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
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
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-2021-24288
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-17
When subscribing using AcyMailing, the 'redirect' parameter isn't properly sanitized. Turning the request from POST to GET, an attacker can craft a link containing a potentially malicious landing page and send it to the victim.
CVE-2021-24289
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-17
There is functionality in the Store Locator Plus for WordPress plugin through 5.5.14 that made it possible for authenticated users to update their user meta data to become an administrator on any site using the plugin.
CVE-2021-24290
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-17
There are several endpoints in the Store Locator Plus for WordPress plugin through 5.5.15 that could allow unauthenticated attackers the ability to inject malicious JavaScript into pages.
CVE-2021-24292
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-17
The Happy Addons for Elementor WordPress plugin before 2.24.0, Happy Addons Pro for Elementor WordPress plugin before 1.17.0 have a number of widgets that are vulnerable to stored Cross-Site Scripting(XSS) by lower-privileged users such as contributors, all via a similar method: The â€&oe...
CVE-2021-24295
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-17
It was possible to exploit an Unauthenticated Time-Based Blind SQL Injection vulnerability in the Spam protection, AntiSpam, FireWall by CleanTalk WordPress Plugin before 5.153.4. The update_log function in lib/Cleantalk/ApbctWP/Firewall/SFW.php included a vulnerable query that could be injected via...