Data loss and downtime cost enterprises $1.7 trillion in the last 12 months, according to the findings of a global data protection study sponsored by EMC and conducted by Vanson Bourne.
The study, which surveyed 3,300 IT decision-makers from midsize to enterprise-class businesses across 24 countries, found data loss is up by 400 percent since 2012 while 71 percent of organizations are still not fully confident in their ability to recover after a disruption.
Survey participants were award points based on their responses, ranking their data protection maturity in one of four categories, with the vast majority—87 percent—of businesses ranking in the bottom two categories for data protection maturity.
"The aim of the survey was to put a stake in the ground on where businesses are with data protection today and the most surprising thing has to be where that stake landed," Kelly Brown, senior director of global marketing for EMC Core Technologies, told eWEEK. "There are two reasons why. First, to discover that 87 percent of businesses are behind the curve when it comes to data protection maturity is very surprising to me."
The second, Brown explained, is the scale of data loss and downtime was surprising.
"We didn’t necessarily expect the number of incidents to change dramatically, but it has decreased since our previous surveys. That’s a good sign. It means more companies are preventing incidents," Brown said. "But at the same time, a five-fold increase in the volume of data lost says that, when something happens, it is far more devastating to the organization. So it’s a mixed bag."
Globally, 13 percent ranked ahead of the curve, with 11 percent classed as “adopters” and 2 percent considered “leaders,” with China claiming the greatest number of companies ahead of the curve (30 percent) while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) brought up the rear with none.
"The UAE lacked respondents that had surged ahead as vanguard adopters of new technologies," Brown explained. "Some industries are more heavily dependent on technology than others. And, likewise, some companies are more heavily entrenched with legacy data centers."
Very large enterprises of more than 5,000 employees were twice as likely (24 percent) to be ahead of the curve than smaller enterprises of 250-449 employees (12 percent), while companies in the U.S. and The Netherlands were the greatest vanguards outside of Asia Pacific and Japan (at 20 percent and 21 percent).
Business trends, such as big data, mobile and hybrid cloud, are creating challenges for data protection—51 percent of businesses lack a disaster recovery plan for any of these environments and just 6 percent have a plan for all three.
Overall, 62 percent rated big data, mobile and hybrid cloud as "difficult" to protect, even though 30 percent of all primary data located in some form of cloud storage.While the number of data loss incidents is decreasing overall, the volume of data lost during an incident is growing exponentially, with 64 percent of enterprises surveyed experiencing data loss or downtime in the last 12 months.
The average business experienced more than three working days (25 hours) of unexpected downtime in the last 12 months, while other commercial consequences of disruptions were loss of revenue (36 percent) and delays to product development (34 percent).
"The trend in the Index, when compared to our earlier research, shows a drop in the number of incidents but a really huge increase in their impact," Brown noted. "But data volumes are growing exponentially – we’ve shown that in the IDC Digital Universe studies. So, when data loss does happen, it’s much worse."