SMB Data Recovery Readiness is Woefully Lacking

By | Jul 2, 2012

For IT managers at midsize firms, few things are more important than the stability and security of the information held in their systems, which is why a new survey on the state of data backup and recovery is equal parts surprising and disturbing. IT professionals for all businesses need to not only understand how important their information is, but they also need to start taking active steps to ensure that data is secure.

Data Recovery Survey

A new survey on data backup and recovery, released this week by Backup My Info! (BUMI), sheds some disturbing light on the state of data administration in small and midsize businesses. The survey questioned 104 SMB CEOs about their data, and found that 98 percent of respondents thought that taking more than a single day to recover from a data loss incident was unacceptable. That's a response that makes a lot of sense, but from there, the numbers get a little scary.

As noted in this eWeek article, only 1 percent of respondents performed daily tests on their system resiliency, 12 percent performed weekly tests, 19 percent performed monthly tests, and 27 percent performed a quarterly review. Most shocking of all are the 17 percent who run tests once a year, and the 24 percent who never test at all. With almost all respondents claiming that their data is imperative for day-to-day operations, one wonders how those 24 percent of businesses expect to fare in the event of a data outage.

The survey also found that many businesses have no idea what the actual cost of unexpected downtime is. As detailed in this SF Gate article, 36 percent of respondents claimed that they had no idea how much an hour of downtime would cost their company. After that, the most common response was that downtime would cost thousands of dollars an hour, with some even claiming hundreds of thousands or millions of lost dollars each hour.

Now, the survey was conducted by a company that provides data storage and recovery solutions, so obviously they wouldn't release information claiming that their services weren't needed. But the results still mesh with other similar surveys showing that IT managers at SMBs often don't give the right amount of attention to potential data issues.

Data Resiliency and Security

As cloud computing continues to make gains in popularity and hackers continue to make headlines, data security is constantly on the tip of every IT professional's tongue. However, while an event perpetrated from an outside force is always a risk, there is even a greater risk of data loss occurring from a failure in the hardware or software that handles the information. Businesses that simply do not test their data recovery systems are doing something just as potentially dangerous as leaving open, unsecured access points to their network, yet many don't even realize it.

Information is more important than ever to midsize businesses, with the growth of big data analytics proving that actionable information can be procured from just about any collected data set. IT managers need to act now to ensure the stability and resiliency of their systems. An information outage has the ability to bring many businesses to a complete stop, and the difference between hours of downtime and days of downtime may be as little as testing and understanding the information recovery system.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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