IBM invests €8.6m in business continuity centre

17 Nov 2005

Computer industry giant IBM will today reveal plans for a major €8.6m in a new business continuity and recovery services data centre facility in Ireland, has learned. The facility will be based at the company’s technology campus in Mulhuddart and will draw on the company’s existing compliment of 300 support staff for expertise.

In an interview with, Tom Walsh, head of IBM Ireland Business Continuity and Recovery Services (BCRS), explained that the demand for such services is being driven by international regulatory standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2002 and Basel II regulations. “Effectively the centre will operate on a 24/7 basis and we will be conducting two to three tests a year to test client companies and their workers in terms of how they will react in the event of a disaster.”

Walsh said the business continuity service will be available for all types of organisations ranging from typical SMEs to firms with manufacturing plants and International Financial Services Centre-based international banks.

The state-of-the-art centre will provide customers with expert support, ensuring business continuity and recovery in any area of business disruption ranging from minor interruptions such as moving office to major interruptions such as a company crisis or electricity blackout. IBM now has three facilities in Ireland, two in Dublin and one in Cork.

The centre will ensure resilience for IBM’s clients not just for their technologies but for key processes and day-to-day business activities. Industry analysts estimate that disaster recovery services are worth €15m per annum in Ireland and growing.

Robin Gaddum, senior consultant with IBM’s UK BCRS, told that as well as regulatory issues, terrorism and climatic change are raising the ante in terms of demand for disaster recovery services. “A recent submission before the 9-11 Commission in the US revealed that crises occur frequently in the business world – over a five-year period there is a 40pc chance that a Global 1000 company could lose 30pc of its value within a month.”

Gaddum said climate is also a factor that firms will need to include in their lists of disasters when you consider the tSunami in Indonesia almost a year ago and the more recent flooding in New Orleans. “Climate change is a real factor in disaster palnning today. In terms of the factors that could impact Ireland, we are looking at a 10-15pc increase in the number of depressions in the North Atlantic, which translates into more storms accelerating developments such as rising sea levels, high tides, heavy rain and when you put those factors together with an ageing drainage system in Dublin, threats facing Dublin businesses alone are rising.

“A single hour of downtime at a bank could cost that bank around US$6.5m in lost trading. Testing of your reactions to any type of obstruction to your business is key. A survey by the UK Department of Trade and Industry in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that only 8pc of companies test their IT recover plan,” Gaddum concluded.

By John Kennedy