Retail industry the worst in IT disaster practices, not ready to change

By Patrick Avenell

Companies in the Australian retail and manufacturing industries have been declared laggards in their disaster back-up and recovery practices by Karl Sice, Pacific general manager of worldwide data recovery specialist Acronis.

Speaking at the launch of Acronis’ 2012 Global Data Recovery Index, Sice said the retail industry was particularly lacking in its ability to recover from a disaster. The term disaster is broad, covering such things as natural disasters, human errors, criminal sabotage and software failures.

As Sice pointed out at yesterday’s media briefing in Sydney, this is a time of unprecedented volume in disasters, with floods, cyclones, protests, uprisings, tsunamis and organised hackings taking place.

A deficiency in disaster recovery, according to Sice, can lead to extended downtime, the permanent loss of records and lost profits.

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“As far as laggards are concerned… anecdotally, from what I’ve seen in the marketplace, I think the retail sector is a challenging sector,” Sice said. “The retailing sector, and I don’t want to over-generalise here, but the retail sector has some unique challenges at the moment, versus the economy.

To add to this lack of back-up practices, Sice said Acronis had struggled to even communicate to the retail sector why recovery systems were important.

“From an IT perspective, we’ve struggled to get engagement in the principles that we’re talking about here.”

At the other end of the scale, Sice said the financial services and FMCG industries were the most advanced in their disaster recovery practices. He credited this to the overarching compliance schemes that were in place in these industries.

Sice’s conclusions stem from a survey commissioned by Acronis of 5,998 businesses across the developed world. Nine per cent of these respondents — around 540 — were from the retail sector.

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