METRICS: Full Recovery

Businesses depend on data, and they take appropriate measures to see that their data is saved, but a recent survey shows that many companies don’t know if their stored data can be recovered in the case of a disaster.

According to a recent survey by LiveVault, a US-based provider of online backup and recovery services, most (59 per cent) small and medium-size companies back up their data daily, yet only 32 per cent of companies test their data restore processes at least once a month. There’s an inconsistency here, according to LiveVault CEO Bob Cramer. “Most companies haven’t figured out that backing up their corporate data is just half the story,” he says. “Backup is the wrong focal point. Is the data in my business recoverable? That’s the question that needs to be answered.”

According to the survey, one-third (33 per cent) of companies update their data continuously, another 18 per cent update data hourly, and 36 per cent update data daily — and most of that data is saved to tape and stored in a vault on or off-site. The survey found that companies recognise the value of their data in terms of lost customers, productivity and revenue.

Most respondents to the survey said data loss would most likely disrupt their employees, either through lost productivity or IT staff hours. Nearly half (46 per cent) said data loss would result in the loss of existing customers and revenue, and 42 per cent said data loss would hinder a company’s ability to generate new revenue opportunities.

The survey found that while 87 per cent of respondents have a backup and recovery system in place, the failure to perform tests puts them at risk, says Cramer. Backup and recovery requires a commitment that some companies aren’t dedicating enough resources to, says Cramer. “IT is so stressed right now in terms of what they can do and what they have to do, he says. “Backup and recovery is a time-consuming and tedious process.”

Cramer says that banking and financial services companies have the best record for performing backup and recovery, and have invested in current technologies such as replication software and mirroring. Many other industries, he said, still store data on tape. “Most businesses do what they’ve been doing for 20 years,” Cramer says, “They do it that way because it’s the only reasonable way to do it in terms of cost.”

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