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There’s trouble on disaster recovery front

Study shows many organizations don't have clue about DR planning process

September 1, 2004  

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A recent study conducted on behalf of Veritas Software Inc. concludes that an alarming number of large organizations are woefully unprepared to respond to a major disaster.

The study, which was carried out by U.K.-based Dynamic Markets Ltd., found that of 1,259 IT professionals surveyed, only 38% of respondents have a comprehensive disaster recovery program and business continuity plans in place.

The research also revealed that only 44% of companies surveyed use data restoration or backup software.

“With backup being the most important component of a disaster recovery plan, this is an alarming statistic,” said Mark Bregman, executive vice president of product operations at Veritas, based in Mountain View, Calif.

“Replication software should be leveraged to achieve higher levels of data availability, while clustering software should be used to ensure application availability. Both technologies are vital to retrieving the critical applications of a business operation in the event of a disaster.”

The third annual survey also revealed that 92% of respondents acknowledged they would face “serious consequences” if faced with a major disruption to their IT infrastructure. The study found that while most of the disaster recovery plans currently in place cover database servers, applications, e-mail and Web servers, only 22% of companies cover mobile technologies and only 36% cover the laptop environment.

“When presented with a scenario where a fire completely destroys a company’s main data centre, an alarming 43% of global companies with DR plans in place had no idea how long it would take them to achieve skeletal operations following such an event,” the study states.

“The top five potential consequences of a disaster striking with their existing plans in place are thought to be decreased employee productivity, data loss, reduction in profits, damage to customer relationships and reduction in revenue.”

Other findings included:

Many disaster recovery plans may well be flawed simply because of the location. Only 26% have a secondary site location away from the main data centre;

If a major fire disaster was to occur, only 12% of respondents would be able to get back to 100% normal operations within 12 hours or less. A further 40% of respondents admit they are not even sure how long it would take;

The top three barriers to conducting disaster recovery tests are resources in terms of people’s time, resources in terms of budget and disruption to employees;

When it comes to defining a disaster recover strategy, the decision-making is usually made by an IT manager, and

Many companies also neglect to worry about company data held by third-party suppliers.

An estimated 28% of respondents do not even ask to see a disaster recovery plan of a third-party supplier and instead, simply assume that one exists and it is adequate.

“While there is a wide variety of opinion on which applications are a top priority to get back up and running following a disaster, three emerge as front runners,” the report stated. “Telecoms (53%), finance and accounting (53%) and security systems (50%).”

Alarming numbers from Veritas

Only 38% of respondents have a sound DR program in place.

Only 26% of those have secondary site location.

Only 44% use data restoration or backup software.