Survey Says: Cloud Backup, Security Top Execs’ 2021 To-Do Lists

2021 Prediction

The pandemic sparked accelerated corporate adoption of cloud services, but, as we move into 2021, business executives increasingly seek ways to protect hosted data, infrastructure, and their organizations from an array of potential problems ranging from bad actors to data loss to vendor lock-in.

Public cloud will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 18.3% between 2020 and 2027, reaching $88.7 billion by 2027, according to Global Industry Analysts.

Forrester’s “Prediction 2021” report is even more bullish, anticipating the global public cloud infrastructure market could reach $120 billion next year, up 35% from 2020. Without cloud computing, the world’s response to COVID-19 would have been a lot different, suggested Vice President and Principal Analyst Dave Bartoetti.

“When you look back at the public clouds developed in the last 15 years, it almost seems like they were designed to handle the global demand shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote. “Without public cloud apps, development services, tools, and infrastructure available to every business and consumer on demand, imagine how different (and hobbled) the pandemic response would have been.”

Final Answer: MSPs Should Choose Cloud Backup

Managed service providers (MSPs) deliver the most value to small and midsize businesses by providing solutions addressing SMBs’ data protection, data analytics, and cloud services needs, according to a survey Infrascale conducted of more than 1,200 business executives.

“We conducted this survey to better understand the dynamics of how business executives perceive and select MSPs, as well as how MSPs can provide the greatest value to their SMBs and mid-market customers,” said Infrascale CEO Russell P. Reeder. “Based on the results, we recommend that MSPs continue to lead with solutions focused on security, data storage, and data analytics. Our most successful MSP partners are enabling their businesses to be more secure and to always access and analyze their data. The lifeblood of any business is its data, so it makes sense that securing it, backing it up, and analyzing it is most important to businesses.”

The report determined that general data protection was cited as the most-needed service by 53% of business executives surveyed.  Respondents cited specific protection services — #4 backup and recovery solutions (43%), and #5 cybersecurity services (41%) — as vital to their operations, the debut survey by Infrascale found.

With cloud backup, organizations are assured their data is secure in a secondary location, safe from harm if the primary site or location is damaged or goes offline for any reason. With anywhere, anytime access, cloud backup assures businesses that employees can recover from mishap whenever and wherever they need to, a capability especially vital during the pandemic. In fact, cloud backup is the most-needed service for 2021, with 59% of business executives Infrascale surveyed citing this as their top need for the new year, followed by antivirus and firewalls at 50%. 

Beyond the Cloud (Backup)

Of course, working remotely during a pandemic brings challenges — one of them being ensuring security. Sixty-five percent of respondents noted they have seen more information security breaches in their industry since COVID-19 started in early 2020 and 74% have implemented new security technology as a result.

In fact, the Infrascale survey found that security technology was second only to cloud backup (54%) in 2020.  Of business executives polled, antivirus/malware and network security (like firewalls and VPN) both received fifty-first percentile rankings. Encryption, and endpoint management software were not far behind.  A separate survey question shows that 2021 will be no different — both antivirus and firewall/VPN show 50%.

SMBs and mid-market companies are savvy to recognize the ongoing threats in the cyber world. By mid-November 2020, there were 113.1 million new malware samples, AV-Test determined. Threat capabilities are why cybercrime could grow to $6 trillion globally in 2021, according to an estimate by CyberSecurity Ventures. Another reason: understaffed IT organizations.

ISACA‘s 2020 State of Cybersecurity report shows 62% of respondents said their organization’s security team is inadequately staffed, potentially stressing current employees and thereby increasing the risk.

SaaS IT To Me

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) was top-of-mind for many organizations, with 79% of business executives reporting they have adopted new SaaS technology, the Infrascale survey found. At 86%, the financial sector is most aggressively picking up this approach, which accelerates an organization’s time-to-benefit; can reduce costs, and delivers agility.

Because SaaS services are cloud based, the providers (i.e. the CSPs – cloud service providers) are responsible for maintenance, security, upgrades, and support, thus enabling internal IT departments to focus on differentiating tasks and projects.

By 2027, the worldwide market for SaaS is expected to reach $219.5 billion, according to Global Industry Analysts. The technology is being sold at a compound annual growth rate of 18.2% between 2020 and 2027, the research firm said.

Data’s All Folks!

Savvy business leaders are not only worried about the unknown of malware attackers, but also the known factor of vendor lock-in. Wanting to reduce complexity, some organizations have reduced the number of vendor partners that they’re willing to work with.

In addition, as technology sector giants have grown, acquiring startups and competitors alike, customers’ fear of vendor lock-in has increased. Despite open source, standards and common operating systems, a concern over a return to de facto proprietary days of yore exists, and business executives know that a surefire way to avoid dependence on one vendor is working with a service provider and store data off-site.

Indeed, 58% of respondents to the Infrascale study already have discussed the possibility of lock-in — and they are concerned.

In addition to cloud-based data stored offsite and redundant data, disasters and bad actors are encouraging business leaders to demand local control of their data. Combined, 86% of poll respondents said having local control of data is “very important” or “important,” according to the Infrascale report.

Ding, ding, ding: CSPs Reign Supreme

Amazon, Google, and Microsoft face growing pressure to innovate. Having taken the top spots in the cloud-provider arena, they are now seen as leaders for new technologies, techniques, and inventions. They also face fleet-footed startups from around the world, backed by entrepreneurial venture funds, excitement, and energy.

CSPs play a key role: 58% of respondents to the Infrascale poll said CSPs are innovators. Also, 55% said CSPs are the best in the business. Other studies showed similar findings:

“Results from Gartner’s annual 2020 Tech CEO Survey show that 62% of tech CEOs whose primary revenue source is cloud services say they are the first in leading their industry in new trends and directions,” Gartner found.

Some of these new technologies include Internet of Things (IoT), artificial (AI), and machine learning (ML)), all of which will generate terabytes of data — information that must be protected and secured. In fact, Cisco’s Global Cloud Index estimates people, machines, and things will generate almost 850 zettabytes (ZB) of data by 2021, up from 220 ZB in 2016.

Understandably, then, 53% of business leaders said data protection is the most necessary service currently consumed, the Infrascale study found. Digging a bit deeper into exact data protection services for 2021:  59% for cloud backup  – the most-needed service; 50% for each of antivirus and network security tools/firewalls; 44% for encryption; 43% for disaster recovery; and 35% for endpoint management.  2021 is going to be the year of data protection.


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