Veritas Technologies released survey results today finding that many info-tech leaders don’t fully understand the risks of moving their corporate data to the cloud.

One third of 1,200 respondents said they expected monthly downtime of about 15 minutes from major cloud providers, but what they experienced was about a half-hour. Also, 83% said they feel their cloud providers are responsible for protecting data and applications, when in reality most cloud companies only guarantee the infrastructure itself, not your workload.

SEE: Systems downtime expense calculator (Tech Pro Research)

Veritas officials said they commissioned the survey after noticing a trend during customer briefings. “There were a number of occasions when [customers] would comment, ‘If I’m going to the cloud, why do I need to back up my data anymore? Isn’t that what the cloud’s for?,'” Veritas marketing manager Alex Sakaguchi explained.

“There was some level of assumption–what other misconceptions are there? That’s really what started the survey,” Sakaguchi said. “Some of the specifics were alarming and surprising, but it wasn’t surprising that people were thinking their cloud providers were doing more.”

Companies sometimes don’t realize that outsourcing IT to a cloud provider does not mean you can stop thinking about the infrastructure. “You really can’t export the responsibility for maintaining business resiliency,” Sakaguchi observed. (Organizations that hire multiple cloud companies can wind up in the unexpected position of service provider management, which they may not be qualified to do, Cisco Systems officials noted recently.) This can partially wipe out the cost savings of a cloud migration. “In some cases we have been part of highly scrutinized cost comparisons,” Sakaguchi noted. “That’s really where it comes down to a pretty intimate discussion.”

“[T]here are other key considerations customers should keep in mind that go beyond the actual infrastructure-level outage, such as bringing their applications back online once the infrastructure is back online. Depending on the complexity of application inter-dependencies during restart and the amount of data lost during the outage, the actual time of application recovery may be far longer than the time of infrastructure recovery,” Veritas stated in its survey findings. “An organization may alternately decide to be more proactive and fail over applications back to their on-premise data center or to another cloud. This would be the primary responsibility of the organization, not the cloud service provider.”

SEE: The cloud v. data center decision (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Veritas, of course, markets its own software for cloud backup. The latest version 8.1.1. of its flagship NetBackup software now supports the Amazon Glacier cold-storage tier. Veritas plans to add support for the equivalent Microsoft Azure Archive Storage, but the release timing is not yet known, Sakaguchi’s colleague Dan O’Farrell said.

NetBackup version 8.1.1 has a bigger trick up its sleeve unrelated to cloud backup. Its version number indicates minor changes, but it’s the first version with a public application programming interface, O’Farrell said. That could be useful for integrating the software with other management applications and technical support desks, he said. The software also has new features for public-sector customers such as FIPS compliance and IPv6.