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1/19/2011
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Michele Warren
Michele Warren
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Survey Says: U.S. SMBs Must Bolster Backup Strategies

A worldwide survey has revealed some disheartening news about U.S.-based SMBs: They're not feeling very confident about their disaster recovery and backup solutions.

A worldwide survey has revealed some disheartening news about U.S.-based SMBs: They're not feeling very confident about their disaster recovery and backup solutions.What's gumming up the works a bit for SMBs the world over is the rise of virtual and cloud-based computing solutions. Most companies are not embracing an either/or platform--that is, they're using hybrid systems consisting of on-premise, virtual, and cloud apps. As a result, there's no one cohesive DR deployment in place, and SMBs are feeling a little…well, scattered.

For the survey, conducted by the Ponemon Institute for backup and recovery provider Acronis, more than 3,000 SMB IT personnel in 13 countries were asked questions gauging their attitudes about backup and DR. The compiled data was used to create a Global Disaster Recovery Index, a "barometer for the SMB market of confidence levels in backup and DR solutions," says Seth Goodling, Americas Virtualization Practice Manager at Woburn, Mass.-based Acronis.

"SMBs are entering a hybrid world, where virtual, physical, and cloud applications are coming together," Goodling says. "And that hybrid world is adding complexity to companies' backup and disaster recovery plans." He adds that up to five backup solutions are being used concurrently at some SMBs, and that 76% of respondents said a single backup solution would improve overall disaster recovery efforts.

OK, here's where it gets a little scary. Among the 13 countries included in the poll, the United States ranked 10th in confidence (the higher the number, the lower the confidence). One-third of U.S. SMBs reported that a limited budget and/or a lack of resources is preventing them from having a DR and backup strategy in place. And there's more bad news from U.S. respondents:

-62% concede that they're concerned about their ability to avoid substantial downtime should a "serious incident" take place. -Only 38% believe their IT staffs are qualified to handle DR operations in the event of a disaster or other disruptive event. -Overall, U.S. SMBs are spending 10% less on DR and backup than their international peers.

And what of our SMB counterparts around the globe?

-Very confident: Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. With the best controls, procedures, and documented policies for backup and DR, these countries are 50+% more confident than the average that they can recover quickly in the event of an incident.

-Confident: Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. These countries have the best qualified staff to execute DR and backup operations.

-In the middle: Norway and Sweden. These countries spend more of their IT budgets on backup and DR than their peers, but they don't expect much of an upsurge in the popularity of cloud-based computing. While they anticipate growth of a little more than 20% over the next year, the average growth figure elsewhere is 87%.

-The laggards: The U.K., U.S. and Australia. Only 22% of Australian businesses feel they would be able to recover quickly from an incident.

-Room to grow: France and Italy. These two European players are most likely to admit that don't have a backup/DR plan in place and least likely to recover from an event.

This isn't the first study to reveal holes in SMB DR and backup plans. A recent Symantec poll reinforced the message. Apparently, SMBs have a lot of tough questions to ask themselves. But now that we know where the walls are weak, exactly how are we going to shore them up? That's perhaps the most important question of all.

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