Despite a recent spate of natural disasters such as Hurricane Irene, which caused massive floods, power outages and untold billions in damages, more than half of small businesses (57 percent) in a new survey said they did not have a disaster preparedness plan for their business data.

According to a poll conducted by Carbonite, a provider of online backup systems, which surveyed 130 owners, small businesses ranked the permanent loss of data as the No. 1 challenge to maintaining their business in the event of a natural disaster. Yet 59 percent responded that they had not created a disaster plan because they “haven’t thought about it.”

Only 13 percent think that a natural disaster could happen to them and 54 percent felt a data disaster was unlikely to impact their business. Just 69 percent believed that they would lose money if their business could not function for one day.

“Based on our recent study, small businesses recognize the value of protecting their business data and assets—but most are not adequately prepared for a data disaster,” said Peter Lamson, senior vice president and general manager of small business for Carbonite.

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