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Symantec Study Shows Discrepancy Between Disaster Preparedness Perception and Reality in Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced the findings of its 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, reflecting the attitudes and practices of small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) and their customers toward technology disaster preparedness.
  • 29 September, 2009 11:42

<p>Despite confidence in client loyalty, SMBs without effective disaster preparedness plans lose customers</p>
<p>SYDNEY, Australia – September 29, 2009 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced the findings of its 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, reflecting the attitudes and practices of small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) and their customers toward technology disaster preparedness. The report shows a large discrepancy between how SMBs perceive their disaster readiness and their actual level of preparedness. The data also suggests SMBs’ downtime costs their customers tens of thousands of dollars each year. As a result, the findings show that SMBs can – and often do – lose business as a direct result of being unprepared for disasters.</p>
<p>“The startling part of this research is the fact that SMBs don’t realise the impact their outages have on customers, particularly when they have tools at their fingertips to help them be prepared to deal with disasters,” said Pat Hanavan, vice president, Backup Exec product management, Symantec. “While no one wants a disaster to occur, the reality is that they happen. Rather than continuing to be unprepared, small and mid-sized organisations can take simple steps to protect their data. And, as companies communicate their plans to their customers, they strengthen those relationships and become trusted partners.”</p>
<p>Confidence High Regarding Preparedness</p>
<p>The findings show that SMBs are confident in their disaster preparedness plans. Ninety-three percent (82 percent globally) of respondents in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) say they are somewhat/very satisfied with their disaster plans, and a similar number (88 percent in ANZ and 84 percent globally) say they feel somewhat/very protected in case a disaster strikes.
SMBs also believe their customers will be understanding and patient if there is a disruption to their computer or technology resources. In case of such an outage, only one-quarter (25 percent in ANZ and 34 percent globally) of SMB respondents believe their customers will evaluate other options, including looking at competitors.</p>
<p>Reality Shows Confidence Unwarranted</p>
<p>However, the practices of SMBs reveal that this confidence is unwarranted. The average SMB has experienced three outages within the past 12 months, with the leading causes in Australia and New Zealand being a disaster, a power outage, virus or hacker attacks and an employee accidentally deleting data, while globally the causes are virus or hacker attacks, power outages or natural disasters. This is alarming as 30 percent of respondents in ANZ and 47 percent globally report they do not yet have a plan to deal with such disruptions.</p>
<p>The survey found that 33 percent of (23 percent globally) SMBs in Australia and New Zealand back up daily and an average SMB backs up 60 percent of their company and customer data. Fifty percent (55 percent globally) of the ANZ respondents estimate they would lose 40 percent of their data if their computing systems were wiped out in a fire.</p>
<p>Customers Significantly Impacted By Downtime</p>
<p>SMB customers surveyed estimated the cost of these outages as being $30,000 for Australian respondents and $15,000 for New Zealand respondents per day on average. These outages were impactful as well, with 40 percent (42 percent globally) lasting eight hours or more.</p>
<p>According to the findings, two in five SMB customers (42 percent globally and in ANZ) have actually switched vendors because they “felt their vendor’s computers or technology systems were unreliable.” This is a stark contrast to the 75 percent of ANZ respondents (two-thirds of SMBs globally) who believe their customers would either “wait patiently until our systems were back in place” or call “to get what they could, but would wait patiently for the rest until our systems were back in place.” Another side effect of downtime is damage to the company’s reputation. Fifty-three percent (63 percent globally) of the ANZ customers reported that downtime damaged their perception of the SMB vendor.</p>
<p>Recommendations</p>
<p>Although 30 percent (47 percent globally) of SMBs do not have a formal disaster preparedness plan, of those without plans, 86 percent (89 percent globally) say they will create one within the next six months. This is crucial as most SMBs (76 percent in ANZ and globally) report they live in a region that is vulnerable to natural disasters (such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes).</p>
<p>As these organisations create their plans, Symantec has the following recommendations:</p>
<p>• Determine your needs: SMBs should take time to decide what critical information should be secured and protected.
Customer, financial and business information, trade secrets and critical documents should be prioritised. In addition, SMBs should monitor industry reports that help to identify and prevent threats that SMBs face.</p>
<p>• Engage trusted advisors: With limited time, budget and employees, SMBs can look to a solution provider to help create plans, implement automated protection solutions and monitor for trends and threats that SMBs should protect against. They can also educate employees on retrieving information from backups when needed and suggest offsite storage facilities to protect critical data.</p>
<p>• Automate where you can: Automating the backup process ensures that it is not overlooked. SMBs can reduce the costs of downtime by implementing automated tools that minimise human involvement and address other weaknesses in disaster recovery plans.</p>
<p>• Test annually: Recovering data is the worst time to learn that critical files were not backed up as planned. Disaster recovery testing is invaluable and SMBs should seek to improve the success of testing by evaluating and implementing testing methods which are non-disruptive.</p>
<p>Symantec’s SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey</p>
<p>Symantec’s SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey is the result of research conducted in August and September 2009 by Applied Research, which surveyed those responsible for computers and technology resources at small and mid-sized businesses. The report was designed to gauge the impact and stages of disaster recovery preparedness, perceptions and practices of small and mid-sized businesses. The study included more than 1,650 respondents from 28 countries in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Asia Pacific and Latin America.</p>
<p>Relevant Links</p>
<p>To read additional key findings or obtain more information from Symantec about SMB disaster preparedness, visit the following resources:</p>
<p>• 10 Essentials for the Small Business Disaster Recovery Tool Kit</p>
<p>• Symantec’s Small Business Solutions</p>
<p>• Comprehensive Protection Designed for the Small Business</p>
<p>• 2009 Storage and Security in SMBs Survey</p>
<p>• 2009 Disaster Recovery Research Report</p>
<p>About Symantec</p>
<p>Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organisations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.</p>
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<p>NOTE TO EDITORS: If you would like additional information on Symantec Corporation and its products, please visit the Symantec News Room at http://www.symantec.com/news.
Symantec and the Symantec Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.</p>
<p>Technorati Tags</p>
<p>Symantec, disaster recovery, disaster preparedness, Veritas, NetBackup, Backup Exec, Backup Exec System Recovery, server management, storage management, storage, high availability, SMB, small and medium-sized business.</p>
<p>Press Contact:</p>
<p>Jasmin Athwal</p>
<p>Max Australia</p>
<p>+61 2 9954 3492</p>
<p>jasmin.athwal@maxaustralia.com.au</p>
<p>Debbie Sassine</p>
<p>Symantec</p>
<p>+61 2 8220 7158</p>
<p>debbie_sassine@symantec.com</p>

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