SINGAPORE--Cloud computing is increasingly becoming an integral component of data protection and disaster recovery (DR) planning among organizations in Asia-Pacific, where nearly all enterprises polled in a study say they suffered data losses over the past year.
According to the survey, which was commissioned by CA Technologies and conducted in May by research firm Coleman Parkes, 95 percent of organizations experienced data loss in the last 12 months ending May, with 74 percent pointing to IT systems failure as the biggest cause, while 42 percent pointed to external attacks and 37 percent to IT and human error.
The study polled 1,086 respondents from both small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and large organizations across eight countries in Asia: Singapore, Australia, China, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. The enterprises were from four vertical sectors: finance, public sector, retail and manufacturing.
Chris Ross, CA's EMEA and Asia-Pacific vice president of data management customer solutions unit (CSU), said the results reflected poor and inadequate data protection and DR strategies as well as a lack of DR readiness among Asian organizations.
Speaking at the software company's Asia-Pacific Media Symposium here Wednesday, Ross noted said only 27 percent of respondents had established a full, formal and comprehensive DR plan. Among those that did not, 45 percent cited a lack of budget as a reason, while 42 percent pointed to a lack of senior management support and buy-in, he said.
Furthermore, even though 90 percent of organizations which had DR plans ran a full scenario test at least once yearly, 38 percent of such plans did not achieve recovery time and recovery point objectives.
DR focus, investments in cloud
According to the study, spending on disaster recovery and data protection tools was moving upward. Some 96 percent of organizations sustained their budgets throughout the period of 2010 to 2011, while 34 percent increased investment.
Ross noted that the market is seeing a shift from "perpetual upfront licenses" to the SaaS (software-as-a-service) model, with 42 percent of APAC companies saying their use of cloud in DR would increase over the next 12 months.
He added that companies are realizing that the cloud platform offers a viable solution to data protection requirements and enables them to convert CAPEX (capital expenditure) to OPEX (operational expenditure). This can provide better budget management, especially since the lack of budgets has been revealed as a main reason for poor DR plans and implementation, he said.
The report also saw Asian enterprises' DR investments increasingly becoming cloud-centric. For instance, 57 percent of respondents indicated plans to focus data protection spending on managing hybrid cloud environments. Some 33 percent said they would invest in public cloud for data backup, while 31 percent aimed to improve the protection of their private clouds.
While he noted that cloud is critical in disaster recovery management, Ross acknowledged that cloud is "but another place to store data".
He advised companies to evaluate the integrity of the cloud provider and service level agreements (SLAs) offered by managed service providers before signing up for their services.
He further urged businesses to also understand the "risk of not going to the cloud and what happens when your physical servers crash".
"Cloud isn't taking away any of the challenges in disaster recovery. Cloud is not [about] making life simpler but managing [DR] better," the executive concluded.