Disaster recovery : are you prepared?

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Disaster recovery : are you prepared?

How highly do IT and data loss issues rank in your risk management and business continuity plans?

The Australian business community is staggeringly unprepared to recover lost data and systems in the event of a disaster, raising serious questions about the scope of current business continuity practices.

These are the findings of recently released research, which has found that a worrying 81% of businesses in the Asia Pacific region (70% in Australia) are not confident that they can recover lost data and systems after disaster strikes.

The Disaster Recovery Survey 2012: Asia Pacific and Japan report, sponsored by EMC and carried out by independent research company Vanson Bourne, questioned 2,500 organisations in the region (including 250 in Australia) and found that:

a. 81% of organisations are not very confident that they can fully recover after a disaster (70% in Australia).

b. 71% have lost data and/or suffered systems downtime in the last year (72% in Australia).

c. Hardware failure (60% in Asia Pacific, 62% in Australia), data corruption (49%) and loss of power (44%) were cited as the primary causes of data loss and downtime.

d. 42% of organisations cite loss of employee productivity as the most likely consequence of data loss and downtime (49% in Australia).

e. 44% of organisations who store a backup copy offsite for disaster recovery still use tape for recovery, and 37% still use CD ROM (although 62% now use disk-based storage).

f. 83% of these organisations want to replace tape all together.

Interestingly the report claims that data loss is more likely to occur as a result of an IT problem than a natural disaster, highlighting the increasing IT threats that organisations need to consider when setting their risk management agendas.

Only 20% of respondents cited natural disaster as a cause of systems downtime or data loss, while 17% pointed the finger at employee sabotage. Meanwhile, hardware failure (60%), data corruption (49%) and loss of power (44%) were tagged as the top three causes.

“The research has shown that the causes of systems downtime are often the commonplace disruptions to IT, such as hardware failure or data corruption, rather than natural disasters or other major incidents,” says the report.

Almost one-third of respondents (31%) felt that their business did not spend enough on backup and recovery, while 60% reviewed and changed their procedures in response to an incident and 51% increased their spending after a disaster.

Economic impacts

In terms of the measurable economic impacts of systems downtime, loss of employee productivity took the top spot among respondents (42%), followed by loss of revenue (40%) and delay in product/service development (39%).

With loss of revenue being rated as a major consequence of systems downtime, the report highlights the failure of many companies to protect essential customer data. It was found that 61% of organisations did not have a disaster recovery plan for their customer relationship management (CRM) systems, while only 27% who do have a disaster recovery plan for their applications would require their CRM applications to be up and running as a number one priority following systems downtime.

“Asia Pacific and Japan, along with the rest of the world, is facing uncertain economic times. Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever for businesses to ensure that they are protected against systems downtime and data loss or they are to withstand the damaging effects of loss of productivity and revenue,” said Shane Moore, director backup and recovery system, EMC.

Insurance consequences

The report notes that many organisations are unaware of the insurance premium benefits that can be gained by implementing a disaster recovery plan: Thirty-three per cent of organisations were unaware of whether their insurance provider offered such reduced premiums (or had never considered this opportunity), while only 39% had been offered reduced premiums according to the strength of their IT systems backup/disaster recovery strategy.

Furthermore, the report claims that 55% of companies across the region are obliged by either insurance policies or regulatory requirements to have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Other findings included:

i. 44% of organisations still rely on tape for backup and disaster recovery purposes (58% in Australia).

ii. Organisations in the region spend on average more than $US58,821 (including transportation, storage, test and replacement of tape) for the purposes of offsite disaster recovery.

iii. 37% of companies rely on out-dated CD-ROM for backup storage.

iv. 14% of organisations have an employee take a copy of their backup home with them for safekeeping.

v. 62% of businesses in the region are already using modern disk-based backup and recovery solutions (61% in Australia). This trend looks set to increase, with 83% of tape-using organisations looking to move beyond tape (84% in Australia).

Action Plan :

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