82 per cent of Businesses in Singapore Might Not Be Able to Recover Lost Data and Systems

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Home > Articles > 82 per cent of Businesses in Singapore Might Not Be Able to Recover Lost Data and Systems

  82 per cent of Businesses in Singapore Might Not Be Able to Recover Lost Data and Systems

August 16, 2012

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) has found that 82 per cent of companies in Singapore are not very confident that they can fully recover systems or data in the event of a disaster. Based on the disaster recovery survey 2012: Asia Pacific and Japan, 72 per cent of Singapore organisations lost data or suffered systems downtime in the last 12 months. These findings highlight the need for backup transformation from antiquated technologies that are not suited for today’s data growth or availability expectations.


Shane Moore, Director APJ Backup and Recovery System, EMC, says: “Asia Pacific and Japan, are not immune to the uncertain economic times facing the rest of the world. By establishing a well thought-out and strategic approach to backup and recovery that utilises the next-generation solutions available today, businesses can withstand the consequences of day-to-day outages as well as more serious incidents, while reducing the total cost of ownership of their backup systems.”

A move to next-generation backup and recovery solutions ensure continued business operations in the event of a natural disaster, malicious activity, and common disruptions to IT systems. The research has shown that the causes of systems downtime are often the commonplace disruptions to IT. This includes hardware failure or data corruption, rather than natural disasters or other major incidents.

 “The Disaster Recovery Survey 2012: Asia Pacific and Japan” is commissioned by EMC and conducted by independent research company Vanson Bourne. It looks at the state of backup and disaster recovery in the region to understand how well companies are prepared for data loss and systems downtime.

Survey Findings

Disruption happens: downtime and data loss more likely from an IT problem than a natural disaster

The research showed that it can take just a little to cause a lot of disruption, even something as simple as data corruption. The three most common causes of data loss and downtime in Singapore are:

1. Hardware failure: 61 per cent,
2. Data corruption: 49 per cent, and
3. Loss of power: 49 per cent.

This compares to just 13 per cent of respondents citing natural disasters as a cause of systems downtime or data loss; 19 per cent of respondents attribute systems downtime or data loss to employee sabotage. Regardless of the cause, 67 per cent of Singapore organisations reviewed and changed their procedures for backup and recovery in response to an incident.

Furthermore, 53 per cent of Singapore businesses increased their spending on backup and recovery after a disaster. This is against a backdrop where 32 per cent of Singapore organisations surveyed did not feel they were spending enough on backup and recovery. On average, the research found that businesses across Singapore are spending 11.47 per cent of their IT budgets on backup and recovery.

Economic impacts: Lost revenue attributed to systems downtime 

The study identified that there are measureable business impacts from systems downtime, with the top three cited by Singapore organisations as:

1. Loss of employee productivity: 53 per cent,
2. Delay in product/service development: 41 per cent, and
3. Loss of revenue: 32 per cent.

Systems failure resulted on average in two lost working days for the Singapore businesses in the survey. Based on an average eight-hour working day, this is the equivalent of 32,000 man-hours for a Singapore company employing approximately 2,000 employees. Each organisation lost an average of 387 gigabytes of data during a 12 month period. Given that one megabyte of data is approximately the equivalent of 25 E-mail documents in size, losing 387 gigabytes of data would be the equivalent of losing 9.67 million E-mails.

Despite loss of revenue being rated as a major consequence of systems downtime, the research revealed that many Singapore companies are not doing enough to protect essential customer data. 56 per cent of organisations do not have a disaster recovery plan for their customer relationship management, CRM, systems. Eight per cent of organisations who do have a disaster recovery plan for their applications would require their CRM applications to be up and running first following systems downtime.

Furthermore, businesses in Singapore are failing to take advantage of insurance premium benefits that a comprehensive disaster recovery plan can produce. 56 per cent of companies in Singapore are obliged by either insurance policies or regulatory requirements to have a disaster recovery plan in place. More importantly, however, 44 per cent of Singapore organisations surveyed are offered reduced premiums by their insurance provider. This is done according to the strength of their IT systems backup/disaster recovery strategy. However, 34 per cent of Singapore organisations do not know if their insurance provider offers such reduced premiums, highlighting a missed opportunity for many businesses.

