Survey: U.K. data archiving skills behind U.S., though its all relative

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According to two nearly identical recent surveys of businesses in the United Kingdom and the U.S., companies in the U.S. are somewhat more proficient in archiving data than those in the U.K. Other results indicate that U.K.-based organizations also are feeling more heat due to compliance burdens regardless of the compliance noise being made in the U.S. The respondents in both countries also indicate some confusion about the differences between backup and archiving. The surveys were conducted by BridgeHead Software, a technology company with a focused on integrated storage management software

And the survey says: 28 percent of U.K. companies do not as yet archive data, whereas 23 percent of U.S. companies do. Companies in either country that do not archive are a definite minority.

How well do users understand their archives, the survey asked? Well, in the U.K., 15 percent of respondents didn’t know how long it would take to track down a vital file gone missing three months prior, though in the U.S. 20 percent feel more confident. Getting down to the heart of the matter, 2 percent of U.K. respondents admitted that they wouldn’t be able to find the file at all. This went up a bit to 6 percent among U.S. companies, actually.

Of the motivation behind doing archiving at all, 22 percent of those in the U.K. claimed compliance/corporate as a main reason, which fell to 15 percent among U.S. respondents. Taking a larger view on regulatory compliance changed the results, with 48 percent of U.K. respondents saying such compliance wasn’t overall a major drive of business decisions, with 42 percent in the U.S. indicating that it was.

Perhaps most damning: 48 percent of U.K. respondents say that business continuity and disaster recovery is a driver for archiving in their organization. In the U.S., the figure is 40 percent. Yet, though many respondents are creating backups/restores faster and simpler by limiting the size of primary data stores – archiving, according to the survey, is not the answer to data protection, BridgeHead Software said.

“Generally, the respective figures in each survey are within shouting distance of each other, lending validity to the survey,” said Tony Cotterill, CEO BridgeHead Software, which conducted the surveys. “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,” said Cotterill.

“Too many respondents in both countries are using backup software to create archives, which just isn’t 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.