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Fire, computer viruses and human error are viewed as the main threats to corporate data by European businesses, according to a survey by storage specialists Hitachi Data Systems. The latest edition of HDS’s bi-annual Storage Index reckons that low-tech 'old fashioned' threats pose the greatest risk of upsetting the operations of European corporates.

Of the 821 firms questioned, 82 per cent claim to have a disaster recovery strategy in place, with two in three (65 per cent) of that group also having a remote disaster recovery site to which they replicate important data. However, despite fire being cited as a main threat to data, one third (35 per cent) of firms do not currently back-up data remotely, while 31 per cent also reckon the priority given to business continuity by their company’s executive board is too low.

The research also highlighted regional differences in attitudes towards business continuity. While fire (57 per cent), computer viruses (55 per cent) and human error (50 per cent) were the three most common perceived threats to data across all countries - followed by hacking (32 per cent) and downtime (31 per cent) - terrorism, though only polling 11 per cent in total, was a prominent concern for firms in the UK, Spain and Israel. Perhaps it's no coincidence that all three countries have been the subject of terrorist attack over the last year or so. Financial institutions cited terrorism as a far greater threat (22 per cent) than other surveyed sectors.

The vast majority of European businesses reckon data volumes will increase over the next two years, with email being the primary contributor. "With mounting legislation demanding the retention and storage of data, not to mention an ever-increasing reliance on digital information for day to day business transactions, the security and availability of information is becoming of paramount importance," said Michael Väth, general manager of Hitachi Data Systems, EMEA.

"It is no longer enough for firms to have a local storage solution, however robust. Quite apart from legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley which requires companies to keep data secure, the dependency on digital information for daily business transactions means that firms cannot risk losing access to that information for a prolonged period of time, let alone losing the actual information itself." ®

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