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Disaster Preparedness Key to Customer Retention for Singapore SMBs

Symantec survey reveals that almost three quarters of customers switched SMB vendors due to unreliable computing systems
SINGAPORE – March 7, 2011 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced the Singapore findings of its 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, which measured the attitudes and practices of small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and their customers toward disaster preparedness. The survey findings show that though SMBs are at risk, most are not making disaster preparedness a priority until they experience a disaster or data loss. The data also reveals that the cost of not being prepared is high, putting an SMB at risk of going out of business. According to the survey, downtime not only costs SMBs hundreds of thousands of dollars, it also causes their customers to leave.


Click to Tweet: Disaster preparedness key to customer retention for SG SMBs; 73% changed SMB vendors due to unreliable systems.


“Disasters are unpredictable in nature and can happen anytime as a result of natural causes, IT systems failures or even human errors. SMBs that handle sensitive information such as customer records, credit card details or personnel files, cannot afford to risk data loss incidents,” said Tan Yuh Woei, country manager, Singapore, Symantec. “Findings from this research show that SMBs have yet to recognise the tremendous impact of a disaster. Simple planning can enable SMBs to protect their information in the event of a disaster which in turn will help them build trust with their customers.”


Despite Warnings, SMBs Still Not Prepared
The findings show that 38 percent of SMBs do not have a disaster preparedness plan in place. 44 percent said that it never occurred to them to put together a plan and 33 percent stated that disaster preparedness is not a priority for them. This lack of preparation is surprising given that in the past 12 months, the typical SMB experienced four outages. The leading causes cited were power outages, cyber attacks, upgrades and employee errors.


The survey revealed that the information that drives most SMBs is not protected. 62 percent of SMBs back up more than 60 percent of their data, half back up on a weekly basis and only 31 percent back up daily. Respondents also reported that a disaster would cause information loss. In fact, 39 percent of SMBs said they would lose at least 40 percent of their data in the event of a disaster.


SMBs Don’t Act Until After a Disaster
According to the survey findings, 59 percent of the SMBs that have implemented disaster preparedness plans did so after experiencing an outage and/or data loss. 56 percent put together their plans within the last six months. However, only 35 percent have actually tested their recovery plans, which is a critical component of being prepared.


Lack of Preparedness Impacts the Business
Disasters can have a significant financial impact on SMBs. The median cost of downtime for an SMB is US$14,700 per day. Outages cause customers to leave—a significant 73 percent of SMB customer respondents reported they have switched SMB vendors due to unreliable computing systems. 45 percent of SMB customers surveyed stated that their SMB vendors have temporarily shut down due to a disaster.


SMB customers also reported considerable effects to their own business. When SMBs experience downtime, it costs their customers an average of US$12,000 per day. In addition to direct financial costs, 31 percent of SMB customers lost “some” or “a lot” of important data as a result of disasters impacting their SMB vendors.


Recommendations
The survey found that 57 percent of SMBs intend to create a disaster preparedness plan in the next six months. Symantec offers the following recommendations:
  • Don’t wait until it’s too late: It is critical for SMBs to not wait until after a disaster to think about what they should have done to protect their information. Downtime is costly. Business owners need to begin mapping out a disaster preparedness plan today. A plan should include identification of key systems and data that are intrinsic to the running of the business.

  • Protect information completely: To reduce the risk of losing critical business information, SMBs must implement the appropriate security and backup solutions to back up and archive important files. Natural disasters, power outages and cyber attacks can all result in data and financial loss, so SMBs need to make sure important files are saved not only on an external hard drive and/or company network, but in a safe, off-site location.

  • Get employees involved: SMB employees play a key role in helping to prevent downtime, and should be educated on computer security best practices and what to do if information is accidentally deleted or cannot easily be found in their files. Since SMBs have few resources, all employees should know how to retrieve the businesses’ information in times of disaster.

  • Test frequently: After a disaster hits is the worst time to learn that critical files were not backed up as planned. Regular disaster recovery testing is invaluable. Test your plan anytime anything changes in your environment.

  • Review your plan: If frequent testing is not feasible due to resources and bandwidth, SMBs should at least review their disaster preparedness plan on a quarterly basis.

Symantec’s SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey
Symantec’s SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey is the result of research conducted in November 2010 by Applied Research, which surveyed IT professionals responsible for computers, networks and technology resources at small- and mid-sized businesses. The report was designed to gauge the impact and stage of disaster recovery preparedness, perceptions and practices of small- and mid-sized businesses. The study included more than 1,840 respondents from 23 countries in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific and Latin America. There were 900 respondents from Asia Pacific with 5-499 employees.


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About Symantec
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.


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