Poll: Businesses Say Disaster Preparedness Is Not A Priority

Symantec Corp.'s 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, which measured the attitudes and practices of small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and their customers toward disaster preparedness, found that although SMBs are at risk, they are still not making disaster preparedness a priority until they experience a disaster or data loss.

The data also reveals that the cost of not being prepared is high, putting an SMB at risk of going out of business. According to the survey, downtime not only costs SMBs several thousands of dollars, it also causes their customers to leave.

“According to the research findings, SMBs still haven’t recognized the tremendous impact a disaster can have on their businesses. Despite warnings, it seems like many still think it can’t happen to them,” said Bernard Laroche, senior director, SMB product marketing, Symantec. “Disasters happen and SMBs cannot afford to risk losing their information or – more importantly – their customers’ critical information. Simple planning can enable SMBs to protect their information in the event of a disaster, which in turn will help them build trust with their customers.”

Half of the respondents do not have a plan in place. Forty-one percent said it never occurred to them to put together a plan and 40 percent stated that disaster preparedness is not a priority for them.

This lack of preparation is surprising given how many SMBs are at risk. Sixty-five percent of respondents live in regions susceptible to natural disasters. In the past 12 months, the typical SMB experienced 6 computer outages, with the leading causes being cyberattacks, power outages or natural disasters.

The survey revealed that the information that drives most SMBs is simply not protected. Less than half of SMBs back up their data weekly or more frequently and only 23 percent back up daily. Respondents also reported that a disaster would cause information loss. In fact, 44 percent of SMBs said they would lose at least 40 percent of their data in the event of a disaster.

The median cost of downtime for an SMB is $12,500 per day. Outages cause customers to leave — 54 percent of SMB customer respondents reported they have switched SMB vendors due to unreliable computing systems, a 12 percent increase compared with last year’s survey. This downtime can also put them out of business. Also, 44 percent of SMB customers surveyed stated that their SMB vendors have temporarily shut down due to a disaster.

The survey found that 36 percent of SMBs intend to create a disaster preparedness plan in the future.

Symantec’s SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey is the result of research conducted in October and November 2010 by Applied Research, which surveyed IT professionals responsible for computers, networks and technology resources at small- and mid-sized businesses. The report was designed to gauge the impact and stage of disaster recovery preparedness, perceptions and practices of small- and mid-sized businesses. The study included more than 1,840 respondents from 23 countries in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific and Latin America.

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