Businesses are cutting costs by reducing the number of physical servers they use, but most are not extending those benefits to data protection, according to the survey of 500 enterprises across the UK, US, France and Germany.
Nearly two thirds of organisations experience problems every month when attempting to recover a server, according to preliminary results of the survey by Veeam Software.
Failed recoveries cost the average enterprise more than £250,000 a year, but only 2% of all virtual server backups are tested for recoverability each year, the survey found.
Respondents said testing recoverability of a single backup takes around 13 hours. A lack of staff is the top reason IT departments do not do more testing.
The reason for lengthy testing is that most organisations are still using traditional methods inappropriate to virtualisation, said Doug Hazelman, senior director, product strategy at Veeam.
This means most organisations recover entire servers, but in nearly half of these cases, they need to recover only a single file or application item, they survey found.
This is a huge waste of effort and businesses can reduce recovery time from hours to minutes and eliminate the risk of failed backups by verifying the recoverability of every backup, he said.
According to Doug Hazelman, by taking virtualisation beyond reducing server footprint, organisations can improve the speed and effectiveness of data backup and recovery.
Veeam is to highlight further challenges faced by businesses in its first annual report on the impact of virtualisation on data protection strategies to be published in October.