E-Mail Downtime Throws Businesses for a Loss . / Credit: Data loss image via Shutterstock

Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint are the world's two most-used email and enterprise content management applications. But they're much like the little girl in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "When she was good, she was very good indeed. But when she was bad, she was horrid." When they go down, so does your business.

Nearly half of businesses (42 percent) relying on these applications experienced at least one data loss while using them last year, with 59 percent reporting it took at least half a day to recover from that loss, according to a survey of 326 IT managers, engineers and sales personal conducted by Kroll Ontrack, a provider of data recovery, e-discovery and information management.

And a quarter of reporting organizations experienced multiple losses. The degree of severity varied, with 20 percent categorizing their loss as a level one, defined as a severe disruption, such as a down system. Sixteen percent indicated their data loss was a level two, or major disruption, while 37 percent categorized their data loss as a level three, or occasional disruption, and 18 percent indicated it was a level four, or minimal disruption, such as an enhancement request.

Recovery was a time-consuming and expensive endeavor, the survey found. While 59 percent of organizations reported losing at least half a day, 14 percent lost multiple days and 5 percent said they never recovered from the loss.

To restore the lost data, 26 percent reported that they leveraged an existing backup. This was followed by 21 percent, who leveraged an in-house capability; 18 percent, who actually re-created the data; and 14 percent, who used a data recovery software tool. Sixty percent of respondents said the financial impact of their data loss was $50,000 or greater and 3 percent experienced a loss of more than $1 million.

There are tools, however, that can granularly restore items, messages, attachments and even notes and contacts, eliminating the need for a backup recovery server, Kroll said. Tools that function in this capacity can save companies over 50 percent of restoration time when compared to traditional methods.

 "For many businesses, regardless of size, the use of email means everything from simple internal communications or vital customer sales calls to invoicing and billing," said Jim Reinert, Kroll's vice president of product development. "Email — and Exchange — is involved at every level of business life. Losing that information is debilitating, putting a great deal of recovery and restoration requests and thus burden on IT.”

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.We're also on Facebook & Google+.