Veritas Technologies, a worldwide leader in enterprise data protection and software-defined storage, unveiled the third edition of its Middle East Databerg Report. The key findings highlight that the UAE businesses surveyed are failing to manage their dark (unclassified) and Redundant, Obsolete or Trivial (ROT) data, which is slowing cloud adoption. Sitting at 88% of total company data, dark and ROT data has significantly contributed to respondents failing to reach their own targets for cloud migration. While last year’s prediction of cloud storage uptake was 55%, the actual uptake this year was just 45%.
The report, which surveyed 100 IT leaders across all key business sectors in the UAE, focuses on identifying the pervasiveness of ‘databergs’ – reflecting the surveyed UAE organisations’ data hoarding culture. The report indicates that the volume of data which is either dark or ROT has remained consistently high over the past three years, highlighting that the businesses questioned in the report have not done enough to significantly improve the visibility or management of their rapidly growing data.
Despite the vast financial and reputational risks associated with storing dark and ROT data, the report underscores a drop in confidence in cloud storage, with just over half (53%) of respondents believing that cloud migration can lead to cost savings.
Three main issues that are currently slowing down adoption of cloud data storage in the UAE among the organisations surveyed are:
- Poor data hygiene due to slow data deletion – rates of deletion have stalled overall between 2018 and 2019 with only 15% of organisations deleting data weekly. Despite being the biggest culprits of hoarding ROT data at 47%, the public sector was found to have a strong discipline of monthly deletion, making them one of the most effective sectors
- 49% of UAE organisations use either tape or primary disk devices for storage
- Approximately two thirds (63%) of organisations waste money on orphaned data, while only 33% of UAE organisations have a regular process to reclaim and repurpose orphaned capacity.
Alarmingly, because of these issues, many of the UAE organisations surveyed are running high levels of risk around ransomware, with approximately a quarter of businesses saying it would take them a week to recover from a ransomware attack. Just 55% of businesses are prepared for ransomware attacks and have backup and recovery plans in place, claiming to be able to resolve an attack in 24 hours or less.
According to the report, retail and consumer organisations are most prepared for ransomware, citing the ability to recover data within just two hours, while public sector and utilities companies said recovering data could take up to a week. This could pose serious risk to vital governmental services and utilities in the UAE, hampering the daily lives of UAE residents.
Johnny Karam, Vice President of Emerging Markets at Veritas, said: “Data is central to the digital transformation in the UAE and yet, our study reveals that businesses are crying out for a better and simpler way to manage their data in order to reap the rewards of the cloud. Unfortunately, the UAE businesses surveyed fail to realise the true potential of the cloud because of poor data management, creating a vicious circle of rising IT costs and missed opportunities. Embracing a hybrid cloud model will enable businesses to better manage their budgets while benefitting from improved backup and ransomware protection capabilities. In addition, prioritising the management and protection of valuable, mission-critical data, while illuminating dark and deleting ROT data, will help boost operational efficiencies and business transformation.”
The study also reveals that over half of the UAE firms surveyed prefer a private cloud strategy. In fact, the popularity of the ‘private cloud first’ strategy has seen an increase in the last year at the expense of all other strategies, including hybrid cloud, public cloud and on-premises. Only 17% of respondents cited that they deploy all modern workloads on public cloud, while 27% maintain hybrid cloud combinations of on-premises, private and public.
“With the UAE committed to becoming the smartest city in the world by 2020, our research highlights the critical need to efficiently manage and protect data to help achieve this ambitious goal. In order to garner real value from their data, UAE businesses need a data management strategy that can help them abstract complexity from their IT environments and enhance visibility, in turn deriving tangible, actionable insights from their data. Anything less will not only curtail transformation efforts but could also have serious financial and reputational repercussions for businesses,” added Karam.