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    February-2013  


Many SMBs Wait Till After a Computer Disaster to Prepare for One

Small and medium businesses typically don’t take action to prepare for computer-related disasters until after they have experienced information loss.

For the second consecutive year, Symantec’s SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey revealed a lack of preparation by these companies has a significant impact on their customers and business. Symantec is a software and services company that helps companies protect vital information from loss or security breaches.

When asked how ready they were to deal with a disruption to their computer or technology resources, only 50% said they had a plan in place, 3% higher than the first year’s poll. Meanwhile, 14% said they don’t have a plan or any intention of creating one.

The survey was administered by Applied Research, which contacted 1,288 small and medium businesses with five to 1,000 employees across a range of industries.

Despite only half of the respondents’ having a plan in place, 81% of the total polled said they were either somewhat or very satisfied with how they planned to deal with outages or disruptions.

When those who don’t have a plan were asked why not, 52% said they don’t think computer systems are critical to their business. Forty percent said disaster preparedness was not a priority for them.

“It is alarming that more SMBs do not have plans to help them deal with disasters and keep their computer systems up and running,” Symantec officials said in comments about the survey findings – “especially when one considers that 65% of SMBs reside in regions that they consider susceptible to natural disasters.”

Other findings show that small and medium businesses are in no rush to implement their disaster plans. Of those firms with a plan in place, 52% put theirs together in the past six months. But only 28% had actually tested the plan, which is critical to disaster preparedness.

Being unprepared can cost a small or medium business. Downtime costs SMBs a median of $12,500 a day. Forty-four percent of customers noted that their SMB vendor had temporarily shut down because of disaster. Also, 54% of customers said they had switched SMB vendors because of unreliable computer systems.

Symantec recommends that SMBs use security and backup solutions to protect information, and that owners make time to implement a plan before disaster strikes. In addition, owners should get their employees involved, according to the company.

“SMB employees...should be educated on computer-security best practices and what to do if information is accidentally deleted or cannot easily be found in their files,” Symantec representatives said.

Business owners should also test their plan frequently, and when that’s not possible, review their plan on a quarterly basis.

For more information, visit www.symantec.com.


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