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Australian firms lagging in data recovery stakes

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 | By Michelle Hammond

Australian start-ups are being urged to prioritise their internal data recovery and backup systems in light of a new report revealing Australian SMEs are lagging behind other nations in this area.


The report, commissioned by IT firm Acronis, found that Australian businesses are among the least confident in the world when it comes to their ability to recover from a disaster, with Germany and the Netherlands leading the pack.


More than 3000 businesses were surveyed worldwide, with 259 of those businesses located in Australia.


According to the findings, only 44% of Australian businesses are confident in their ability to avoid downtime in the event of a serious incident.


When it comes to successfully recovering from a serious incident, Australian businesses are the least confident. Only 22% didn’t think their backup and DR operations would fail in the wake of a serious incident or event, compared to a global average of 50%.


The report reveals 36% of Australian businesses do not have an offsite backup and DR strategy in place, while 43% admitted they do not backup their virtual servers as often as their physical servers.


Simon Howe, Acronis manager for Australia and New Zealand, says DR strategies are often overlooked by Australian businesses, particularly start-ups.


“When you think about a start-up and the demands on them and their business, there is obviously a number of [more immediate] priorities such as keeping the business up and running, and developing the business,” Howe says.


“But data recovery has to be on the priority list.”


Howe says the floods in Queensland have highlighted how serious a data disruption can be for a business or website, particularly one that relies on ecommerce.


Darc Rasmussen, chief operating officer of communications and technology company IntraPower, says the company has been inundated by requests from non-customers wanting emergency help to get back online in the wake of the floods.


“Many Queensland businesses are struggling to resume operations after floods destroyed their IT systems and data or shut down offices and sub-standard data centres,” Rasmussen says.



According to Howe, there some simple practices and cost-effective technologies start-ups can use to avoid a data disruption in the event of a disaster.


“A start-up is relatively small, so the owner of the business needs to determine what the critical aspects of their IT environment are; what they can’t live without,” he says.


Howe says local recovery options are critical but businesses must also have some kind of backup measure located offsite.


“Often, devices with replication capabilities allow you to replicate IT systems or data on an identical box at home or offsite,” he says.


Howe says implementing DR strategies is potentially a one-day project although businesses need to first assess their IT environment. He also encourages start-ups to have an expert on hand to help out.