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Research Reveals IT Departments are Unprepared for Disaster

Published
  • September 15 2004, 1:00am EDT

VERITAS Software reported new research findings reveal that 43 percent of organizations worldwide remain largely unprepared to respond to a major disaster.  The third annual study conducted by UK-based Dynamic Markets Ltd., surveyed 1,259 IT professionals around the world and found that only 38 percent of respondents claimed to have comprehensive, integrated disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place, in spite of the fact that 92 percent acknowledged that serious consequences would result if they were faced with a major disruption to their IT infrastructure.

Compared to the results of the 2003 survey, the frequency of disaster recovery execution has increased significantly, with 51 percent indicating they had to execute on their disaster recovery plans compared to 33 percent in the previous year.  This implies that 18 percent (almost 1 in 5 companies) have implemented their DR plan for the first time in the last 12 months.  The most common reason cited resulted from failures across computing systems associated with hardware or software failures (37 percent), but other reasons included:

  • External computer threats including viruses and hackers (26 percent)
  • Natural disasters such as fire or floods (14 percent)
  • Internal computer threats including accidental or malicious employee behavior (13 percent)
  • Man-made disasters such as war or terrorism (10 percent)

When presented with a scenario where a natural disaster completely destroyed the company's primary data center, more than 40 percent had no idea how long it would take to achieve normal operations or even skeletal operations.  Just three percent felt they could carry on with business as usual immediately, and only 28 percent believed they could resume skeletal operations within less than 12 hours.  According to the research results, the average time it takes for companies to establish skeletal operations following a major fire disaster is more than 72 hours. 

The potential business impact resulting from a disaster included reduced employee productivity (62 percent), reduction in profits (40 percent) and damage to customer relationships (38 percent).The research also revealed that only 44 percent of companies surveyed use data restoration or backup software for disaster recovery purposes. 

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