C-level managers paying closer attention to disaster recovery

1 Jul 2009

Some 44pc of all disaster recovery (DR) strategies are being watched over by the careful eye of CEOs and DR committees, compared with 40pc of CIOs and CTOs, because of fear spread by malicious virus attacks.

Symantec’s 2009 Disaster Recover Report has highlighted how the vast increase in malicious threats has driven DR planning up the agenda of both CIOs and CEOs.

The research, undertaken in June, has highlighted how 63pc of organisations were prompted to put a DR plan in place due to the threat of virus attacks, followed closely by potential natural disasters (53pc).

One of the most interesting statistics within the report shows how over 40pc of DR plans are now lead by the CIO or CTO, with 44pc being watched over by the careful eye of the CEO through a DR committee – a doubling in senior executive involvement from 2008.

According to Symantec, the increased involvement by executives is due to the significant cost of downtime and the importance of IT to business – as proven by the increase in the range of applications considered mission critical and their more stringent IT service level requirements.

With 93pc of companies having to execute on their DR plans, testing has never been such an important issue. With the median cost of executing/implementing DR plans for each downtime incident worldwide standing at US$500,000, it is clear that testing has to be a priority, but undertaken in a way that has minimal effect on business operations.

With people and processes being cited as the main reasons tests fail, automation will be a key trend moving forwards.

This year, 35pc of respondents reported that they test their DR plans only once a year or less frequently – a 12pc improvement from last year.

However, with one in four tests failing, it is clear there is a dramatic need for improvement. Reasons most respondents cited for why organisations were not testing included:

  • Lack of resources in terms of people’s time (48pc)
  • Disruption to employees (44pc)
  • Budget (44pc)
  • Disruption to customers (40pc)

“While the research identifies a significant improvement in terms of executive involvement, shorter recovery times and increased successful testing, we are troubled that some areas – including the impact of testing on customers and the backing up of virtual environments – have not improved or have even worsened,” said Darren Thomson, senior technical director, Symantec.  

“Organisations shouldn’t let DR testing cause significant downtime, especially when there are solutions available to address this.”

By John Kennedy