Advertisement

  • News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Dealing With Disasters

Photo Credit :

Small and medium businesses are the backbone of India. But how prepared are they to deal with disasters? Not very, as the India findings of the 2012 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey by Symantec Corp show. The survey, gathered from 100 Indian SMBs with less than 249 employees, reveals that more than 90 per cent of Indian SMBs are not sufficiently prepared even as they grapple with high instances of disasters. On the positive side, it seems Indian SMBs are adopting technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing and mobility, often with improved disaster preparedness as a goal.

Highlighting the importance of embracing innovation to better respond to challenges,  Vijay Mhaskar, vice president, Information Management Group, Symantec India, says "small and medium businesses cannot afford lengthy downtimes and so their ability to quickly recover from a disaster is critical."

"It's time Indian SMBs start looking seriously at having a sound plan with effective security and data protection solutions that will enable them to better prepare for and quickly recover from potential disasters."

The India Survey revealed SMBs face the following scenario

Long Duration Outages: The survey reveals that Indian SMBs experienced at least one natural disaster in the last 12 months. Power outage (74 percent) and industrial accidents (72 percent) are the top disasters cited. Indian SMBs also experienced an average of five instances of operational outage, due to power outages, industrial accidents and IT system failures, lasting an average of 11 hours.
 

Indian SMBs underprepared for disaster: Pointing to the poor levels of disaster preparedness, the survey findings reveal that of the respondents, only six pe rcent  of Indian SMBs said that they are "extremely prepared" for disaster;  eight per cent replied that they "have a disaster recovery plan"; and one third of the respondents said  that they "have an offsite failover". The reasons for not having a disaster recovery plan range from lack of resources (42 per cent), computer systems not critical to business (37 per cent), budgets (21 per cent) and business priority (16 per cent). Showing complete unawareness for the need of disaster preparedness, a sizeable number of respondents (21 per cent) said that it never occurred to them to have a disaster recovery plan.


Effect of disaster preparedness being considered by Indian SMBs while adopting emerging technologies: In many cases, a desire to improve their disaster preparedness played a part in adopting emerging technologies like virtualization, cloud and mobility. Fifty-six percent of respondents were influenced to undertake server virtualization to improve disaster preparedness. In the case of private cloud computing, 62 percent reported that disaster preparedness influenced their decision, similar to the 63 percent who said it affected their commitment to public cloud adoption. This held true with mobility as well, with disaster preparedness influencing the decision 55 per cent of the time.

So how can they deal with the situation?

The survey shows the importance of embracing innovation to better respond to challenges.

Start planning now: Develop a disaster preparedness plan today. Evaluate how strategic technologies such as mobile, virtualization and cloud can help in those efforts.

Implement strategic technologies: Adopt integrated cloud backup for offsite storage and disaster recovery, and automated physical to virtual (P2V) backup conversion so you can recover your physical system to a virtual machine  in case of a server failure.

Protect your information: Use comprehensive security and backup solutions to protect your physical, virtual and mobile systems. You may even opt to backup to the cloud.

Review and test your disaster preparedness: This should be completed at least once a quarter.

The Global Scene
Internationally, The survey found that more than one-third of SMBs (35 per cent) are now taking advantage of mobile devices for business use. Virtualisation is also on their radar, with 34 per cent either currently deploying or already benefitting from server virtualisation. More popular still is cloud computing, with 40 per cent deploying public clouds and a similar number (43 per cent) implementing private clouds.

Symantec reports that in many cases, the SMBs' desire to improve their disaster preparedness played a part in adopting these emerging technologies. In the case of private cloud computing, 37 per cent reported that disaster preparedness influenced their decision, similar to the 34 per cent who said it affected their commitment to public cloud adoption and server virtualisation. This held true with mobility as well, with disaster preparedness influencing the decision 36 per cent of the time.

According to the survey, implementing these initiatives has improved the disaster preparedness of most of the respondents, particularly in the case of server virtualisation – 71 per cent reported that their disaster preparedness improved with virtualisation. In the case of private and public cloud they also saw improvement, according to 43 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively. And mobility increased their disaster preparedness 36 per cent of the time.

Symantec commissioned ReRez Research to conduct the Disaster Preparedness Survey among SMBs in February and March of 2012. They contacted business and IT executives at 2,053 SMBs (with between five and 250 employees) in 30 countries. The survey has a reliability of 95 percent with +/- 2.2 per cent margin of error.