According to a recent survey by Charlotte, N.C.-based Agility Recovery Solutions and Hughes Marketing Group, small and midsize businesses are woefully unprepared for disasters and are being misled by existing data backup plans.
The 2009 Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Survey conducted interviews with more than 700 business owners and executives throughout North America. The results show while 94 percent of companies have formal data backup plans, 90 percent of smaller companies (less than 100 employees) surveyed said they spend less than one day per month maintaining their continuity plans.
The survey results suggest data backup brings a false sense of security. One in five small businesses surveyed spend no time at all maintaining their plans, while one in five medium businesses (greater than 100 employees) spend more than 10 days per month on their continuity plan. While 75 percent of SMBs surveyed say they can have their employees back to work within days of a disaster, only 28 percent have access to alternative office space, though 41 percent have access to mobile office space. The ability to acquire temporary office space was possible for 54 percent of companies surveyed, while 57 percent had access to power generators.
Agility officials said they think the responses indicate a difference between saying the "right thing" and taking action. Regardless of business size, Agility said survey results show many companies have difficulties getting C-level executives to embrace the importance of continuity planning. Gaining C-level buy-in remains a challenge in the small business community.
Although 67 percent of respondents feel an effective business continuity plan is paramount to company success, only 53 percent think their company's management team feels the same way. According to the survey, in the last two years, 52 percent of businesses experienced interruptions that halted productivity.
Agility chief executive Bob Boyd said a data backup plan is not the same as a disaster recovery plan, and the best data in the world is useless if users can't deploy it properly. "Businesses must take measures to ensure employees can return to work immediately after a disaster," he said. "Without alternate plans, your business will pay the ultimate price."