Majority of small businesses unprepared for data disaster

Although small businesses recognize the impact data loss could have on their business, more than half (57 percent) do not have a disaster preparedness plan for business data.

The Carbonite study, which surveyed 130 small business owners in August 2011, revealed that 81 percent of small businesses consider data to be their organization’s most valuable asset. Small businesses ranked the permanent loss of data as the No. 1 challenge to maintaining their business in the event of a natural disaster – even more devastating than the loss of the physical location or of products and materials.

While small business owners understand the direct link between protecting their data and keeping their business running, the study revealed several reasons why the majority of small businesses have nonetheless neglected to develop a disaster preparedness plan. Most notably:

  • “Out of sight, out of mind” – The top reason businesses have not created a disaster preparedness plan is they simply “haven’t thought about it” (59 percent);
  • “It won’t happen to me” – Only 13 percent think a data disaster could happen and 54 percent believed any occurring data disaster was unlikely to impact their business;
  • “My business can withstand disaster” – Only 69 percent believe they will lose money if their business could not function for even just one day;
  • “It costs too much to have a preparedness plan” – 20 percent said cost factors into their lack of planning, noting they either do not have money or that costs of planning for a data disaster are unpredictable.

“The fact that FEMA has stated that 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never re-open after a data disaster suggests that small business owners need to pay attention to the risk and to prepare accordingly,” said Peter Lamson, senior vice president and general manager of small business for Carbonite. “Small businesses that plan ahead and take key steps like protecting their valuable business data will be in a much better position to get their business back up and running if a disaster strikes.”

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