TMCNet:  IT Pro Survey Reveals User Error as the Leading Cause of Data Loss in SaaS Applications

[March 24, 2016]

IT Pro Survey Reveals User Error as the Leading Cause of Data Loss in SaaS Applications

Spanning, an EMC (NewsAlert) company, today announced the results of a survey of U.S. and U.K. IT professionals, comparing the two regions in terms of software-as-a-service (SaaS (NewsAlert)) adoption, data protection and compliance. Key among the findings, accidental deletion of information was the leading cause of data loss from SaaS applications (43 percent in U.S., 41 percent in U.K.), ahead of data loss caused by malicious insiders and hackers.

Based on responses from 1,037 IT professionals in the U.S. and U.K., the data also revealed insights into who is responsible for SaaS data protection, organizational confidence in SaaS data protection and the top concerns about moving data to the cloud. Key findings include:

  • E-mail/Messaging Lead in SaaS Adoption – More than 50 percent of U.S. and U.K. IT pros said that e-mail/messaging is deployed or will be deployed via SaaS in the next 12 months. Financial, HR and CRM applications followed closely behind.
  • Gap Exists Between Perception and Reality of SaaS Data Protection Responsibility – Organizations mostly rely on their SaaS vendors for backup and recovery of SaaS applications (49 percent in U.S., 42 percent in U.K.), despite the prominence of data loss due to user error (70 percent in U.S., 66 percent in U.K.), for which SaaS providers are not typically responsible. As one way to protect SaaS data, roughly a third of organizations in the U.S. and U.K. are either using today or plan to use a cloud-to-cloud backup provider for backup and recovery of their SaaS applications within the next 12 months (37 percent in U.S., 31 percent in U.K.).
  • U.S. Leads U.K. in SaaS Data Protection Confidence – Eighty percent of U.S. IT pros are confident in their organization’s ability to secure SaaS application data, compared to 45 percent in the U.K.
  • Security Is the Top Concern When Moving Critical Business Applications to the Cloud – While organizations in both the U.S. and U.K. have experienced data loss due to accidental deletions, migration errors (33 percent in U.S., 31 percent in U.K.), and accidental overwrites (27 percent in U.S., 26 percent in U.K.), they are still most concerned about external attacks (44 percent in both regions).
  • U.S. and U.K. Differ Most on Security Whn it Comes to SaaS Adoption – When asked to rank differences between U.S. and U.K. when it comes to SaaS adoption, security led compliance, availability of data, costs and data privacy as having the most differences.

“This survey not only validates the accelerating adoption of SaaS, but also that U.S. and U.K. IT professionals understand the importance of having a backup and recovery strategy for SaaS application data with only 7 percent and 8 percent, respectively, not planning or using any form of backup and recovery for their SaaS applications,” said Jeff Erramouspe, vice president and general manager, Spanning. “When it comes to SaaS data protection, however, the survey shows misplaced confidence. SaaS providers are not responsible for recovery of data lost due to user error, yet that continues to be its leading cause. It demonstrates the need for cloud-to-cloud backup and restore solutions.”

E.U. Data Privacy Rules Create Costly Compliance Burden

The survey found that 50 percent of U.S. and 40 percent of U.K. IT professionals agree that the rapidly changing E.U. data privacy regulations are creating a costly compliance burden. In light of the “E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield” being put in place, the survey also showed opposing views of the new rules among IT professionals on both sides of the Atlantic, with those in the U.K. taking a more cautious approach to data sovereignty.

Despite the caution, the survey also indicated that a vast majority of IT professionals agree (66 percent in the U.K., 72 percent in the U.S.) that storing data in a primary cloud provider’s E.U. data center will ensure 100 percent compliance with data and privacy regulations.

“Being a U.K.-headquartered company, it is critical that we ensure that the aspects of our data are managed within the European Economic Area and governed securely,” said Garry Lengthorn, Director of IT Services, SThree PLC. “This was a critical driver for our company choosing Spanning Backup. Now, our Salesforce data remains in the U.K. data center, where it can be safely protected, backed up and restored.”

Spanning helps thousands of organizations around the globe protect the critical information from their SaaS applications in the cloud with Spanning Backup, which is available for Microsoft Office 365, Google (NewsAlert) Apps for Work and Salesforce.

Download the full survey report and learn more.

Survey Methodology

Spanning, an EMC company, commissioned the online survey, which was completed by 1,037 respondents in December 2015. Of the respondents, 500 (48 percent) were based in the United Kingdom, and 537 in the United States (52 percent). A full 100 percent of the respondents “have influence or decision making authority on spending in the IT department” of their organization.

Respondents were asked to select between two specific roles: “IT Function with Oversight for SaaS Applications” (75 percent U.S., 78 percent U.K., 77 percent overall); “Line of Business/SaaS application owner” (39 percent U.S., 43 percent U.K., 41 percent overall); and the remaining identified as “other.”

About Spanning

Spanning, an EMC company, is a leading provider of backup and recovery for SaaS applications, helping organizations to protect and manage their information in the cloud. The company provides powerful, enterprise-class data protection for Google Apps, Salesforce, and Microsoft (NewsAlert) Office 365. Spanning Backup is the most trusted cloud-to-cloud backup solution for thousands of companies and millions of users around the world. Learn more at

EMC is a trademark or registered trademark of EMC Corporation (NewsAlert) in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. Spanning is a trademark or registered trademark of Spanning Cloud Apps LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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