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Kroll Ontrack Survey: IT Managers Underestimate Impact of Data Loss

Independent survey commissioned by Kroll Ontrack finds most IT managers fail to consider the ‘hidden costs’ of data loss to a business.
  • 16 June, 2009 14:04

<p>Sydney – June 16, 2009 – IT managers may be putting company data at risk by underestimating the effect of its loss. This is one of the key findings of a new survey launched in Sydney today by Kroll Ontrack®, provider of the leading Ontrack® Data Recovery solutions. Specifically, the survey found that just seven per cent of respondents believe data loss has a ‘high’ impact on a business.</p>
<p>“The results suggest that IT managers are not making the connection between data loss and lost revenue to a company,” said Adrian Briscoe, General Manager, Ontrack Data Recovery APAC, a division of Kroll Ontrack. “They may not be taking into account hidden costs such as lost staff productivity, overtime, diverted resources and delays in responding to other issues. IT managers who do not fully appreciate the impact of data loss could also be taking unnecessary risks, such as backing up data using USB external hard drives, which can be a single point of failure.”</p>
<p>Data loss may also affect a company’s ability to comply with regulatory requirements regarding the security, retention and protection of important information. Failure to meet these requirements can result in heavy fines.</p>
<p>The problem of data loss – defined by the survey as unforeseen loss of data or information due to viruses, natural disasters, accidental deletion, system crashes, corruption or hardware failure – is one that many companies face. In fact, nearly half of all IT managers surveyed reported having lost data in their workplace in the last two years.</p>
<p>“The best way to manage data loss is to prepare for it before the loss occurs,” said Briscoe. “Organisations need to start applying business continuity and data protection safeguarding measures throughout the entire data lifecycle.”</p>
<p>Despite the prevalence of data loss, only 41% of respondents said they tested restored data from a backup system at least monthly. “Backups don’t always work,” cautioned Briscoe. “Just because the lights come on doesn’t necessarily mean anything is happening. It’s essential to test, maintain and update these systems.”</p>
<p>The survey also revealed 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 assistance from 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 included 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,” said Briscoe. “That fact that 39% of IT managers still rated their company as doing ‘well’ or ‘very well’ even if it took more than three days to recover data, suggests there is a low expectation of what can be achieved.”</p>
<p>This 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>For a full report of the survey results, visit: http://www.ontrackdatarecovery.com.au/data-risk-management-trends</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 and 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>

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