Improving disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities is the No. 1 concern among IT decision makers at small and medium-sized businesses for the next 12 months, a recent Forrester Research survey has found.

Even at large enterprises with sizeable investments in disaster recovery it remains an area cited for improvement, with IT decision makers in big organizations ranking it as their second highest concern.

Forrester noted that trying to convince senior executives of the need to invest in disaster recovery and business continuity projects has been a tough sell in recent years, with the economic downturn keeping a lid on IT budgets. However, it said IT managers are getting much better at identifying, measuring, and quantifying risk, which has helped in pressing their case.

“It’s much more likely that a CIO or other executive will approve a budget for a BC/DR upgrade if you can explain that in the next five years there is a 20% probability that a severe winter storm will knock out power to the data center and cost $500,000 in lost revenue and employee productivity,” Forrester analyst Stephanie Balaouras said in a report.

In addition to being able to put forward a stronger case, Balaouras pointed to several other factors leading to the increased focus on disaster recovery and business continuity:

  • Organizations have a better understanding of the economic impact of disasters and events.
  • New government and industry regulations have mandated action. Forrester noted that following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, at least 22 worldwide government or industry regulations have been enacted that address business continuity and disaster recovery in some shape or form.
  • Partners and customers are requiring more accountability. In a recent Forrester study almost 80% of companies surveyed said they had to provide proof of their disaster readiness to at least one – and often more – external parties.
  • There is less tolerance for downtime and data loss.

In order to help sell investments in disaster recovery and business continuity to senior executives Forrester recommends using real-life catastrophes as proof points. Use such examples as the recent Hurricane Earl to run a scenario on how your organization may have fared to demonstrate weaknesses.



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