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IDG Research Survey Finds Increased Demands for Disaster Recovery and Information Availability


According to a new IDG Research Services study, CIOs and CSOs are facing increasing pressure to improve their disaster recovery plans and reduce recovery time objectives (RTOs). Sponsored by SunGard® Availability Services, a provider of information availability solutions and managed services, the IDG Research Services study surveyed 215 CIO and CSO magazine subscribers to uncover trends in continuity planning and testing initiatives.

More than half (61%) of the respondents indicated they are either not very, not at all, or only somewhat confident in their company’s preparedness for a disaster. Those surveyed gave their organization an average grade of C+/B- for various components of their business continuity plans. At the same time, nearly half (46%) of the respondents report their company currently has an RTO of less than 12 hours, and nearly one quarter expect these recovery windows to decrease even further in the coming year.

“Those responsible for business continuity planning, generally IT leaders, are under increasing pressure to recover from disruptions of all kinds – whether natural or man-made – more quickly,” said David Palermo, vice president of marketing for SunGard Availability Services. “In responding to a disruption, you either pass or fail – so a company with even a few flaws in their recovery plan may not be equipped to recover and meet today’s RTOs.”

When asked to identify the components they find most challenging about business continuity planning, respondents most often cited funding and people (24% and 20%, respectively), followed by management sponsorship (12%), testing (9%) and infrastructure/facilities (7%). This may directly point to the business side’s unwillingness to provide the necessary resources to support successful programs.

“The business side wants disaster recovery times to shrink because they understand downtime impacts the bottom-line, but they can be unwilling to provide the necessary resources – both in people and funding – to make the targets achievable,” said Mr. Palermo. “Business and IT executives must be on the same page in order to help improve success rates for recovering from disruptions.”

IDG Research Services also uncovered an alarming percentage of respondents whose companies do not test their plans often enough for them to be most effective during a disruption. A total of 80% indicated that they test their disaster recovery plans annually or less often. In the past, annual testing may have been sufficient to accommodate changes in business processes; however, today, companies are facing ever-increasing, nearly constant change to mission-critical processes and systems, from staff updates to alterations in hardware and software – sometimes daily. As a result, business continuity plans become outdated much more quickly than in the past. Companies can address this issue by moving to more frequent updates of their plans.

"This research underscores the importance of comprehensive business continuity planning at enterprise organizations,” said Janet King, vice president of IDG Research Services. “Frequent testing should be considered a necessity in order to accommodate ongoing changes in business processes and IT infrastructure.”


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