Backup Survey Reveals Shocking Practices

MJ Flood Technology, a leading provider of communications solutions today announced the results of a survey into current backup methodologies used by Irish organisations. The survey reveals some shocking practices with 43% of companies having no documented disaster recovery plan in place. 90% are not performing weekly test restores as suggested by best practice and 31% admit that the storage location for backup media is not fireproof.

30% of those questioned are not replacing backup tapes after the prescribed 12 month period. Inability to access or restore backup data in the event of disaster exposes companies to severe operational consequences in the form of lost revenue and even potential loss of the entire business.

“Backing up critical business information is not an option – it’s a necessity,” according to James Finglas, sales director, MJ Flood Technology. “The results of our survey reveal a serious educational deficit in backup methodologies used by Irish companies. While the consequences of data loss are clearly understood, many organisations are using flawed backup processes and are exposing themselves to acute operational risk. In this era of increased governance, we are encouraging companies to review their backup methodologies as a matter of urgency and fulfill their corporate responsibilities,” he adds.

The survey examines three key elements; current backup practices, patterns of data retrieval as well as attitudes to backup as part of the overall IT mix.

  • Current Practices
    While all companies questioned have a form of backup system in place, the methodologies used by some are shocking. 90% are not performing weekly test restores as suggested by best practice while 31% admit the storage location for backup media is not fireproof. 17% of companies are storing backup media onsite only leaving an exposure in the case of disaster. 30% are not replacing backup tapes after the prescribed 12 month period and 21% said that only one person is responsible for storage of backup media. Ironically, 61% of companies appear to be relatively happy with the performance of their current backup solution, rating it on a scale of 8 out of 10, where 10 is excellent.
  • Attitudes to Backup
    Organisations clearly understand the importance of backup with 42% citing loss of employee productivity and 18% loss of the entire business as consequences of data loss. However, 43% admit to having no documented disaster plan in place. In terms of projected spend on backup hardware/software, 43% of companies are not planning to allocate any IT budget in the next 12 months and backup-related spend currently accounts for less than 10% of the overall IT budget. We also asked about perceptions of new backup technologies. Just over half or 51% said that they had never heard of online backup services, for example. Of those who had considered it, 34% cited cost and 18% cited security as the main reasons why they had not chosen it as a backup platform.

Patterns of Data Retrieval and Recovery

30% of respondents are asked to recover data at least once a month with 15% on a quarterly basis. When requested, 48% said that data would need to be restored within a two hour timeframe while 21% said that restoration within a day is the expected norm. 7% cited a very generous timeframe of several days. One has to question the nature of data and operating environment, when data loss can be tolerated for this lengthy period. In examining ease of retrieval, 27% of companies admitted to having had problems restoring data and 27% have also had occasion to perform a full system restore.

According to Finglas, over 30% of support calls logged at the MJ Flood Technology Helpdesk in 2006 were backup related. Problems ranged from hardware issues such as faulty tapes or faulty drives, server changes made without resetting the backup and software re-installs. “Backing up your data according to best practice ensures continuity of business operations. Having a carefully crafted disaster recovery plan in place protects the image and reputation of the business and can even contribute to reductions in operational costs in the case of lower insurance premiums,” he adds.

The survey was conducted electronically during the month of December 2006 and was completed by 155 named IT contacts from a total of 2000 organisations of varying sizes. The respondees represent a broad section of Irish industry across public and private sectors.