Survey Indicates Half of SMBs Have No Disaster Recovery Plan

Symantec queried about 1,700 small and medium-sized businesses this summer before announcing the findings of its 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey. The research shows that most SMBs in the United States are greatly overestimating how prepared they are if a natural disaster, hacker attack or power failure were to scuttle their computer systems.

New research from a prominent storage and data protection software provider indicates that almost half of small to medium-size enterprises have no formal data recovery plan if a natural disaster, hacker attack or power failure were to knock out their computer systems.
In addition, the research shows that most SMBs in the United States are greatly overestimating how prepared they are if such an outage were to hit their business.
Symantec queried about 1,700 small and medium-sized businesses this summer before announcing on Sept. 28 the findings of its 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey.
The report shows that almost half (47 percent) of the respondents have no formal data recovery plan (57 percent in North America) and that a major discrepancy exists between how SMBs perceive their disaster readiness and their actual level of preparedness, Symantec Vice President Pat Hanavan told eWEEK.
However, 89 percent of respondents said they intend to create a disaster recovery plan within the next six months. Seventy-seven percent of SMBs reported that they are located in a region that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, Hanavan said.
More of the key findings:

  • Eighty-two percent of the respondents said that they are "somewhat/very satisfied" with their data recovery plan (81 percent in North America).
  • Eighty-four percent believe they are very/somewhat protected (82 percent in North America).
  • Twenty-three percent of SMBs back up data daily, and the average SMB backs up only 60 percent of its company and customer data at that time.
  • The average SMB has experienced three outages within the past 12 months, with the leading causes being viruses or hacker attacks, power outages, or natural disasters.

Affected SMBs estimated the cost of these outages as being about $15,000 per day. These outages were fairly serious, with 42 percent lasting 8 hours or more, Symantec said. One in four customers (26 percent) reported losing important data, the survey revealed.
"There's something that doesn't quite ring true with the 82 percent number we found," Hanavan said. "They may think they have a good and reliable DR solution, but if all they're doing is backing up the data once a week or once a month, that's not a good DR solution."
The data also suggests SMB downtime costs their customers tens of thousands of dollars each year, Hanavan said. As a result, the findings show that SMBs can-and often do-lose business as a direct result of being unprepared for disasters, he said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...