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New Survey Shows Majority of Small Businesses Are Complacent When It Comes to Disaster Preparedness

23 May, 2007

New Survey Shows Majority of Small Businesses Are Complacent When It Comes to Disaster Preparedness

DELRAY BEACH, FL - With the official start of another hurricane season upon us, a new national survey reveals some startling insights about small business attitudes towards being prepared for a potential disaster. Conducted by TNS NFO and commissioned by Office Depot, a leading global provider of office products and services, the survey illustrates a troubling fact: the majority (57 percent) of small business owners and decision-makers are not worried about the impact a disaster can have on their business.

With experts predicting that 2007 will be an active hurricane season, these results are cause for concern.Additional findings reveal that:
-- 71 percent of small business employees work at a company that does not have a disaster preparedness plan;
-- Two-thirds (64 percent) of those companies without a plan contend "we don't need it;" and
-- One in five businesses (18 percent) do not back up business data at all.

"Not having a plan or back-up system in place can result in a business closing for good," said Jon Toigo, an IT veteran and author of numerous books on disaster planning and recovery. "Just as you would prepare your home and family for a potential disaster, it's important that you also ready your business. There are simple, affordable solutions that will help protect you, your employees and your business."

Office Depot is continuing its education campaign to help small businesses get a head start on disaster preparedness this year. The Company has created a free downloadable brochure entitled Expecting the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness Strategies for Small Business available at www.officedepot.com/getprepared.

"Readiness planning is vital to business survival," Toigo added. "A sound contingency plan can help your small business respond effectively to a crisis, and prevent that crisis from becoming a full-fledged disaster."

Survey results also show that companies without a plan in place are overly confident in their abilities to return to business as usual, despite research that proves otherwise. Approximately 63 percent of those surveyed are convinced that they could resume business within 72 hours if impacted by a natural disaster (e.g. hurricane, flood, tornado, earthquake). However, the Association of Small Business Development Centers reports that more than one in four businesses will experience a significant crisis in a given year and of those businesses that experience a disaster and have no emergency plan, 43 percent never reopen. Furthermore, of those that do recover, only 29 percent are still operating two years later.

The Office Depot survey also found that 42 percent of businesses do not know how much it would cost to adequately prepare for a disaster. While the cost of disaster recovery planning measures will depend on the nature and size of the business, potential hazards, and the types of preventive and protective strategies required, in the final analysis, businesses that prepare are much more likely to recover than those that do not.

Of those small businesses responding to the survey, close to one in five (18 percent) do not back up data at all. Just over half (52 percent) claim to burn important files on a removable media device (e.g. DVD-R, CD-R discs, tapes, removable disk drives, external hard drives, etc.) in order to keep data secure, while only 11 percent keep copies of this data at an off-site location.

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