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Disaster Recovery Planning Grows, Slowly

Banks may be prepared for disaster, but most companies aren't.

The good news is that more companies are taking seriously the need to plan for disaster recovery. The bad news is that only 38 percent have any kind of plan in place to keep them operating in the event of a disaster or disruption, according to a Veritas-sponsored survey conducted by Dynamic Markets Ltd.

The survey sample consisted of 1,258 IT professionals from around the world.

Enterprises and end-user organizations have plenty of incentive to plan for disasters and business disruptions. According to the survey, 51 percent had to activate their DR plans this year, compared with 33 percent in 2003. The most common reason for activating DR -- problems with hardware or software failures -- was reported by 37 percent of respondents. But companies also reported external threats like viruses and hackers (26 percent); natural disasters (14 percent); internal threats, whether accidental or intentional (13 percent); and man-made disasters such as war or terrorism (10 percent).

In addition, 40 percent of respondents said they had no idea how long it would take to achieve normal or even skeletal operations in the wake of some kind of natural disaster destroying their data center. Only 3 percent said they could carry on with business as usual right away, while 28 percent said they could resume skeletal operations in less than 12 hours. And it takes companies more than 72 hours on average to establish skeletal operations following a major fire.

The potential business impact from a disaster included reduced employee productivity (62 percent), reduction in profits (40 percent) and damage to customer relationships (38 percent). And only 44 percent use some kind of data restoration or backup software for DR purposes, Veritas said.

Article originally appeared in Storage Pipeline, Sept. 14, 2004.

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