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UAE is a world leader in public cloud adoption, Veritas finds.

Johnny Karam, Managing Director & Vice President of International Emerging Region at Veritas Technologies.

Veritas Technologies, the global leader in data protection, today unveiled the results from its international cloud survey. Launched at Gitex Global 2022 the research reveals that UAE organisations have made strong progress in the transition to cloud, ranking as the second-highest adopter of public cloud services globally. However, there is still much to be done to ensure the data they have moved to the cloud is protected, compliant and available.

Surveying over 1,500 IT decision makers across 12 countries, including 100 respondents from the UAE, Veritas has found that more than half (53%) of UAE organisations do not have full visibility of their data.

The opaque understanding of where data is stored is compounded by the adoption of a multi-cloud provider strategy, with the average UAE business currently using three different public cloud providers to meet their storage needs. In turn, this is fracturing data protection strategies with 53% of UAE firms surveyed saying they use data protection solutions built into each of these cloud services all of the time. This is despite more than half (56%) saying that these tools put their organisation at risk.

Johnny Karam, Managing Director & Vice President of International Emerging Region at Veritas Technologies, said: “The UAE is a global hub for digital transformation, so we’re not surprised that the nation is leading the charge when it comes to public cloud adoption globally. Yet, as each new solution is introduced into an organisation’s technology stack, it adds more complexity, making it easier for errors to be made and for systems and data to be left unprotected and open to attack”.

“For businesses to continue on an upward trajectory of growth, they need to prioritise the protection of their data across these new and complex multi-cloud environments. We look forward to connecting with customers at this year’s Gitex Global 2022 to demonstrate the resilience needed to navigate multi-cloud environments, digitally transform their data protection management, and protect themselves against cyberthreats”, Johnny Karam added.

Further key findings of the research:

Greater complexity calls for greater visibility

Half of UAE respondents (51%) believe cost savings are a top benefit of using cloud service providers. 45% because of increased flexibility, and 44% because of data security benefits – such as cloud native data security.

However, organisations are dealing with greater complexity than ever before in order to attain these benefits, which makes them more susceptible to cyberthreats if they don’t have the proper security measures in place. For organisations to protect themselves against any kind of data vulnerability or threat, such as ransomware, the first step is having complete visibility of their data across these multi-cloud environments.

According to the research, the majority (53%) have only “some visibility” or “limited visibility” of their data. Of these organisations, only 55% have a fully effective tool that provides this visibility.

Johnny Karam said: “To properly protect their data, businesses need to have a thorough understanding of the value and location of their data. So, before cloud data sets can be properly protected from threats like ransomware, IT teams need to know exactly what data sits in which cloud services. Worryingly, more than half don’t know how many cloud services their companies are using, let alone what they are”.

Who’s responsible for protecting data in the cloud?

Misconceptions exist around where exactly the responsibility lies between the organisation and cloud provider when it comes to how their data is protected in the cloud. Just 2% of respondents correctly identified that most cloud providers only provide guarantee of resiliency of their service, they do not provide guarantees that a customer, using their service, will have their data or applications protected.

This may help to explain why so many UAE organisations are turning to those cloud providers when they discover that they do need additional protection. However, there is increasing awareness among UAE businesses about the risks associated with using native cloud security tools. A vast majority (77%) of organisations believe the current offerings from public cloud service providers fall short of their organisation’s security needs.

According to the research, companies relying more on native security tools are seen to be hit harder by ransomware than organisations that rely less on native security tools. Over half of UAE respondents using only their cloud provider security tools (52%) said they were exposed to ransomware attacks because of relying on such cloud security backups, and 40% of organisations had lost data as a result. More frequent use of these perceived built-in security tools is also associated with more operational downtime, reputational damage, permanent loss of data and financial loss from data recovery.

Johnny Karam added: “With respondents in the UAE increasingly aware of the risks in using only cloud provider security tools for protection, the next step is to reassess their strategy. Organisation’s IT decision makers need to learn how to architect a unified data protection strategy across multi-clouds. Data visibility is the first step, but organisations must rise to the challenge of adopting a more robust data protection strategy to ward off risks. Including continuous backup, with a zero-trust policy, multi-factor authentication and role-based access control, as well as complete endpoint visibility and implementing immutable storage, automated recovery processes and regular recovery testing is essential to business growth”.

Veritas is showcasing their latest technologies on-ground at GITEX 2022. Customers can find Veritas at Stand CC2-1. Concourse II, DWTC.

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