The Unitrends State of BCDR Survey Report 2021 focuses on the current and future landscape of business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) approaches. Survey responses were gathered from more than 750 IT professionals across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific regions to bring you deep insights into the major IT priorities, pressing business challenges, IT spending, cloud adoption and top BCDR trends.

For the purpose of reporting our findings, we have aggregated much of our data by organization size, categorizing respondents as representatives of small-to-midsize “SMB” organizations (fewer than 500 employees) and mid-market-to-enterprise “MME” (more than 500 employees) organizations.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rapid shift in the way companies do business. With organizations across the globe looking to adopt long-term remote and hybrid work, they must reimagine their strategies to adapt to the new nature of work and keep pace with the changes taking place. The Unitrends State of BCDR Survey Report 2021 offers a wealth of data and useful insights to help your business thrive, as well as to keep your mission-critical data safe in 2022 and beyond.

Here are three key findings from the report.

  1. Cybersecurity and cyber resilience are among the top priorities for SMBs and mid-market enterprises

With cybercrime up 600% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and remote/hybrid work opening up new threat vectors, cybersecurity and cyber resilience have emerged as major priorities for both SMB and MME organizations.

  1. Workloads delivered via cloud will increase significantly

More than 80% of organizations across industry verticals have already put some of their workloads in the cloud, and this is expected to double in 2022. Beyond traditional use cases, such as archiving and failover, both SMB and MME respondents indicated increasing the number of workloads that are delivered via cloud versus on-premises infrastructure.

  1. IT spend is likely to increase in 2022

With global economy projected to grow by 4.9% in 2022, more than one-third of respondents anticipate that budgets will increase in 2022 while another third anticipate flat budgets. Less than one in ten respondents anticipate IT budget cuts.

Let’s take a look at some of the major highlights of the Unitrends State of BCDR Survey Report 2021.

The state of protected environments

The volume of data worldwide is projected to exceed 180 zettabytes by 2025. This enormous expected growth is due to online education, remote workers and increased usage of home entertainment systems. When asked how much data they are backing up today, about 36.71% of respondents from mid-market enterprises said they are backing up more than 75TB of data as compared to 12.42% of SMBs. Conversely, 60.25% of SMBs report backing up 10TB of data or less.

The majority of protected workloads are still being run on-premise currently. About 13% of respondents cited that all workloads are run exclusively from an on-premise environment. The majority of SMBs and mid-market enterprises (44.93%) still rely heavily on physical servers while 39.13% use virtual servers.

Cloud adoption set to increase

Migration to the cloud and adoption of cloud platforms grew exponentially in 2021 as businesses learned to adapt to the new normal. As businesses look to transition to a hybrid work model, the cloud’s agility, flexibility and scalability make it a popular choice to support distributed workforces. As such, it’s not surprising that the percentage of all organizations that operate 100% cloud-hosted workloads is expected to increase by 70% over the next two years.

This trend is set to continue as more than 40% of respondents cited that they expect as many as half of all workloads to be hosted in the cloud in the next 24 months. Additionally, more than 45% SMBs and mid-market enterprises plan to migrate a portion of their applications and services to cloud-hosted platforms in the coming years.

IT budgets projected to grow in 2022

According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending will exceed $4 trillion in 2022. The majority of the respondents seem to agree as they anticipate their IT budgets will increase next year. About 37.53% of SMBs and 36.72% of mid-market enterprises reported they expect IT budgets to increase. Less than 10% of SMBs (9.32%) and 7.76% of mid-market enterprises anticipate budgets will decrease.

Cloud identified as a key aspect of BCDR strategy

The sudden shift to remote work has changed the way data is created, consumed, shared and stored. With critical data and IP being created on remote devices, endpoints and remote networks, it’s critical to back up user data to maximize productivity and protect your businesses’ digital intellectual property. In this regard, the majority of the respondents identified the cloud as a key aspect of their overall BCDR strategy, apart from hosting production workloads.

The three most frequently cited use cases for the cloud in BCDR were:

1. Archiving/long-term retention (21.24% SMB, 20.64% MME)

2. Manual failover/disaster recovery (20.18% SMB, 18.30% MME)

3. Backup for PCs and other endpoints (16.08% SMB, 15.81% MME)

The Unitrends State of BCDR Survey Report 2021 found a surprisingly large number of SMBs adopting hosted Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) at a similar rate as mid-market enterprises. DRaaS enables businesses to leverage the experience of cloud providers to perform the heavy lifting, such as implementation, failover and recovery of service, which reduces the burden on IT admins and frees up their time to pursue more strategic initiatives.

Top BCDR challenges

As backups must now cover traditional application data, endpoints, multiple clouds and SaaS data, businesses might assume “more is better.” However, that’s not the case with BCDR. When asked how many unique solutions they use for backup and disaster recovery, nearly twice the number of mid-market enterprises reported utilizing three or more unique vendors for backup and disaster recovery as compared to SMBs (39.89% to 22.13%).

The report also revealed mid-market enterprises are spending significantly more time managing BCDR solutions as compared to SMBs. In fact, mid-market enterprises cited “Management of Multiple Solutions” as their top BCDR-related challenge — 32% more than SMBs. On the other hand, SMBs cited “Increasing IT Costs” as their top BCDR-related challenge — 19% more frequently than mid-market enterprises.

Top attributes of an ideal BCDR solution

We asked our respondents to rank a series of characteristics on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 indicating the “most important.” Listed below are the top three attributes.

  1. Integrated security capabilities scored the highest, receiving 82.14% of 4- and 5-star ratings, and the highest average score of 4.29.
  2. Ease of use came in second with an average score of 4.24.
  3. Automation was ranked third with an average score of 4.18.

Cybersecurity remains the top concern

With business-critical data now living in multiple places, remote/hybrid workforces introducing new security challenges and a surge in cyber incidents, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity is the top concern for businesses today.

More than 40% of all organizations surveyed cited cybersecurity as the challenge most relevant to their organization. And about one-third of mid-market enterprises and 27.70% of SMBs identified preventing ransomware as their top data protection priority.

For more detailed insights on what the current state of BCDR is and what the future looks like, get your free copy of the report.

About Adam Marget

Adam is a Technical Specialist on the Unitrends marketing team supporting digital and in-market events. Over the last 4 years with Unitrends, he has been delighted at the opportunity to work with customers, prospects, and partners alike to help solve challenges around data protection and business continuity. Adam joined Unitrends in 2016, bringing with him experience working with variety of manufacturers’ technology from edge to core as a coworker from national IT solutions provider CDW.