Business backup blues
from storage survey

12 Dec 2005

One third of businesses in Ireland and the UK have no backup and recovery procedures in place or don’t adhere to the policies that they have, a new survey has revealed.

Research sponsored by the storage management company EMC polled 258 large UK and Ireland private and public sector organisations. According to the findings, 33pc of respondents are failing to back up their data.

“Some fundamentals clearly need to be addressed still,” commented Nigel Ghent, EMEA North marketing manager with EMC, who said the finding was “surprising”. It is compounded by the fact that 78pc of businesses said they stored their backups in the same building or campus as their data centre.

Although secure backup and storage are considered fundamental parts of a proper IT strategy the message has clearly not filtered through to everyone. “There’s an assumption that these things were done 10 years ago, but they’re not,” said Ghent.

Elsewhere the survey results were more encouraging. Some 35pc of IT managers said they have implemented or are looking to implement data classification projects as a key technology initiative and 53pc have put in place a tiering strategy for managing specific business applications. This means storing different data on different media types depending on business requirements.

Ghent said progress in this area was satisfactory. “My instincts say if we’d asked that question two years ago it would have been much, much lower,” he said. “People are starting to think about data types; in essence, they’re applying some intelligence to the management of their information.”

Understanding what information an organisation has and classifying it accordingly can be important in helping it to more closely align its data management and its business priorities. Ghent claimed that on average, 70pc of business IT budgets are currently used up on the day-to-day management of existing technology. “30pc is spent on trying to make information add value to a business,” he said. “Information lifecycle management (ILM) takes a more proactive approach. It’s about shifting the balance 70:30 the other way – spending budgets on making information work for us and align to our business rather than just supporting the business.”

The concept of ILM involves applying intelligence to the management of information within a business. Depending on the value of the information to an organisation, it uses the most cost-effective IT tools to store and manage it. It is not a product or technology, Ghent emphasised, instead it is a combination of people, processes and technology. It is also an ongoing practice rather than a goal, he added.

Irish organisations polled for the survey actually scored higher than their UK counterparts in terms of ILM readiness. “It appears that the Irish marketplace is further along the track. Companies have adopted it and embraced it better than they have in the UK,” he said. This may be partly due to the presence of so many US multinationals among the largest organisations in Ireland, Ghent suggested.

However, the survey also showed that the biggest current priority for IT managers remains regulatory compliance. Nine out of 10 respondents said their systems need to help them to adhere to industry legislation.

The survey, which was conducted for EMC by the IT analyst firm Quocirca, polled 49 organisations in Ireland and 209 in the UK. Respondents had a range of job titles such as senior architects, IT and operations heads, and senior IT and operations managers. EMC intends to undertake this research every year to gauge the progress of customers in adopting ILM.

By Gordon Smith