Small businesses aren't well enough prepared for when disaster strikes

When it comes to planning ahead and preparing themselves for a potential disaster, small businesses just aren't doing enough, according to a freshly aired piece of research.

The report in question is Databarracks' Data Health Check, and it's the fifth yearly one the company has released. It surveyed more than 400 IT pros in the UK, and found that while larger organisations tend to have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place which lays out what action to take when disaster strikes, the vast majority of small businesses don't.

Only 30 per cent of small companies had a BCP, compared to 73 per cent of large organisations. Medium-sized businesses sat in between on 54 per cent.

The fact is that many small firms didn't even seem to care about this gap in their armoury, as when asked if they intended to implement a BCP in the next year, 40 per cent said they had "no intention to do so".

Aside from this headline result, the survey also found that the top cause of data loss was hardware failure at 21 per cent, followed by software failure at 19 per cent, with human error close behind on 18 per cent.

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Large businesses were again more savvy when it came to testing their disaster recovery plans, being over twice as likely to have done so than small firms. As to why this testing wasn't carried out, 35 per cent of those who hadn't bothered cited "lack of time" as the reason. 18 per cent said it was a cost issue, and an equal 18 per cent admitted they didn't have the staff with the right skills to carry out the testing procedure.

Databarracks does note that the overall disaster recovery picture is likely to pick up over the next year, with Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) expected to have one of the highest adoption rates of cloud services from small to large businesses.

Peter Groucutt, managing director of Databarracks, commented: "Real IT sdisaster recovery has, until now, been a prohibitively expensive service and could only be afforded by the largest organisations. The reductions in cost that cloud computing has brought about mean that's no longer the case – it should be a top priority for any organisation."

Read more: Straight Talk: Introduction to the cloud for data backup and disaster recovery