Dell study finds most organizations don’t think they can recover from a ransomware attack

Data Security system Shield Protection Verification
Data Security system Shield Protection Verification


Sixty-seven percent lack confidence in their ability to recover business-critical data, which is troubling given that the amount of data businesses manage has grown by more than 10x since 2016.

Data Security system Shield Protection Verification

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The conclusions that Dell draws from its annual Global Data Protection Index (GDPI) for 2021 should serve as a warning to anyone in the data security community: Emerging technologies and ransomware are making it harder to secure data, and the problem is only going to grow over time.

Dell surveyed 1,000 IT decision makers from around the world for its 2021 GDPI, who were largely in agreement (82%) that their existing data protection measures won’t be able to meet all future business needs. Citing the fact that 30% reported data loss in the last year, and 45% experienced unplanned downtime during the same period, Dell said the fears expressed by IT leaders are founded.

SEE: How to manage passwords: Best practices and security tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Add in the fact that Dell found the average organization is managing 10 times more data than they did in 2016 (14.6 petabytes in 2021 vs. 1.45 petabytes in 2016) and you have a perfect storm of data security that could threaten to overwhelm organizations and the IT teams that support them.

In addition to the aforementioned statistics, Dell also said that 62% of GDPI respondents expressed concern that their existing data protection measures were insufficient to cope with existing malware and ransomware threats. 

Seventy-four percent said their attack surface has grown with the pandemic-driven work-from-home moves, and 63% said that emerging technologies like cloud-native apps, containers and ML increase data protection risks. These two statistics, unfortunately, are only feeding each other: Emerging technology investment has skyrocketed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of those fears could, theoretically, lead to an improvement in data security posture, but study respondents throw a blanket on that fire: 67% are concerned that they may not be able to recover data lost due to a cyberattack or ransomware infection. 

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“While ransomware attacks can be devastating for people and businesses, accepting defeat as a foregone conclusion is not the answer,” said Jeff Boudreau, president and GM of the Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell.

SEE: Security incident response policy (TechRepublic Premium)

With that in mind, Dell included the announcement of three new items that are designed to help enhance data security:

  • Transparent snapshots in Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager “simplify and automate VM image-level backups.” Dell said that Transparent Snapshots can deliver up to five times faster backups and a five times reduction in VM latency.
  • Smart Scale for Dell EMC PowerProtect appliances allows organizations to “configure multiple appliances as a single pool giving them the ability to see and manage large data sets in one entity—as many as 32 PowerProtect appliances and more than three exabytes of logical capacity.”
  • Dell Managed Services for Cyber Recovery is a new managed service that “reduces risk of data loss by having Dell experts manage day-to-day cyber recovery vault operations and support recovery activities.”

Transparent Snapshots will be available globally this quarter and is free to customers with existing maintenance contracts. Smart Scale is now in preview and is expected for general availability in the first half of 2022, and the new managed recovery services solution is available now. 

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