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Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness

10th February, 2011

With the spate of inclement weather that has occurred in Queensland and Victoria I wanted to look into the preparedness of small to medium businesses to withstand these challenges.   I was interested to receive information from Gina Addiego Sheibley, from Symantec who shared some statistics of a recent Disaster Preparedness survey that they undertook.

Symantec Disaster Preparedness Survey 2011

In November 2010, Symantec surveyed 1,288 small and medium businesses that had 5 to 1,000 employees as part of their Disaster Preparedness Survey. Also included in the survey were 522 customers of the SMBs. The survey covered 23 countries from a variety of industries including Australia with 100 respondents.

Amongst the results, the findings showed that:

  1. Preparedness for disaster:
    50% of participants stated that there was a plan to deal with a disaster, and of the 50% that do not have a plan;

    • 52% of those don’t believe that the computers are critical to their business.
    • It never occurred to 41% of them to put a plan together.
    • 40% stated that preparedness for disaster was not a priority.
    • Also 28% responded that they did not intend to create a plan.
  2. Living in areas susceptible to natural disasters:
    It was found that 65% of the SMBs believed that they lived in areas susceptible to natural disasters and yet this did not seem to impact the planning for disaster.
  3. Key data not backed up:
    It was found that only 50% of the SMB’s surveyed backed-up at least 60% of data and only 23% backed up daily. Respondents claimed that a disaster would cause a data loss and 44% of them believe that they would lose 40% of their data in the event of a disaster.
  4. SMBs don’t act until it’s too late:
    It was found that of those SMBs that have implemented a disaster plan, 50% of those did so only after being impacted by data loss or outage.
    However, it was found that only 28% have actually tested their recovery plans and this is probably the most important component of the plan.

These are important findings resulting from the Symantec survey. The survey webpage has links to collateral to assist in preparing a plan.

Acronis Global Disaster Recovery Index: 2011

I would like to juxtapose the Symantec information with data from an Acronis  survey conducted in September and October 2010. The results of this survey form the Acronis Global Disaster Recovery Index. This index is an annual barometer providing a country ranking of backup and disaster recovery (DR) capabilities of businesses from around the world.  The number of respondents was greater than the Symantec survey but the company sizes were the same.
The survey measured the IT Managers confidence in their DR, confidence in their procedures and policies and their ability to recover quickly from downtime.

The most confident nations were Germany and the Netherlands. Australia was at the bottom of the positive index. Italy and France fared worst out of the surveyed nations with an overall lack of confidence.

Businesses in the UK, Australia and the US all had poor scores related to their abilities to avoid downtime in the face of serious incidences. Their confidence in recovering quickly (56%, 36%, and 40% respectively) was far lower than Germany at 77% and the Netherlands at 85%. I.e. in Australia only 36% of Businesses surveyed believed that they could recover quickly.

It was found that 36% of Australian businesses do not have any offsite backups or DR plans in place. This is supportive of the Symantec findings. Furthermore, the Australian businesses were more likely to claim that backup and DR did not have a high enough priority and cited lack of budget and resources as the primary reasons behind this. However it was found that the budget spends on backup and DR of 11% was only marginally lower than Germany at 13% and the Netherlands at 14%. Of interest also, France and Italy put the least priority on backup and DR.  39% of French and 53% of Italian businesses claim to spend nothing.

So if these findings extrapolate across Australia, I fear for the survivability of businesses impacted by the natural disasters. It is well and good to say that most businesses implement a business continuity encompassing a good backup and DR plan only after suffering data loss but it must be remembered that you have to survive that data loss to be able to do that.

If you would like assistance or further information in the preparation of a plan, please contact Computer Troubleshooters – Parramatta.