Despite the skyrocketing ascension of cloud computing and virtualization seen in recent years, the majority of small and medium-sized businesses are failing to take the necessary precautions to ensure that their data and applications run on these systems are prepared for disaster, according to a new report from Acronis.

In a survey of more than 6,000 IT professionals conducted by the Ponemon Institute, 89 percent of SMBs said they already rely on a virtual infrastructure to some degree, and 31 percent said they expect to deploy server virtualization before the year's end.

At the same time, cloud computing is also making its way into the SMB sector. According to the study, 36 percent of SMBs said they have deployed at least half of their IT infrastructure in the cloud.

However, disaster recovery and data backup practices seem to be lagging behind this increased reliance on virtual and cloud-based technology. The survey found that nearly half of SMBs back up their virtual machines only once a week or once a month. More concerning, only 29 percent of cloud users have a disaster recovery or offsite backup strategy in place, the report noted.

These findings are somewhat surprising considering both cloud computing and virtualization are seen as viable solutions for disaster recovery and backup. By hosting data in the cloud, for example, a company can ensure that crucial corporate information remains safe even if an unforeseen disaster or network outage strikes the main headquarters or branch office.

The biggest backup-related struggle that SMBs have, the study found, is moving data between layers of the storage environment. SMBs also seem to favor using separate backup and recovery solutions for their physical environments than they do for their virtual solutions. This may be causing inefficient recovery processes, which could end up affecting the company's bottom line.

"Virtualized and cloud-based servers require the same degree of protection as physical ones," said Izzy Azeri, senior vice president and generation manager at Acronis. "New technology and updated contingency planning are the keys to bringing disaster recovery up to speed with today’s diversified infrastructures."

While there is no all-encompassing data backup and recovery solution, experts say that cloud and virtualized environments provide a degree of flexibility that companies won't find with traditional on-premises systems. Offsite and virtual storage can make the process of backing up an infrastructure much easier and ensure that data isn't lost should disaster strike.



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