By Ben Simmons

Despite 2011 being one of the most tumultuous years on record, businesses around the world have grown in confidence about their ability to back up and then recover data and IT systems following a disaster.

According to the 2012 Acronis Global Disaster Recovery (DR) Index, UK businesses are much more confident in their backup and DR capabilities than they were compared to the previous year’s result in the Index. Key to this rise is the perceived improvements in having the right resources, technologies and procedures in place. Confidence in these three criteria alone has risen by at least a third or more in the past 12 months.

Underlying this increase in confidence is the fact that 65% of businesses in the UK are checking their backup and disaster recovery plans more regularly. This could be as a consequence of observing some of the world’s catastrophic natural disasters in the last 12 months, including destructive flooding in Australia, Brazil and Thailand, deadly earthquakes in New Zealand and Turkey, storms costing billions in damages across the United States and the devastating tsunami in Japan from which some businesses are still yet to fully recover.

Despite an overall improvement in confidence, the UK only achieves 11th in the rankings, it’s clear there is still a lot of work still to do. Some of the more concerning UK findings from the survey include:

• Flat budgets: UK businesses are spending a similar amount on backup and DR year on year (11% of IT spend).
• Two in five (40%) UK businesses still feel that their business executives are not supportive of their backup and disaster recovery operations.
• Data growth continues unabated: a typical UK SMB creates almost 38TB of fresh data each year.
• To err is human: 64% of those surveyed in the UK blame human error as the most common cause of system downtime.
• The cost of failure: average system downtime lasts 2.4 days costing each UK business £227,538 each year in lost productivity.

Managing hybrid physical, virtual and cloud environments presents the biggest challenge
A large majority (64%) of the UK IT managers surveyed agree that, for the second year running, their greatest challenge in a hybrid environment is moving data between physical, virtual and cloud environments. Yet the survey found that most UK businesses are still failing to consolidate their backup and disaster recovery tools to address this challenge. Most rely on multiple tools, with almost half (46%) using three or more different solutions to protect their data. Nearly half (49%) use separate solutions for their physical and virtual environments.

“The survey findings suggest that the natural disasters of 2011 have been a catalyst for positive change when it comes to most UK businesses testing their backup and DR operations,” said David Blackman, General Manager Northern Europe and MEA, Acronis.

“However, for all the positives in the survey, too many strategic-level negatives, such as failure to get executive buy-in and the use of multiple, disjointed solutions, linger for UK businesses when it comes to keeping the business-critical digital assets of a business secure, protected and immediately available, particularly in a hybrid world. With the UK sitting in a miserable 11th position it’s evident that UK businesses still have a long way to go when it comes to improving their backup and disaster recovery.”


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