A recent survey suggests the typical small business is not prepared in the event its data gets wiped out.

The survey, commissioned by software company GFI Software and conducted by research firm Opinion Matters, says more than 60 percent of small businesses do not archive emails. GFI says this lack of backup and restoration opens the door to possible data loss or the inability to find older messages in case of an audit. Losing this kind of data, can also lead to regulatory compliance issues.

Email infrastructure is quickly becoming a complex beast, and IT administrators have more factors to consider than ever before - including an increasing level of compliance standards that many are apparently unaware of, Walter Scott, chief executive of GFI Software, said in a statement.

In addition, the survey revealed 38 percent of small businesses are without email archiving all together. Sixty eight percent of the respondents were unfamiliar with U.S. regulatory compliance standards regarding email archiving. An additional 37 percent said they were required to search for old emails on a daily basis.

Critical data stored in email needs to be easily retrievable and accessible, for both day-to-day business concerns as well as for good compliance. Finally, taking the risk of not backing up or archiving key data stored in email can be a very costly gamble depending on the type of data your business is dealing with, Scott said.