A survey of IT organizations in North America and Europe found that 57 percent are still using tape-based systems at the core of their backup and disaster recovery strategies.

Additionally, among enterprises, some 52 percent are using physical tape backups for branch offices.

Meanwhile, the survey, conducted by enterprise data protection vendor Sepaton, found that 33 percent of respondents saw a greater than 30 percent growth of data for 2011. That’s up from 28 percent of respondents from the same time last year.

The survey polled 581 IT professionals, of which 168 met Sepaton’s criteria for enterprises — that is, they work at companies with at least 1,000 employees and oversee at least 50 TB of data, according to the survey report, which is set to be released on June 29.

“Survey results indicate a growing concern in enterprise data centers about their ability to adequately protect massive data volumes and increasingly complex environments. Large enterprises are increasingly focusing on protecting data in branch locations and in implementing more effective disaster recovery solutions,” the report said.

In order to handle burgeoning data requirements, many companies are having to deal with unplanned backup system “sprawl” as they struggle to keep up.

“Seventy percent have had to add a disk-based data protection system to scale their backup performance or capacity in the last twenty-four months … adding hours of administrative burden to IT staff,” the report added.

Among the results of this data sprawl is a growing fear that data is not being well-enough protected. In fact, 69 percent of enterprise IT professionals polled felt their organizations came up short when it came to data protection, and the majority of those identified understaffing as the main reason for the problem.

“As in the 2010 … survey, in 2011 large enterprises continue to move toward disk-based backup and away from physical tape. Companies are also planning an increased use of 10 Gb Ethernet connectivity to storage and use of onsite snapshots on NAS filers,” the report said.