Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Despite 2011 being one of the most tumultuous years on record, businesses around the world have grown in confidence about their ability to back up and then recover data and IT systems following a disaster.

According to the 2012 Acronis Global Disaster Recovery (DR) Index, businesses are on average 14% more confident in their backup and DR capabilities than they were compared to the previous year’s result in the Index. Key to this rise is the perceived improvements in having the right resources (tools / environment) and the right technologies for the job. Confidence in these two criteria alone has more than doubled in the past 12 months.

Underlying this increase in confidence is the fact that 66% of businesses are checking their backup and disaster recovery plans more regularly, possibly as a consequence of the catastrophic natural disasters which hit most regions during 2011, including destructive flooding in Australia, Brazil and Thailand, deadly earthquakes in New Zealand and Turkey, storms costing billions in damages across the United States and the devastating tsunami in Japan from which some businesses are still yet to fully recover.

Despite an overall improvement in confidence, other more concerning findings from the survey of almost 6,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) in 18 countries include:
• Flat budgets: businesses are spending the same on backup and DR year on year (10% of IT spend).
• Almost half (47%) now feel that business executives are not supportive of their backup and disaster recovery operations.
• Data growth continues unabated: a typical SMB creates almost 40TB of fresh data each year.
• To err is human: 60% of those surveyed blame human error as the most common cause of system downtime.
• The cost of failure: average system downtime lasts 2.2 days costing each business USD$366,363 each year in lost productivity.

Managing hybrid physical, virtual and cloud environments presents the biggest challenge

The vast majority (70%) of the IT managers surveyed agree that, for the second year running, their greatest challenge in a hybrid environment is moving data between physical, virtual and cloud environments. Yet the survey found that most businesses are still failing to consolidate their backup and disaster recovery tools to address this challenge. Most rely on multiple tools, with a third using three or more different solutions to protect their data. Over half (53%) use separate solutions for their physical and virtual environments.

Australia Becomes More Confident, But One-Third Have No Offsite Backup Strategy
Despite the US, UK and Australia reporting below-average confidence levels for the second consecutive year, each region has seen confidence levels improve.

Although Australia scores the lowest of the three, its confidence more than doubled in 2011 growing by 136%. Australian organisations are 36% more confident that their backup and DR operations won’t fail. Like Japan, once a nation has battled through natural disaster their confidence in backup seems to rise. This increase over the previous year is supported by the facts that organisations in Australia were:

• 22% more confident that they had boardroom support;
• 32% more confident that they had enough resources;
• 39% more confident that they had the necessary technologies.

However, despite the horrendous flooding in Australia in early 2011, over a third (36%) of Australian companies surveyed still don’t have an offsite backup strategy, the same as the previous year.

Instead of automating offsite backups, it appears that nearly a third of all the Australian companies surveyed (28%) are still relying on a more traditional method of physically backing up onsite on either a tape or disk backup and then taking it offsite each day. Because this relies on an individual employee being responsible for and remembering to carry out this task, this is where human error can occur.

Commenting on the findings, Karl Sice, General Manager - Pacific from Acronis, said: “The survey findings suggest that the natural disasters of 2011 have been a catalyst for positive change when it comes to most businesses testing their backup and DR operations. However, for all the positives in the survey, too many strategic-level negatives, such as failure to get executive buy-in and the use of multiple, disjointed solutions, linger when it comes to keeping the business-critical digital assets of a business secure, protected and immediately available, particularly in a hybrid world.”

The Acronis Global Disaster Recovery Index Ranking
To create the Index, each country surveyed was ranked based on its average responses from 11 questions about their confidence in backup and DR readiness, capabilities and practices. Questions covered technology, resources, procedures and executive buy-in.

Notes to the editor:

The survey was conducted by the Ponemon Institute across 18 countries in September and October 2011. Over 6,000 IT practitioners were surveyed in small- to mid-market organisations with no more than 1,000 seats (no more than 500 seats in Australia). Details of how the index was calculated and where each country appears can be obtained from Shuna Boyd at [email protected]

This year an additional five countries were added to the report, over those surveyed in 2010. Comparisons in this press release are made year on year with the 13 original countries.

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