Nearly two-thirds (63%) of small to mid-sized businesses in Europe take a day or more to recover from system downtime, research has revealed.
The Vanson Bourne survey of 600 businesses in the UK, France and Germany found that most companies are failing to protect their IT systems.
Only 10% of organisations surveyed said they are confident that they could recover their systems within an hour after a disaster such as a hardware crash or virus infection.
With system downtime preventing access to critical functions such as e-mail and internet, order processing and sales figures, many companies are leaving themselves wide open to lost revenue, lost productivity and lost customers, the research report said.
A quarter of companies still back up their PCs and laptops manually and nearly one-fifth (19%) do not carry out back-ups on these individual devices at all, the survey found. With up to 60% of company data held on workstations rather than being backed up to a server, organisations are putting their critical information at risk every day.
The report said UK businesses are less likely to back up workstations than their French and German counterparts, with 38% of UK firms failing to back up workstations at all.
"With little room for downtime in today's business environment, it is surprising that many companies still do not carry out regular back-ups," said David Blackman, northern European general manager for recovery firm Acronis, which commissioned the research.