Small and medium-sized businesses are over-confident about their readiness to survive a flood, fire or other disaster that disabled their IT systems, a survey of 1600 organisations claims.
More than 80% of firms say they are satisfied with their disaster recovery preparations. But the research by Symantec shows that half of the firms quizzed have experienced two outages in the last six months with virus and hacker attacks, power outages and natural disasters being the most common causes.
Customers of SMEs said that the disruptions cost an average of £9000 a day, with 40% lasting 8 hours or more. One third of them reported losing important data.
"SMEs don't realise the impact their outages have on customers, particularly when they have tools at their fingertips to help them be prepared to deal with disasters," said Andrew Douglas, VP of small businesses at Symantec.
Only 12% of small and medium size companies back up their data daily, and on average small firms back up only 70% of their customer and business data.
More than half the small and medium sized companies said they would lose 30% of their data if their computing systems were wiped out by a fire.
The survey showed that SMEs wrongly believe their customers will be understanding if their computer systems are disrupted. Fewer than half believe their customers will consider moving their business to competitors.
But the survey shows that 45% of SME customers have switched suppliers because they feel their computer systems were unreliable. All of the customers questioned said that IT downtime would damage their perception of a supplier.
Some 66% of SMEs said they did not have a disaster plan in place, but of those 90% said they would create one within the next 6 months.