Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

9/30/2009
10:29 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
50%
50%

Disaster Recovery: SMBs Think They're Ready. Symantec Says They're Not.

A new Symantec study of small and midsized business disaster recovery preparedness reveals a dramatic disconnect between DR beliefs and DR realities. Namely, most businesses are convinced they're prepared to recover from a disaster. Wrong.

A new Symantec study of small and midsized business disaster recovery preparedness reveals a dramatic disconnect between DR beliefs and DR realities. Namely, most businesses are convinced they're prepared to recover from a disaster. Wrong.Symantec's just-released study of more than 1,600 small and midsized businesses -- 499 employees or fewer; with 35% of respondents in the 10-99 employees range) found that when it comes to disaster recovery (DR) planning, confidence levels are high.

Too high.

And too complacent.

82% reported being satisfied with their DR plan. 84% were confident that their computer technology is protected.

The confidence extends beyond the firewall:

67% of the businesses felt their customers would "wait patiently" until systems were replaced and up and running again.

Really? Really?

That one is, for me, the most startling finding in the survey. Turn the question around and ask yourself:

Would your business "wait patiently" if a key vendor was knocked offline for an unspecified (implied, I believe by the "patience") amount of time?

Didn't think so.

Yet only a third (34$) of Symantec's DR survey respondents admitted that in the event of a disaster their customers would start looking elsewhere.

While Symantec asked its respondents whether their business is located in likely natural disaster zone (regions prone to tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes) -- and 76% were -- the security company also included power outages and hacker intrusions among the disaster menu.

Put those together with natural disasters and, according to Symantec, "The average SMB experienced three outages within the past 12 months."

Yet, pressed for specific disaster prep for outages, 47% of the respondents admitted to being unprepared. In other words:

The average SMB does not have a plan for dealing with disastrous disruption. And even those who are prepared are only sort of prepared, even at the most basic levels:

The average SMB backs up only 60% of company and customer data.

Only 23% of SMBs back up daily.

Here's another hold-onto-your-hat finding:

40% of SMBs back up no more frequently than once a month -- some far less frequently than that.

Incomplete and irregular backups, insufficient planning, overconfidence in customer patience, denial about the likelihood of having to recover from a disaster -- sound familiar?

Odds are some of it (at least!) may sound like your company or one of your vendors.

When bMighty looked deeply at SMB DR and Business Continuity planning a while back, we found many of the same problems.

That the problems -- and the enormous risks that accompany them -- persist, as Symantec's findings show they do, should give all of us pause. Whatever the likelihood of a natural disaster, the threat environment grows more severe daily, and with it the risk that your business will experience a disruption.

Symantec's recommendations include: Careful Determination Of Your Business's DR Needs: What data do you and your customers have to have in order to get the business running again? Are there compliance requirements for specific data areas that must be met?

Educate Employees On DR and Engage Trusted Advisors: Make sure the people -- internal and external -- responsible for implementing your DR plan know what they're doing -- and what they'll need to do it.

I'd add to that one the recommendation that you review your key vendors -- and especially your security, back and DR vendors (if any) for their DR plans and competencies.

Automate Where Possible: Automating the backup process both helps insure that it gets done and reduces costs.

I'd add that you need to take the time to review the automated backups regularly. Overconfidence in automated processes can be as devastating as overconfidence in anything else. And can bite your bsuiness just as hard.

Test Annually: Symantec recommends rigorous yearly tests insure that critical data is not only backed up but is also fully recoverable.

Here's where I take a bit of issue with Symantec's recommends. Annual testing doesn't strike me as sufficient, particularly in an environment where, as Symantec itself points out, the average business experiences three outages a year.

One the one hand, that finding is a pretty good indicator that the average business is forced to test its DR abilities every four months or so.

On the other hand, as Symantec notes, actual disaster recovery is no time to find out whether or not your plans work. This is a good and thorough report, well worth reading, and well worth passing along to everyone involved in your DR process.

The complete Symantec SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey can be read here.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-20733
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Improper authorization in handler for custom URL scheme vulnerability in ????????? (asken diet) for Android versions from v.3.0.0 to v.4.2.x allows a remote attacker to lead a user to access an arbitrary website via the vulnerable App.
CVE-2021-20734
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Cross-site scripting vulnerability in Welcart e-Commerce versions prior to 2.2.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary script or HTML via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2021-20735
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Cross-site scripting vulnerability in ETUNA EC-CUBE plugins (Delivery slip number plugin (3.0 series) 1.0.10 and earlier, Delivery slip number csv bulk registration plugin (3.0 series) 1.0.8 and earlier, and Delivery slip number mail plugin (3.0 series) 1.0.8 and earlier) allows remote attackers to ...
CVE-2021-20736
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
NoSQL injection vulnerability in GROWI versions prior to v4.2.20 allows a remote attacker to obtain and/or alter the information stored in the database via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2021-20737
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Improper authentication vulnerability in GROWI versions prior to v4.2.20 allows a remote attacker to view the unauthorized pages without access privileges via unspecified vectors.