As businesses on the East Coast deal with the impact of Hurricane Sandy, the massive storm serves as a reminder that major weather events can end up being hugely costly to businesses that don’t have adequate data protection processes and technologies in place.

Businesses worldwide lose an average of $366,363 a year due to IT downtime, according to Acronis, a data protection and disaster recovery provider.

Surprisingly, a majority of businesses still lack proper backup and recovery systems, with only 35% of respondents to a survey conducted earlier this year by Acronis saying they were covered in these areas. And nearly 50% of the 6,000 U.S. companies surveyed still feared substantial downtime in the event of a disaster.

Yet the cloud, for many companies, offers a cost-effective disaster recovery alternative. Using cloud computing services to back up data, rather than relying solely on tape, external hard drives or other techniques, can give organizations access to critical business data in the event that a storm shuts down their systems or facilities. And one of the cloud's biggest touted advantages is the infrastructure savings that come with using computing services rather than investing in computing hardware.

Acronis found that 40% of U.S. companies think the cloud improves their overall backup and recovery capabilities, and more than 50% said it helps lower IT costs.

Read More: Tips for Data Disaster Preparedness

 

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