Businesses Lack Disaster Preparedness: Symantec Survey

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2011-01-13
 
 
 

Security specialist Symantec Corp. announced the findings of its 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, which measured the attitudes and practices of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and their customers toward disaster preparedness. The survey findings suggested that though SMBs are at risk, they are still not making disaster preparedness a priority until they experience a disaster or data loss. The data also reveals that the cost of not being prepared is high, putting an SMB at risk of going out of business. According to the survey, downtime not only costs SMBs several thousands of dollars, it also causes their customers to leave.

The findings show that many SMBs do not understand the importance of disaster preparedness. Half of the respondents do not have a plan in place. Forty-one percent said that it never occurred to them to put together a plan and 40 percent stated that disaster preparedness is not a priority for them. This lack of preparation is somewhat surprising given how many SMBs are at risk: Sixty-five percent of respondents live in regions susceptible to natural disasters. In the past 12 months, the typical SMB experienced 6 computer outages, with the leading causes being cyberattacks, power outages or natural disasters.

"According to the research findings, SMBs still haven't recognized the tremendous impact a disaster can have on their businesses. Despite warnings, it seems like many still think it can't happen to them," said Bernard Laroche, senior director of SMB product marketing for Symantec. "Disasters happen and SMBs cannot afford to risk losing their information or - more importantly - their customers' critical information. Simple planning can enable SMBs to protect their information in the event of a disaster, which in turn will help them build trust with their customers."

The survey also revealed that the information that drives most SMBs is simply not protected. Less than half of SMBs back up their data weekly or more frequently and only 23 percent back up daily. Respondents also reported that a disaster would cause information loss. In fact, forty-four percent of SMBs said they would lose at least 40 percent of their data in the event of a disaster.

According to the survey findings, half of the SMBs that have implemented disaster preparedness plans did so after experiencing an outage and/or data loss. Fifty-two percent put together their plans within the last six months. However, only 28 percent have actually tested their recovery plans, which is a critical component of actually being prepared for a potential disaster.

Customers of SMBs also reported considerable effects to their own businesses. When SMBs experience downtime, it costs their customers an average of $10,000 per day. In addition to direct financial costs, 29 percent of the customers surveyed lost "some" or "a lot" of important data as a result of disasters impacting their SMB vendors. The survey also found that 36 percent of SMBs intend to create a disaster preparedness plan in the future.

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