Survey Reveals Cloud Use Up for Data Storage and Backup but High Costs, Data Restore Issues and Dissatisfaction Remains High

Cloud Storage Usage Nears 40% as Data Volumes Continue to Rise

Seattle, Wash. – March 29, 2012 –  New research tracking trends in data growth and protection reveals more companies are turning to the cloud for data storage and backup. According to the survey, nearly 40% of respondents currently use a cloud-based solution for either primary or secondary backup. However, it’s not all a silver lining. Two-thirds of respondents ranked costs of cloud or backup systems as a problem for them, and only 15% of those surveyed expressed they were very satisfied with their current solution or procedure for data backup. Challenges around data restore issues also topped the list of concerns.

The February 2012 research, sponsored by StorageCraft and Symform, surveyed nearly 600 companies across a wide range of industries, with 83% representing organizations with 1,000 employees or less – the small and medium business segment. Some 200 respondents represented IT service providers or consultants, which serve as a critical channel to the SMB market. The survey queried respondents about current data volumes, data growth expected, current data backup practices, and challenges surrounding data backup.

Cloud Backup Gaining on Traditional Storage Methods

Network Attach Storage (NAS) devices ranked highest for primary data backup, which is typically centralized on-premise data storage, with nearly 50% currently using NAS devices.  This was followed by external hard drives at 42% and cloud backup making a strong showing with 35% of the vote. Only 2% of respondents reported doing nothing for data backup, which is significantly lower than a recent IDC study, as well as other analyst research, reporting that 15% of companies do no data backup.

While best practices and cloud usage show a positive trend with this audience, many companies are still experiencing significant challenges with data backup. First, the companies are forecasting continued growth in their data volumes, with the majority expecting 10 to 40% growth and some expecting their data volumes to increase by more than 100% in the next 12 months.  Amid this wave of data growth, it’s not surprising that the greatest challenges across companies of all sizes were around backup failures, restore times, cost of cloud solutions, and the overall cost of backup systems and procedures.

“This research validates that small and medium businesses are turning to the cloud in increasing numbers to leverage the agility and ease of management; however, it’s clear there is room for improvement around overall costs and data restore capabilities,” said Margaret Dawson, vice president of marketing and product management at Symform. “These challenges are why nearly 25% of the companies are doing only single-tier backup, which puts their business at a huge risk if they were to have a local data loss event.”

Nearly 20% of respondents are doing nothing for secondary backup, also called backup disaster recovery (BDR), which is a recommended best practice. Physical hardware rotation (tapes, USBs, DVDs, etc.) ranked first among those doing secondary backup at 42%, followed by cloud (online) backup services at 39%, and replication to a secondary location over company network at 28%.

The survey also found that more than 30% of respondents show dissatisfaction with their current solution or procedure for data backup. Interestingly, satisfaction rates vary by industry, with IT service providers and business consultants showing the greatest level of satisfaction, while companies in the healthcare and advertising/marketing industries reporting the highest levels of dissatisfaction.  These are also industries that report high data volumes as well as security or compliance issues.

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