UK data archiving skills lag behind USA, survey shows

But figures suggest neither has anything to be proud of !

Identical surveys conducted in both the UK and in the USA reveal that businesses in the USA are more proficient at archiving data than in the UK, BridgeHead Software announced today.  The survey also shows that organisations in the UK feel the burden of compliance regulations more than in the USA, despite much of the hype about regulation emanating from the USA itself.  Respondents in both countries also demonstrate uncomfortably high levels of confusion around the different roles of backup and archiving.

Jon William Toigo, CEO of data management consulting and research firm Toigo Partners International commented: The differences between US and UK companies with respect to archiving practices may well reflect the dilemma confronting US IT organisations:  that of having to select and manage separate archive tools for databases, email, content management systems, and unsorted user files.  Thus far, the US vendor community has shown little interest in cooperating in any sort of overarching scheme of archive management, which in turn imposes a huge burden on IT administrators.  This issue has begun to be addressed by vendors like BridgeHead.

Key findings include:

  • In the UK, 28 per cent of companies do not archive data.  In the USA, the figure is 23 per cent a small improvement but still a significant minority.
  • In the UK, 25 per cent of those that do archive use some kind of automated tool.  In the USA, this figure rises to 32 per cent.
  • Respondents have different levels of faith in their archive procedures.  In the UK, 15 per cent of respondents didnt know how long it would take them to retrieve a vital file lost three months ago, but in the USA this rises to 20 per cent.  In the UK, two per cent of respondents admitted that they wouldnt be able to find the file, but this rose to six per cent among USA companies.
  • Twenty two per cent of UK respondents cited compliance/corporate governance as a driver for archiving, but this figure fell to just 15 per cent among US respondents.
  • However, asked if regulatory compliance was a factor at all in their business, 48 per cent of UK respondents said no, compared to 42 per cent in the USA.
  • Forty eight per cent of UK respondents say that business continuity and disaster recovery is a driver for archiving in their organisation.  In the USA the figure is 40 per cent, but - despite making backups/restores faster and simpler by reducing the size of primary data stores archiving, according to the survey, is not the answer to data protection.
  • The average size of primary data stores among the UK respondents was 4.37TB, while among USA respondents the average size was lower at 3.5TB.  This may be explained by figures showing that only 33 per cent of UK respondents have an archive of greater than 1TB, while the corresponding figure for the USA is a much higher 48 per cent, suggesting greater success at identifying data that can be removed from expensive primary storage.

Tony Cotterill, CEO of BridgeHead Software, which conducted the surveys, said: Generally, the respective figures in each survey are within shouting distance of each other, lending validity to the survey.  But while there are interesting differences between the two markets, there are also worrying similarities notably the confusion over the different functions, execution and purposes of backup and archiving.

Too many respondents in both countries are using backup software to create archives, which just isnt appropriate.  An archive involves indexing content so it can be retrieved later using a keyword search, anything else is just backup.  The fact that business continuity and disaster recovery heads the list of drivers for archiving in both countries reinforces the conclusion that many people are confused, he added.

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