries to be in to avoid ransomware attacks, the research revealed, were Poland and Hungary. Just 24% of businesses in Poland had been on the receiving end of a ransomware attack, and the average company in Hungary had only experienced 0.52 attacks ever. The highest incident of attack was in India, where 77% of businesses had succumbed to ransomware, and the average organization had been hit by 5.27 attacks.

To read the full 2020 Ransomware Resiliency Report, please visit:
https://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, the 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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