Cyberattacks the #1 cause of business outages

January 2024 Editor's Choice, Information Security, Infrastructure

Veeam Software has released insights from the company’s fifth annual Veeam Data Protection Trends Report. While companies say they will spend more trying to fend off cyberattacks, the survey found IT leaders are feeling even less protected and more concerned about their ability to recover and restore mission-critical data. Respondents shared that cyberattacks remain the top cause of outages and that while organisations are putting more emphasis on using the cloud for major recoveries, only a small percentage believe they would be able to recover from even a small crisis in under a week.

Highlights of the Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2024:

• Cyberattacks are the #1 cause of outages: For the fourth year, cyberattacks were listed as the most common and impactful causes of business outages across organisations. The fact that other types of outages followed closely behind – infrastructure/networking, storage hardware, application software, public cloud resources, and server hardware – illustrates the growing need for modernised backup strategies.

• Ransomware continues to be a ‘when’ not an ‘if’: 76% of organisations were attacked at least once in the past 12 months. While this number is down from 85% in 2023, 26% reported being attacked at least four times this past year. So, according to the report, more organisations were hit quarterly than those who believe they were not attacked at all. Recovery is still a major concern, as only 13% said they can successfully orchestrate recovery during a DR situation.

• Digital transformation is being hampered by cyberattacks: The survey ranked protecting against cyber threats and addressing environmental, social, and governmental goals as the biggest inhibitors to IT modernisation and digital transformation initiatives. These factors scored higher than usual struggles related to skills, economic concerns and organisational issues, due to the amount of effort and resources that were being diverted from digital transformation or IT modernisation investments.

• Only 32% of organisations believe they can recover from a small attack, crisis or outage within a week: While most organisations consider cyber resiliency a foundational aspect of their broader business continuity or disaster recovery (BC/DR) strategy, BC/DR preparedness is not yet passing most SLA expectations. When asked how long IT would need to recover 50 servers, only 32% believed their IT staff could recover the servers within five business days. Other supporting statistics reflect that the growing gap between what data protection business units expect and what IT services can deliver is increasing. When asked about their latest large-scale cyber/disaster test, less than three out of five (58%) servers were recoverable within expectations.

• Data protection budget increases are accelerating: Data protection budgets are expected to grow by 6,6% in 2024. This is the second straight year that the survey revealed that data protection spending growth will outpace IT spending growth[1]. Overall, 92% of organisations expect to spend more on data protection in 2024 to continue to prepare against cyberattacks, as well as the changing production landscape that requires different approaches to data protection.

• Data protection and IT security are becoming more integrated: For the second straight year, survey respondents consider the most common and most important aspect of a modern data protection solution to be one that integrates with cyber security tools. Two out of five (41%) consider some aspect of mobility in cloud scenarios as the most important characteristic of a modern solution, including the ability to move a workload from one cloud to another and the standardisation of protection between on-premises workloads and IaaS/SaaS.

“Ransomware continues to be the biggest threat to business continuity,” said Dave Russell, VP of Enterprise Strategy at Veeam. “It is the number one cause of outages today, and protecting against it is hampering digital transformation efforts. Furthermore, although companies are increasing their spend on protection, less than a third of companies believe they can recover quickly from a small attack. The findings in this year’s Veeam Data Protection Trends Report highlight the need for continued cyber vigilance, and the importance of every organisation to ensure they have the right protection and recovery capabilities.”

Other notable insights from the report include:

• Most organisations are using containers but not backing them all up: Container usage continues to rise, with 59% of enterprises running them in production, and another 37% either rolling them out or planning to. Unfortunately, only 25% of organisations use a backup solution that is purpose-built for containers, while the rest of organisations back up only some of the underlying components, e.g., storage repositories or database contents. Neither tactic ensures that the applications and services will be resumable after a crisis, or even a simple import/configuration error that needs to be undone.

• 2024 will see significant job changes outside the organisation: The fact that 47% of respondents expressed an intent to seek a new job outside their current organisation within the next twelve months represents both a challenge and an opportunity for data protection initiatives. While losing valuable data protection talent puts organisations at a significant disadvantage when crises inevitably strike, the market shift presents an opportunity to add knowledge to protect modern production workloads that reside in clouds, such as Microsoft 365, Kubernetes containers, or other IaaS/PaaS deployments.

• Hybrid production architectures are forcing a reconsideration of ‘backup’: For the second straight year, the two most important considerations for ‘enterprise backup’ solutions are reliability and the protection of cloud-hosted workloads (IaaS and SaaS). This is problematic for organisations relying on older data centre-centric data protection solutions. As organisations move workloads from one platform or cloud to another, IT teams relying on legacy backup solutions that do not offer equitable protection of cloud-hosted workloads will struggle to maintain SLAs, particularly those that embrace cloud-native offerings like Microsoft 365/Salesforce (SaaS) or containers.

Download the complete Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2024 at


[1] Gartner Forecast Alert: IT Spending, Worldwide, 2Q23 Update; Published: 06 September 2023 ID: G00795167; Analyst(s): John-David Lovelock, Linglan Wang

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