Businesses are getting serious about data protection, according to IDC’s latest survey of the purpose-built backup appliance (PBBA) market.

The research firm today announced that data storage vendors generated $713.5 million in PBBA factory revenues during the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13), a 6.7 percent jump over the same period a year ago. In general, IDC describes PBBAs as standalone, disk-based products that are used as a target for backup data. In terms of disaster recovery, “PBBAs often can provide and receive replication to or from remote sites and a secondary PBBA,” explained IDC.

By every measure, it’s a definite improvement over last year’s results. PBBA factory revenues totaled $655.3 million in 3Q12, virtually unchanged from 3Q11.

The total PBBA open systems market grew slightly faster, at 6.9 percent, to reach $622.7 million in sales. However, total global backup capacity didn’t fare as well. “Total worldwide PBBA capacity shipped reached 383,153 terabytes, growing a scant 2.4 percent year over year,” said IDC.

Yet, considering the rocky global economy, PBBAs are a bright spot within the overall IT market. Research Director Robert Amatruda of IDC’s Data Protection and Recovery practice, said in a statement, “The total worldwide PBBA market continued to experience growth despite a challenging macroeconomic environment.”

Businesses seeking easy-to-deploy data protection products are increasingly turning to the technology. “PBBA solutions are being embraced by customers of all sizes as a turnkey, simplified approach to data protection and recovery,” added Amatruda.

IT storage giant EMC “maintained its lead in the overall PBBA market,” said IDC. The company claimed 64.5 percent of revenues, or $460 million (a 5.2 percent year over year gain), for the quarter.

Symantec, despite placing as a distant second, “exhibited strong year-over-year growth in the PBBA market,” reported IDC. The long-time security and backup specialist only nabbed 10.4 percent of the market in 3Q13 on $74.1 million in sales, but it grew at a rate of 65.7 percent compared to last year with the help of self-branded Backup Exec and NetBackup appliances.

Rounding out the top five are IBM (8.3 percent market share), HP (4.4 percent market share) and Quantum (2.2 percent market share). Both IBM and Quantum sustained substantial revenue drops of 14.4 percent and 13.6 percent in 3Q13, respectively.