Most small businesses do not plan for disaster recovery

A report published by security firm Symantec has found that 57 per cent of the world’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), could be at risk in the event of a disaster as they have no plan for recovery or business continuity.

The annual study shows that in 2011, the number of businesses without adequate disaster recovery planning has actually risen when compared to last year, when just 47 per cent of SMBs lacked an adequate plan of action.

SMBs were considered to be firms with under 1000 employees and almost 1210 businesses were questioned as part of the survey, with those organisations staffed by under 100 people being at the greatest risk.

Symantec’s Bernard Laroche, said that SMBs are showing that they are still unable to protect themselves in the event of a catastrophic event, whether it be severe weather conditions, downtime or data loss.

Forty-one per cent of the businesses who admitted to lacking a plan for disaster recovery went on to mention that they had never even thought about the concept of preparing for disasters. Thirty-six per cent said that they planned to create contingencies in the first half of the year.

Startlingly, it was suggested by 52 per cent of those without disaster recovery plans that IT systems are not intrinsically important to the operation of a modern business, which equates to a quarter of the total polled.

Mr Laroche said that this statistic alone was one of the most worrying unearthed by the study, particularly since the businesses questioned operate in various sectors and markets.

In the past 12 months an average SMB could expect to experience six periods of downtime, according to the study. Among the biggest threats to business continuity were power outages, natural disasters and the activities of cybercriminals.

Each day of downtime costs an average of 8000 for SMBs and serious data loss by customers and clients has also resulted, because of technical issues and halted services, with a third of respondents noting that this was the case.

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