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The truth about your data: why cloud infrastructure needs to be better protected

In this article, Phil Bindley, Managing Director of Intercity Technology’s Cloud and Security division, outlines the most important data protection considerations for UK businesses who, despite being seasoned remote workers, need to start thinking about backing up business-critical cloud services.

Companies have, for some time now, been steadily migrating to the cloud. The pandemic accelerated the pace at which businesses adopted this technology and it’s now gone into overdrive. The number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams, for example, has almost doubled in the past year, increasing from 75 million users in April 2020 to 145 million as of April 2021. In the post-pandemic age, with many businesses set to operate permanent hybrid working set-ups, there’s a risk that systems such as Teams can be overlooked when it comes to ensuring security, which can leave data at risk.

Although business-critical data is often stored in Microsoft Office 365, an estimated 76%[1] is not backed up. To compound the issue, only 47%[2] of businesses use Office 365’s built-in capabilities such as the Recycle Bin, which fail to offer long-term solutions to file restoration. These are stark realities in truth, but nevertheless, help us understand just how significant the issue of data protection is.

Office 365 is at the centre of business productivity and without a robust backup strategy in place, enterprises are more exposed to a wide range of risks – both internal and external – that could jeopardise their operations. The most common causes that lead to a loss of data include phishing, ransomware attacks and human error.

In fact, a staggering 37%[3] of businesses experience data loss due to accidental deletion through user error. Therefore, there’s an ever-present risk that companies can permanently lose vital audit trails and databases, as well as the details needed to support carefully built client relationships at the click of a button. If businesses fail to adopt new data protection strategies and back up their data effectively, the ramifications, in some cases, can be business ending. That’s the reality.

The two most important considerations businesses need to start thinking about when adopting new data protection plans, include:

  • Opting for a multi-cloud, public cloud or private cloud approach. Given the rapid development of digital transformation, it’s now unlikely that a company would adopt a single approach as certain solutions suit particular applications better. Cloud is an application-led marketplace so a hybrid approach is usual. However, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to cloud, so its crucial for organisations to understand their business and customer needs to ensure the end solution delivers against overarching commercial objectives.
  • Working with a managed services provider. Technology is transforming technical support – but in the digital era it’s easy to forget about the human element of IT managed services. Using digital innovations to add value, but not at the expense of human interaction is essential. Therefore, working with a managed services provider – offering real-time customer support 24/7 – reassures businesses and helps them understand where and how their data is being stored. In addition, it frees up time for their staff to focus more of their energy on projects that directly contribute towards delivering business results.

Backing up data ensures the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data if critical cloud services, such as Teams, went down. With more and more companies adopting cloud-based systems, it’s never been more important for businesses to implement modern data protection platforms. Here’s why:

  • Sensitive information is better secured against data loss caused by external attacks
  • They prevent administrators or former employees from removing or altering important company details or documents
  • Copies of data are made available in backup repositories if cloud systems are down , saving time and money
  • With increased collaboration comes an increased risk of accidental data loss. For all of the great collaboration features cloud-based applications offer, they also widen the scope for possible human error. For example, Teams users can easily edit messages and accidentally delete important data, but backing up allows these files and messages to be restored.

The need for modern data protection is more pressing than it’s ever been. With the rapid adoption of cloud-based systems such as Teams, companies need to adopt new data protection strategies. Put simply, organisations need a modern data protection platform to match their evolving data protection needs.

At Intercity Technology, we’re here to help SMEs find the gaps in their data protection plans and recovery strategies. Working together with our customers and through an extensive data centre presence across the UK, we help ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of their files in a post-Covid digital era.


[1] Veeam’s Customer Survey, September 2019 3IDC: Why a Backup Strategy for Microsoft Office 365 is Essential

[2] Veeam’s Data Protection Report, conducted in December 2020, made up of 3,000 enterprises across 28 countries to understand their data protection challenges and objectives

[3] Veeam’s Customer Survey, September 2019 3IDC: Why a Backup Strategy for Microsoft Office 365 is Essential