The European-wide survey also revealed that human error is not considered as big a threat as viruses and physical damage to computer networks.
"Companies are faced with an ever-increasing data burden," said Michael Vath, senior VP at Hitachi Data Systems, which commissioned the survey. "With mounting legislation demanding the retention and storage of data, the security and availability of information is becoming of paramount importance."
Fire, computer viruses and human error were all considered dangers by over half of the directors polled, but only a third are afraid that they might lose data from a system breach.
Terrorism only concerned 11 percent of those polled, except for those in Israel, the U.K. and Spain where, in light of recent events, fear ran much higher. The financial sector is most wary with 22 percent fearing a terrorist threat.
In the event of losing valuable data, 82 percent of firms claimed to have a disaster recovery strategy in place, 65 percent of which have a disaster recovery site where important data is replicated.
In May SC reported how Time Warner lost backup tapes containing personal data while they were in transit to a storage facility. The incident prompted questions about the safe transportation of backup data.