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Smaller government suppliers warn on their disaster recovery abilities

New government IT strategy says more work will go to small vendors

SME businesses supplying the public sector lack confidence in their backup and disaster recovery strategies, with nearly a third (30 percent) stating they would face substantial risk of downtime in the event of a serious incident or disaster.

The news comes only weeks after the government issued an IT strategy saying it would push out more work to smaller suppliers - seen as an important step in opening up the market.

A survey on data security questioned 380 SMEs across the UK and 12 other countries. It was conducted by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of data security firm Acronis, and revealed that over half (53 percent) of public sector firms are failing to make disaster recovery (DR) a sufficient priority.

Over half (56 percent) of those surveyed cited lack of budget and IT resources as the main reason. This is supported further by almost half (45 percent) saying they spend less than 5 percent of their IT budget on DR, which is half the UK's national average (10 percent).

These firms were also slow to embrace virtualisation, with only a fifth (19 percent) of all production servers being virtualised. Similarly, two thirds (69 percent) of public sector organisations claim they either do not back up or do not know if they back up their virtual servers as often as their physical servers.

Other survey results:

-Almost 60 percent (58 percent) of businesses are only using file-based backups, which means their entire systems including operating systems and applications are not protected

-A third (35 percent) have no offsite backup and DR strategy, leaving them wide open to risk in the event of natural disaster or theft

-Over a quarter (28 percent) of respondents said their IT infrastructure will be in the cloud by the end of the year

David Blackman, general manager of Northern Europe at Acronis, said, "Nearly three quarters (72 percent) stated that the most beneficial thing that could improve their backup and DR strategy would be a single solution capable of delivering physical, virtual and cloud protection.

"If these organisations can look to one method and tool to manage their backups across the three environments, IT managers roles will become easier and confidence levels in the public sector are sure to grow."

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