Indian SMBs Not Prepared for Disasters

by Sohini Bagchi    Jun 29, 2012

Security BreachSMBs in India are considered to be the backbone of the country’s economy, but when it comes to dealing with disasters, they are not quite prepared. A recent report by Symantec Corporation based on its ‘2012 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey’ reveals that over 90 percent of Indian SMBs are not sufficiently equipped to deal with instances of disasters.

On the positive side however, the report noted that by adopting technologies such as virtualisation, mobility and cloud computing, they were in a better condition to deal with disasters.

SMBs Underprepared
The survey revealed that Indian SMBs experienced at least one natural disaster in the last 12 months. The top disaster they mentioned includes power outage and industrial accidents.

According to the report, factors such as lack of resources, budgets and general awareness act as impediments in the adoption of disaster preparedness in Indian SMBs. While 42 percent cited it is lack of resources that holds them back from preparing a disaster plan, 37 percent believes that the computer systems are not critical to business. Another 21 percent see budget constraints as the reason for not able to cope with disaster preparedness. Shockingly 21 percent, that is again a sizeable number of respondents mentioned that it never occurred to them to have a disaster recovery plan.

“Besides ignoring the need to have a disaster recovery plan in place, SMBs often make the mistake of investing in a plan and then not test it. It is important to understand how it works. So, test and review your disaster preparedness at frequent intervals,” said Sudip Sarkar, Director, Arrow Group, an aerospace equipment manufacturing firm based in Kolkata.

Embracing innovation
The survey shows the importance of embracing innovation to better respond to disasters. In several cases, by adopting emerging technologies like virtualisation, cloud and mobility helped SMBs improve their disaster preparedness. Adoption of emerging technologies was observed as a preventive option.

Nearly 56 percent respondents were influenced to undertake server virtualisation to improve disaster preparedness. In the case of private cloud computing, 62 percent reported that disaster preparedness influenced their decision. Another 63 percent said it affected their commitment to public cloud adoption. This held true with mobility as well, with disaster preparedness influencing the decision 55 percent of the time.

“As these businesses cannot afford lengthy downtimes, their ability to quickly recover from a disaster is critical,” said Vijay Mhaskar, VP - Information Management Group, Symantec India.

For CIOs/IT heads and other decision makers in SMB segment to best take advantage of this opportunity to improve disaster preparedness, he believes that its time Indian SMBs start looking seriously at having a sound plan - start planning ahead and evaluate ways in which strategic technologies such as mobile, virtualisation and cloud can help in those efforts.

Mhaskar stated small and midsized entities should have effective security and data protection solutions that will enable them to better prepare for and quickly recover from potential disasters.

Agreed Rishi Agarwal Founder and CEO, Arvan Technologies, a Pune based mid-sized software solutions company. “It is important that SMBs start using comprehensive security and backup solutions to protect their physical, virtual and mobile systems. Moreover, review and testing of their disaster plan should be undertaken at least once a quarter,” he said.

Symantec researchers also stated that adopting integrated cloud backup for offsite storage and disaster recovery, and automated physical to virtual (P2V) backup conversion is critical for SMBs to recover their physical system to a virtual machine in case of a server failure.