One Year after Superstorm Sandy, Many Small Businesses Aren’t Prepared for the Next Disaster

Nearly one year after Superstorm Sandy, small businesses are still at risk for downtime and data loss following a natural disaster, according to new survey results from Carbonite.

The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that more than 40 percent of small businesses in the tri-state area hit by Superstorm Sandy last October (NY, NJ, and CT) think it’s likely they will be impacted by a natural disaster in the next year, and that only 22 percent feel they are very prepared.

Downtime and data loss caused by natural disasters can be detrimental to any small business. On average, survey respondents said it would take 16 days to recreate or recover their files — and nearly a third said they would never be able to recover or recreate all of their important business data if it was lost.

In addition to lost time, data loss can hit a small business where it hurts — their bank account. Carbonite found that on average, small businesses would lose $2,976 per day if they were unable to operate. This means the average small business could lose a devastating $47,616 over the 16 days it takes them to recover their data.

More than two-thirds of small businesses have not created a disaster plan, and likely aren’t prepared for the realities of what could happen to their business in a disaster. For example, 62 percent of small businesses think that any damage caused by a natural disaster would be covered by insurance − when in fact, data loss can cost tens of thousands of dollars and isn’t covered by traditional insurance. And even though thousands of small businesses were displaced following Superstorm Sandy, nearly half of small business owners don’t have an alternative place they could work from if their work place becomes a disaster zone.

Nearly 75 percent of small businesses back up data electronically to safeguard their files against potential disasters, but the majority (63 percent) use on-site methods such as external hard drives, NAS devices and servers that are vulnerable to flood, fire and other disasters. Only 39 percent say they are using the cloud to protect their business files offsite and out of harm’s way. And while the majority of small businesses have some kind of data backup in place, more than two-thirds aren’t backing up all of their business data.

While many have taken steps to protect their business against the next disaster that will hit the region, some are still putting their businesses — and livelihood — at risk. For those who consider their data to be at the heart of their organization, backing up data to the cloud can mean the difference between an inconvenience and the end of business altogether.