Businesses still stumble over off-site back-up

Germans lead in confidence on disaster recovery

British businesses are lagging behind many of their global competitors when it comes to disaster recovery in the clouds, according to research from Acronis. And even the companies who are diligent about backing up are failing to treat virtual servers in the same way as they treat physical ones.

The disaster recovery company found that more than a third of British businesses have no off-site back-up plan in place and found that more than a third also manage four or more different backup technologies.

David Blackman, Acronis's general manager for northern Europe, said that the UK was not alone in its lack of preparedness for business disruption. He pointed out that the US and Australia were equally culpable when it came to spending on off-site back-up but he added that wasn't due to lack of business disruption. "According to a previous survey, only five per cent of UK companies had not experienced any data loss, implying that 95 per cent had. That doesn't compare well with a global figure where two-thirds of organisations said that they had lost data."

The ever-increasing rise in storage was adding to the problem said Blackman. "According to IDC, there will be 1.8 zettabytes of data generated globally this year, juggling these storage demands will become a problem," he added.

The clear leaders when it came to confidence in their back-up systems were German and Dutch companies said Blackman. "One of the main factors there is that they get buy-in from the top, that's really important. But the Germans also seem to spend more on their back-up too." Fast catching up are countries like China and India that have no complex legacy systems to maintain, a factor that bedevils mature countries

Blackman said that the onset of cloud would present the next challenge to organisations. "One of the factors that has prevented offsite back-up has been the cost of using a hosted solution - it's been expensive. Cloud will change that, it offers a cheaper option."

However, he admitted that this wouldn't be the simple option as companies were not rushing to adopt cloud. Blackman pointed out that even countries that have been forward thinking when it came to disaster recovery were not necessarily going to be early adopters of cloud. "Norway and Sweden, for example, are less likely to adopt cloud - they're more conservative in their approach. This will change and I do expect a dramatic increase in 12 months from organisations."

In advance of the switch to cloud, companies are already switching to virtualisation, he said, but that threw up other problems. "Companies are backing up virtual servers as readily as they back up physical ones," he said. "More than two-thirds of UK organisations are not backing up their virtual servers. And globally, 56 per cent of companies are using different solutions for physical and virtual environments."

Australia ranks behind UK

Some 259 organisations of between 1 and 500 seats participated in the survey from Australia. The key findings are:

• Approximately a third of businesses in Australia (36 per cent) do not have an offsite backup and DR strategy in place.

• Ability to avoid downtime in the event of a serious incident (44 per cent); its confidence in recovering quickly (36 per cent) also fell far short of the Index leaders, Germany (77 per cent) and the Netherlands (85 per cent).

• When it comes to successfully recovering from a serious incident the Australians were the least confident among all. Only 22 per cent of the Australian businesses didn’t think that their back up and DR operations would fail in the wake of a serious incident or event, compared to a global average of 50 per cent.

• IT managers in Australia claimed that backup and DR was not being made enough of a priority (51 per cent), citing lack of budget and resources as the primary reasons behind this (58 per cent), even though the Australian businesses spend a reasonable amount of IT budget on backup and DR (11 per cent), not far off from the Index leaders, Germany (13 per cent) and the Netherlands (14 per cent).

• Less than half (44 per cent) of the Australian businesses believed that they got enough support from the executives, just 41 per cent claimed that they had ample resources and only 33 per cent believed that they had sufficient technologies to enable comprehensive backup and DR operations.

• Australia also fell below global average when it comes to ample controls and procedures that enable comprehensive backup and DR operations (48 per cent), as well as backup and DR procedures and policies are well documented (46 per cent).

• 49 per cent of the Australians felt that their IT staff were qualified to execute backup and DR operations in the wake of a serious incident or event, compared to 75 per cent in Hong Kong who were the most happy about their staff quality.

The research report is available from Acronis at:

-- with Rodney Gedda

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