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New research by Databarracks has revealed that just 27 percent of small businesses have a business continuity plan in place, compared to 68 percent of medium-sized organizations and 75 percent of large organizations. Of the small business that did have a business continuity plan, 73 percent admitted they hadn't tested it in the last 12 months, with nearly half not planning to within the next year.

These findings are part of Databarracks' sixth annual Data Health Check survey report. The survey questioned over 400 IT decision makers in the UK to find out how they've experienced the IT services they use in the last year, and what they expect to change in the next 12 months.

The results revealed that, unsurprisingly, disaster recovery testing had a huge impact on how confident organizations are in their disaster recovery solution. Of those organizations that had tested their disaster recovery plans within the last year, 58 percent were ‘very confident’ in them, with this figure falling to just 28 percent for non-testers.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 88 percent of organizations with a business continuity plan had a specific IT disaster recovery plan outlined within it, with a further 7 percent planning to implement this within the next 12 months.
  • The overall leading cause of data loss was human error (24 percent), with hardware failure close behind (21 percent). However, for the second year in a row, large organizations have lost more data to hardware failure than human error.
  • Just 3 percent of organizations that had tested their disaster recovery plans in the last year admitted having concerns about their solution, compared to 16 percent of those that hadn't tested.

Oscar Arean, technical operations manager at Databarracks, who wrote the report, commented on the results:

"It's not surprising to find that small businesses are less likely to have a BCP than larger businesses – we found the same result last year. What is worrying is the lack of improvement we've seen for small businesses in the last 12 months.

"Disaster recovery used to be prohibitively expensive for smaller businesses but that's not the case anymore. Cloud computing has made the technology for IT disaster recovery available to all businesses so the only barrier is the investment in time.

"A lot of the organizations we speak to cite a lack of time as their main reason for not testing. In truth, it's rarely the case that time is such an inflexible commodity. Using it as an excuse for not testing may represent more of a cultural aversion rather than a genuine lack of resources.

"Sometimes it takes a prolonged period of downtime or a substantial data loss for a business to realise the importance of a robust DR solution, but it shouldn't come at that cost. We need to see a culture shift and perhaps some of that responsibility falls to the service providers as well as the customers. DR providers need to educate organizations on the importance of disaster recovery planning and testing, and demonstrate how vulnerable they are if this isn't done. Disaster recovery isn't a luxury insurance policy anymore, it's absolutely essential for businesses no matter what size."

Download the full Data Health Check report here (registration required).

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