Survey Says: SMBs are Still Not Ready for the Next “Superstorm Sandy”

Geek Speak

photo-1It’s hard to believe that just about one year ago, Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast, damaging so many homes and businesses in its

wake. While my family and I did not experience any damage to our personal property, and my home office was spared, I do know of so many friends and family members who experienced flooding, loss of property and other damages as a result. For us, the worst part of the storm was power loss for just about a week—a small price to pay as compared with some of the other stories I have heard over the last year from both families and business owners.

Pictured at right: The boardwalk on Long Beach, Long Island, was one of the many areas that experienced devastation as a result of Hurricane Sandy last year.

Unfortunately, in situations like this, SMBs are almost always the types of organizations that experience the most amount of damage, and are usually the least prepared. One would naturally think that following disasters such as Sandy, and the recent floods in Colorado, would coerce people to get a solid BDR and contingency plan in place. However, according to a recent study conducted by cloud backup provider Carbonite, such is not the case.

The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that more than 40 percent of small businesses in the NY, NJ, CT area hit by Superstorm Sandy last October 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.

In addition, on average, survey respondents said it would take 16 days to re-create 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. Even more alarming is that the Carbonite survey 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!

In order to further drive home the results and impact of this study, Carbonite recently held a breakfast event in New York City to reveal the results and to also introduce two Carbonite customers who sustained massive damage from Sandy. As a result of having a solid BDR plan in place, these businesses were able to quickly salvage their assets and overall operations in a short time frame.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Pete Lamson, Carbonite’s VP of Sales and Marketing, who shared with me the details, as well as what the customer guest speakers discussed with the audience.

With both speakers coming from New Jersey, the first to offer their story was Bob Alfano and Kamila Molinelli, Co-Founders of Advanced Neutraceuticals. Based in East Rutherford (right near the Met Life Stadium where this year’s Super Bowl will be hosted), Advanced Neutraceuticals is a manufacturer and supplier of bulk raw materials and specialty products to the Nutritional Supplement Industry. During the event, Lamson said that Bob and Kamila offered that following the storm, they were unable to get to their office for two days, at which time the surveyed the damage and destruction. That day, they went out and bought new computers and office equipment, began searching for a temporary office, and started restoring all of their business data with Carbonite. Lamson added that during their presentation, Bob and Kamila mentioned that just one week after Sandy hit, they were able to settle in to a short-term office space, thus continuing with business as usual, thanks to their Carbonite backups.

“You hear stories like this, and you think about FEMA statistics, which state that 40 percent impacted by a disaster never end up reopening,” Lamson said. “The speakers (Bob and Kamila) were clear in that by having a BDR in place it made things a whole lot easier for them.”

Another customer speaker at the event was Doug Duncan, President of TalentValue, a Maplewood, NJ-based HR consultant. Doug noted that when Sandy hit on Oct. 29, his entire area lost power for two weeks, leaving him unable to run his business from his home office. Doug needed an alternative plan to continue serving customers, and he was able to continue to run his business from an alternative workspace using Carbonite’s Anytime, Anywhere Access…he added that he was also able to complete billing on time as a result.

While these two companies are an example of businesses planning ahead and mapping out a proper contingency plan, there are still some, according to Lamson, who are ignoring this issue, and even despite disasters like Sandy, are slow to change their backup behavior. However, he added that there is good news in that the numbers are not as low as some might think—73 percent in fact—but of that 73 percent, they are backing up to physical devices, such as NAS and external hard drives, rather than a cloud-based solution.

“If you move your servers four feet up from the ground, and you end up getting seven feet of water in your office, or if there is a theft, those physical devices are not going to help you,” Lamson said. “Backing up locally to a physical device is a very antiquated method, that’s not really going to help you in these types of situations.”

Another reason why some SMBs are ignoring BDR is because they feel it’s costly, and a lot to shell out for something they may never have the need for. Lamson added that this is something that should not be taken lightly. “This comes down to market education and making SMBs aware that backup methods that have been used up until a few years ago will not save your business in a disaster,” he said. “With cloud back up, you literally can just ‘set it, and forget it,’ and back up your business in about 15 minutes, real-time around the clock. When you think about it, the yearly cost to back up every device in your SMB for one year is the cost of a nice business lunch…”