Michael Alp, Vice President, APJ Backup and Recovery Systems Division, EMC, says: “It is not uncommon that we find major organisations that cannot recover a lot of their backups, or rely solely on replication for Disaster Recovery. With increasing regulatory requirements in most countries, more aggressive security threats, and continual growth of data fueled by online channels, it is more important than ever that companies have a well defined DR strategy. Companies without an effective strategy risk losing customer data and suffering significant fines from the regulators. There are new technologies that remove human error, eliminate the potential for losing data, provide encryption, and automate the monitoring and reporting across the entire data protection environment. These solutions help our customers save money while reducing risk. This report shows us that there is a lot of work to do.”

Outdated solutions: 43 per cent still depend on tape and 21 per cent still use CD Rom for backup and recovery, but this looks set to change

For backup and disaster recovery purposes, 43 per cent of Singapore organisations still rely on tape. Looking at the operational cost associated with tape, organisations in the Asia Pacific and Japan region spend on average more than S$73,406. This includes transportation, storage, test, and replacement of tape for the purposes of offsite disaster recovery. Meanwhile, 21 per cent of Singapore companies rely on outdated CD-ROM for backup storage. Surprisingly, 9 per cent of Singapore organisations have an employee take a copy of their backup home with them for safekeeping.

However, 73 per cent of businesses in Singapore are already using modern disk-based backup and recovery solutions. This trend looks set to increase, with 95 per cent of tape-using organisations looking to move beyond tape. The top three reasons cited for this planned move are:

1. Faster backups: 40 per cent,
2. Speed of data recovery and system restores: 33 per cent,
3. Durability (disk-based methods have a longer lifespan): 26 per cent, and
4. Simplified, centralised administration: 26 per cent.

Aakash Gandhi, Chief Technology Officer, Infoplex, says: “This research raises a number of interesting issues around backup and recovery. Businesses need to take a proactive approach to ensuring their systems can cope well before an incident occurs. From our own experiences, it seems clear that a next-generation disk-based approach to backup and recovery is best placed to get business-critical applications up and running immediately. This will minimise the economic impact. By careful planning and ensuring we make the right investments, we are confident that we are well prepared for systems downtime, whatever the cause.”

Preparedness for routine disruption or significant incidents starts with a next-generation backup approach that leverages disk with data deduplication and network based replication technologies. The survey shows the reaction after disruption is to spend more on backup and recovery. The damage causes a loss of time and money during a downtime as well as longer term damage to customer loyalty. By raising the visibility of common problems and associated economic consequences, organisations can proactively review their own strategies for backup and recovery to ensure they can meet business requirements.

Survey Methodology
For “The Disaster Recovery Survey 2012: Asia Pacific and Japan”—commissioned by EMC, Vanson Bourne interviewed 2,500 IT decision-makers in private and public sector organisations in Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Each organisation ranged between 250 and 3000-plus employees and represented a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, financial services and telecoms, among others.

News Summary:

  • 82 per cent of organisations in Singapore are not very confident that they can fully recover after a disaster, according to a new survey of 2,500 companies in Asia Pacific and Japan,
  • 72 per cent of Singapore organisations surveyed have lost data and/or suffered systems downtime in the last year,
  • Hardware failure (61 per cent), data corruption (49 per cent), and loss of power (49 per cent) were cited as the primary causes of data loss and downtime for Singapore organisations,
  • 53 per cent of Singapore organisations cite loss of employee productivity as the most likely consequence of downtime,
  • 43 per cent of Singapore organisations who store a backup copy offsite for disaster recovery still use tape for recovery, and 21 per cent still use CD ROM (although 73 per cent now use disk-based storage), and
  • 95 per cent of these organisations want to replace tape all together, highlighting the need for next generation backup and recovery.
EMC Corporation is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. Fundamental to this transformation is cloud computing. Through innovative products and services, EMC accelerates the journey to cloud computing, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect, and analyse their most valuable asset—information—in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way. Additional information about EMC can be found at www.EMC.com.

Vanson Bourne, a specialist research-led consultancy, carries out user research within a technology context. The company interviews senior decision makers from a variety of functions, across a whole range of industries, in organisations from the smallest to the largest, in markets around the globe. Vanson Bourne's clients range from start-ups to well-known companies that need expert guidance, delivering robust and credible research-based analysis.

Copyright © 2012 Singapore Institute of Management

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