Cloud computing offers organizations new options for establishing and improving business continuity and disaster recovery plans, yet many of small to mid-size companies fail to adequately prepare for unexpected events that shut business down.

That’s one major finding from the new 2016 SMB Recovery Readiness study published by Zetta, a provider of cloud backup solutions. The company surveyed more than 300 IT professionals across over 15 industries, in companies ranging in size from 50 to more than 1,000 employees.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said several days of system downtime “would result in moderate to catastrophic costs and loss.” That’s why many businesses are turning to the cloud as part of their BC/DR strategies. More than a third (37 percent) are using a cloud backup solution, up from 26 percent last year. And 10 percent of respondents said they use only the cloud for disaster recovery, up from 4 percent last year. Of businesses planning to add a new DR plan over the next year, more than half (57 percent) said they plan to use a cloud-based solution.

However, the survey found that many organizations are falling short on preparedness, particularly when it comes to testing DR plans. One-third of respondents said they rarely test their DR plans, and almost two-thirds (62 percent) said they only test DR plans once a year or less. And then there are organizations completely exposing themselves to risk: Thirteen percent of organizations surveyed said they don’t have a “technical disaster recovery strategy,” and another 14 percent said they don’t have off-site DR.

“SMBs have made increasing investments into their virtual infrastructure to save on costs and resources, yet DR strategies to protect those virtualized workloads are still falling behind in comparison,” said Zetta CEO Mike Grossman. “The cloud is delivering impressive new options for these organizations with a strong combination of reliability, recovery speed and attractive pricing. As a result, organizations are able to efficiently assure disaster preparedness to avoid the increasing fear of a catastrophic loss.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • According to respondents, the most important factors of a DR solution are cost (65 percent), speed of recovery (61 percent), reliability (60 percent) and simplicity (60 percent).
  • Organizations use a mix of DR strategies, including:
    • Onsite and physical offsite (26 percent)
    • Physical offsite only (23 percent)
    • Onsite only (14 percent)
    • Onsite, physical backup and cloud (14 percent)
    • Cloud only (10 percent)
    • Onsite and cloud (9 percent)
    • Physical offsite and cloud (4 percent)

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