Just 12% of European boards of directors are taking responsibility for disaster recovery planning, according to market analyst firm Macarthur Stroud International.
In the US, management consultant Booz Allen estimates that 90% of chief executive officers are involved in the process.
Analyst group Gartner estimates that 40% of companies that suffer a disaster go out of business within five years, yet the survey revealed almost one in five European businesses still do not have do not have a disaster recovery plan in place.
The UK beats the European average, with 9% of organisations lacking basic DR planning. In Italy the number is 36%, while in Germany and Spain it is just 4%.
Of those organisations with DR plans, 45% have not reviewed their preparations in the past 12 months and 12% have not done so in the past two years. Just 2% of organisations reported that they updated their plans continuously; 2% admitted to never having reviewed their plans since they were first instituted.
The survey of senior IT managers in 669 medium and large European companies was carried out for disaster recovery firm Veritas. It also revealed that 52% of organisations experienced unplanned downtime at least once a quarter.
The most frequently cited reasons for not having a plan in place were tight budgets, a belief that the organisation did not need a plan and the plain admission that the organisation "had not got round to thinking about it".
Jason Phippen, European head of solutions marketing at Veritas, said, "The results highlight the large number of organisations that simply don't have the management focus needed to ensure their information and data can survive."
Hamish Macarthur of Macarthur Stroud International added, "Disaster recovery involves technical solutions, but needs to be supported by processes, culture and awareness and that means board-level responsibility."