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1/19/2011
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U.S. SMBs Lag In Disaster Recovery Readiness

Study finds that legacy equipment and lack of executive buy-in lead American firms to trail global counterparts in their ability to bounce back from an IT disaster.

Top 10 SMB Predictions for 2011
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Slideshow: Top 10 SMB Predictions For 2011

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the United States ranked 10th out of 13 countries in their ability to bounce back from an IT disaster, trailed only by peers in Australia, France, and Italy, according to a new study.

One in three U.S. firms reported having no disaster recovery plan in place, a key factor in the country's low ranking in the study. Budget and resource concerns topped the list of reasons why. Older infrastructure could also be a key factor behind the ranking.

"It appears, based on our experience with our customers, that many U.S.-based companies have more legacy infrastructure than some of their European or Asian counterparts," said Jason Donahue, CEO of Acronis. "Consequently, the IT environments that they are managing can be more complex."

Donahue said that complexity was likely one of the reasons for the low ranking of U.S. SMBs. He also noted that cultural and language factors probably played a role in how respondents answered questions in the survey. Regions where English is the primary language -- the U.S., U.K., and Australia -- fared relatively poorly.

"The perception of fear around security threats is highest in English language," Donahue said. He attributed that to the proliferation of hacking and viruses aimed at English-language sites, and said it also may have played a role in survey responses.

IT managers at smaller businesses in Germany and the Netherlands checked in with the highest overall level of confidence in their backup and recovery strategies. SMBs in those countries reported clearly documented policies and procedures for disaster planning and recovery, with Switzerland joining them in the top three in that category. Smaller German firms appear particularly well-prepared, with nearly 70% believing they would not suffer substantial downtime in the event of an IT incident.

Not surprisingly, the most confident SMBs are also the ones that have high levels of boardroom support for backup and recovery plans. German and Dutch SMBs reported the highest rates of executive buy-in for disaster preparedness planning: Nearly 75% of German respondents believed they had support at the top levels of their company, while 69% of Dutch managers reported the same, putting them first and second in that category. Less than half of U.S. firms believed they had executive-level support for disaster planning.

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