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Kroll Ontrack: Small Businesses Putting Critical Data At Risk

Independent survey commissioned by Kroll Ontrack finds small businesses lack effective systems for preventing and recovering from data loss
  • 16 June, 2009 21:22

<p>Sydney – June 16, 2009 – An alarming 49% of small companies fail to backup their data on a daily basis, according to a new survey launched in Sydney today by Kroll Ontrack®, provider of the leading Ontrack® Data Recovery solutions. This is despite the fact that nearly half of the survey’s respondents experienced data loss* in their workplace in the past two years and 36% felt that data loss could have a significant impact on their business.</p>
<p>Small businesses were also less likely than their larger counterparts to have implemented a policy for the preservation of data. While 61% of overall respondents reported that their company had a formalised data retention policy, this figure fell to just 45% for companies with 50 or fewer employees.</p>
<p>“The survey exposed a frightening approach to the storage, retention, backup and disposal of organisations’ valuable data,” said Adrian Briscoe, General Manager, Ontrack Data Recovery APAC, a division of Kroll Ontrack. “Data loss and associated challenges can have a devastating effect on business productivity, yet the survey shows that small companies are often ill-equipped to deal with data loss and appear to neglect the importance of implementing simple procedures for protecting their intellectual property.”</p>
<p>The survey also found that many small companies were not testing their backup systems on a regular basis, with 35% admitting to checking them only ‘sporadically.’ “The best way to manage data loss is to prepare for it before the loss occurs,” said Briscoe. “Making a backup and failing to check the validity of it is one of the most common mistakes companies make.”</p>
<p>However, Briscoe highlighted that the issue of poor data management was not exclusive to small businesses, with companies of all sizes tending to take a ‘set and forget’ approach. “Many companies do a great job with rollout of their data management system, but then no one revisits it on a regular basis to make sure it is still functioning effectively,” he added.</p>
<p>The survey went on to reveal that companies’ backup procedures were not keeping pace with changes in IT management. Only 52% of companies had reviewed their disaster recovery plans in the last 12 months.</p>
<p>“New technologies, such as virtualisation and client solutions like Citrix, have changed the way data is recovered,” said Briscoe. “If a company’s backup system fails to address these changes, when the inevitable happens and data is lost, it may be more difficult and expensive to recover.”</p>
<p>In addition to system failure, data can be put at risk when end-of-lifecycle or unwanted computer hardware is not completely and securely erased. This raises the potential for business-critical information to fall into the wrong hands. However, the survey found that nearly a quarter (24%) of companies had no formal policy for erasing sensitive data, which means that they are not destroying their sensitive information systematically.</p>
<p>The results also exposed poor documentation of erasure procedures, with less than half (46%) reporting that they keep a log of equipment that had been erased. Failure to log equipment erasure can lead to significant legal penalties.</p>
<p>Even so, survey respondents demonstrated a reluctance to seek the assistance of a third-party data service provider. Only 34% of respondents said their company had used an external consultant for data recovery. When asked why, the most common response (36%) was that ‘internal technology and processes were utilised.’ Other reasons cited were security reservations (18%) and cost (17%).</p>
<p>“These results indicate that there may be a lack of understanding of the benefits of using a data service specialist and of the real impact of using internal solutions, including lost staff productivity, overtime, diverted resources and delays in responding to other issues,” said Briscoe. “The cost of engaging a data service provider is not as prohibitive as the perception. In reality, the cost is minimal compared to the broader costs experienced when data is lost.”</p>
<p>The survey, conducted in February 2009 by StollzNow Research, asked IT managers from 945 companies throughout Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong about their views and experiences related to data management.</p>
<p>* Data loss was defined in the survey as the unforeseen loss of data or information due to viruses, natural disasters, accidental deletion, system crashes, corruption or hardware failure.</p>
<p>For a full report of the survey results, visit: http://www.ontrackdatarecovery.com.au/data-risk-management-trends <http:></http:></p>
<p>For more information about Ontrack Data Recovery and other solutions, visit www.ontrackdatarecovery.com.au.</p>
<p>Through its Ontrack Data Recovery products and services, Kroll Ontrack is the largest, most experienced and technologically advanced provider of data recovery products and services worldwide. Using hundreds of proprietary tools and techniques, Ontrack Data Recovery solutions help businesses and consumers recover lost or corrupted data from all types of operating systems and media and storage devices through do-it-yourself, remote and in-lab capabilities.</p>
<p>About Kroll Ontrack Inc.</p>
<p>Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and software to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers recover, search, analyse, produce and present data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, advanced search, paper and electronic discovery, computer forensics, ESI consulting, and trial consulting and presentation services. Kroll Ontrack is a technology services division of global risk consulting company Kroll Inc. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit: www.krollontrack.com; www.ontrackdatarecovery.com; www.engeniumsearch.com; and www.trialgraphix.com.</p>
<p>ENDS</p>

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