IT operations and mission-critical data that's stored in company servers have become the foundation of business continuity. The dependency on advanced data backup is driving the demand for cloud computing solutions; new technologies and growing vendor offerings have enabled firms to embrace new data protection and DR strategies.

Cloud-based backups have provided businesses with new solutions that can simplify and achieve practically all such requirements, according to "Your Strategic Guide to Backup & Recovery," a joint publication by the editors of CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, ITworld and Network World.

Cited in the publication, an Enterprise Strategy Group study from earlier this year found that, currently, a quarter of respondents said they use "cloud-based data protection services in some capacity," including backup, data recovery and storage. An additional 46 percent stated they planned to implement cloud services for the aforementioned reasons.

Noted benefits
While ESG collectively referred to cloud-based storage, backup and recovery as data protection as a service (DPaaS), one of the chief reasons that firms deployed this method was the ability to remotely store data at an off-site location for DR purposes.

Cost-effectiveness of DPaaS was an obvious incentive for the majority of organizations, but as cloud solutions improve, companies are beginning to build more trust in the maturing technology. The survey found that 59 percent of those polled protected no more than 40 percent of their applications in cloud-based backup services, however, more than half said they would be shifting over 40 percent of applications to cloud backups by 2015.

Building confidence
When ESG asked about the benefits of DPaaS, 36 percent said it reduced the cost of on-site data protection hardware; 33 percent noted it reduced IT staff expenses; and 37 percent cited improved security as the top benefit. While many businesses are slow to adopt cloud solutions because of security concerns, ESG's research seemingly shows these traditional hurdles to adoption are beginning to wane.

Noted in a recent IDG study regarding top security issues, as cyberthreats and the consumerization of IT - including the bring-your-own device trend - increase, so will the demand for DPaaS that incorporates solutions such as mobile device management, especially as consumer confidence in cloud-based services grow.

Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at consulting firm StorageIO, who was interviewed in the joint publication, said he's seen improvements in cloud backups in just six months. Once a skeptic, Schulz now has complete faith in DPaaS solutions.

"Every time I've bet against the cloud, I've been wrong," he said, according to the source.