Posts Tagged ‘Symantec’

Symantec’s Small Business Preparedness Survey

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
Moving Pieces

Moving Pieces

Symantec Corp. announced the findings of its 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey which reveals a large discrepancy between small business perceptions of disaster preparedness and the less flattering reality. While 84% of small businesses surveyed reported that the feel very protected for disaster and expect their customers to be patient with them while they recover from an outage, this is inconsistent with their own practices with vendors. While 42% of small businesses switched vendors because they believed the vendor’s systems to be unreliable, 65% expected customers to wait for them to recover from their own disasters. (The study included more than 1650 respondents from 28 countries in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Asia Pacific and Latin America.)

Disruptions are frequent: the average small business has experienced three outages within the past year, with the leading causes being virus or hacker attacks, power outages or natural disasters. Yet nearly half do not have a plan to respond to such disruptions. The survey found that only one in five (23 percent) small businesses back up daily and an average small business backs up only 60 percent of their company and customer data. More than half estimate they would lose 40 percent of their data if their computing systems were wiped out in a fire. The small businesses surveyed estimated the cost of these outages as being $15,000 per day on average, with 42% of outages lasting eight or more hours. One-quarter reported losing important business data.

In connection with the study, Symantec put forward the following recommendations, which are consistent with what I recommended in Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses (Wiley, second edition, 2008):

Determine your needs: Take time to decide what critical information should be secured and protected. Customer, financial and business information, trade secrets and critical documents should be prioritized. Monitor industry reports that help to identify and prevent threats that your business faces.

Engage trusted advisors: With limited time, budget and employees, you should look to a solution provider to help create plans, implement automated protection solutions and monitor for trends and threats to your business. They can also educate employees on retrieving information from backups when needed and suggest offsite storage facilities to protect critical data.

Automate where you can: Automating the backup process ensures that it is not overlooked. You can reduce the costs of downtime by implementing automated tools that minimize human involvement and address other weaknesses in disaster recovery plans.

Test annually: Recovering data is the worst time to learn that critical files were not backed up as planned. Disaster recovery testing is invaluable and you should seek to improve the success of testing by evaluating and implementing testing methods which are non-disruptive.