One global survey of IT leaders indicates a ‘protection gap’ caused by budget constraints and accelerated rates of digitalization

In an annual data protection trends report summarizing the responses of 4,200 IT leaders from organizations of all sizes across 28 countries, respondents cited facing challenges in the more complex hybrid IT environments and feeling they were not sufficiently protected. Their top priorities included the improving reliability and success of backups, followed by ensuring that Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) protection was equitable to the protection they relied on for datacenter-centric workloads.

Globally, respondents expected to increase their data protection budget in 2023 by 6.5%, which is was higher than their overall spending plans in other areas of IT. Of the 85% of respondents planning on increasing their data protection budgets, their average planned increase was 8.3%, often in concert with increased investments in cybersecurity tools.

A sense of dissatisfaction or anxiety existed among four out of five respondents in the gap between what their business units expected and what IT services can deliver. Some 79% cited a ‘protection gap’ between how much data they can lose and how frequently IT protects their data. Also, 57% of respondents expected to change their primary data protection in 2023 due to such gaps, using the latter as the justification for requesting data protection budgets.

Other findings

Despite the awareness and increase in preparedness among respondents, 85% reported having been attacked at least once in the past 12 months; up from 76% in the previous year’s survey. Specifically, recovery was a main concern: 55% of their respondents’ encrypted/destroyed data was recoverable from attacks. The single most important aspect that respondents were seeking was the “integration of data protection within a cyber preparedness strategy.”

Other sentiments gleaned from the survey showed that ransomware was the biggest hindrance to digital transformation in respondents’ organizations. Due to its burden on budgets and manpower, ransomware and the current volatile cybersecurity landscape were sucking up resources and budgets originally allocated towards digitalization. Meanwhile, 52% of respondents were currently running containers, while 40% were planning to deploy containers — with most merely protecting the underlying storage instead of holistically protecting the workloads.

According to Danny Allan, CTO and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy, Veeam Software, which commissioned the report: “IT leaders are facing a dual challenge. They are building and supporting increasingly complex hybrid environments, while the volume and sophistication of cyberattacks is increasing. This is a major concern as leaders think through how they mitigate and recover business operations from any type of disruption. Legacy backup approaches won’t address modern workloads (such as) those from IaaS and SaaS to containers.”