Businesses still not ready for an IT disaster

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) has released results from its second annual small and mid-size business (SMB) Disaster Preparedness survey which revealed that half of the respondents from around the world still haven’t implemented a disaster recovery plan.

The survey was conducted by Applied Research last November and included responses from 1,288 SMBs (five to 1000 employees) and 552 customers of SMBs from around the world.

Randy Cochran, vice-president of channel sales for the Americas at Symantec, said that despite the warnings and efforts from vendors, many SMBs still aren’t prepared for a disaster and are at risk.

“Most SMBs are reacting to disaster which is often times too late,” Cochran said. “This could have a big negative financial impact on them. In the SMB space, this could not only hurt the brand, but it could also mean game over sooner than any other size company.”

The survey found that of the 50 per cent of the SMBs that don’t have a disaster recovery plan, 14 per cent of them have no plans to create one, while the remaining 36 per cent intend to create a plan in the future.

The top three reasons why SMBs said they don’t have a plan are: 52 per cent don’t think computer systems are critical to business, 41 per cent said creating a plan never occurred to them and 40 per cent said data protection isn’t a priority.

“Together with our partners, we’re asking SMBs if they’re prepared in the event of a disaster,” Cochran said. “We need help from our partners to carry this message out and we’re encouraging them to use the stats from this survey because information is critical.”

Especially since 65 per cent of the SMBs that were surveyed stated they live in regions that are susceptible to natural disasters, Cochran said it’s important for companies to completely safeguard their information. The survey also found that the typical SMB surveyed experienced six outages last year due to things like power outages and cyber attacks.

The survey also found that only half of the SMB respondents back up 60 per cent of their data and only 23 per cent do backups on a daily basis. In addition to this, in the event of a disaster, 44 per cent of respondents anticipated they’d lose at least 40 per cent of their data.

Cochran said of the 50 per cent of surveyed SMBs who have disaster recovery plans, 52 per cent of them implemented them within the last six months. Furthermore, only 28 per cent of these SMBs have actually tested their disaster recovery plans.

On the customer side, 54 per cent of the customers of SMBs that were surveyed said they’ve switched SMB vendors due to unreliable computing systems.

“Don’t let your systems be the reason why you failed,” Cochran said. “These are relatively easy fixes where finding the right partner and solutions helps. Don’t wait until it’s too late to create a plan and reduce the risk of losing critical information by implementing security, backup and archiving solutions. Get your employees involved, test frequently and also have a plan.”

Cochran makes this recommendation to SMB customers, “Do a full backup either every week or every other week and do incremental backups on a daily basis.”

In terms of channel opportunity, Cochran said partners can manage the whole security and protection process for customers in order to make more margins.

“Some partners have adopted that ‘let me just take that over for you’ type of business approach,” Cochran said. “They’re managing the entire process for them, so they act like that insurance policy where they can get customers back to where they need to if disaster strikes.”

Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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