AT&T Survey Finds Dallas/Fort Worth Businesses Not Prepared for Disasters
Thirty-Five Percent of Area Businesses Still Do Not Test Contingency Plans Regularly
Dallas, Texas, February 13, 2006, A report released today by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) finds that despite the hard lessons learned from last year’s hurricane season, 31 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth businesses surveyed still do not view business-continuity planning as a priority. Although local businesses do rank among the nation’s most prepared to face disasters, improvements in contingency prioritization, testing and planning need to happen before the region is ready to face emerging threats including drought-fueled wildfires, tornadoes and ice storms.
The report, “Disaster Planning in the Private Sector: A Look at the State of Business Continuity in the U.S.,” surveyed 100 executives in January 2006 with direct business-continuity-planning responsibilities for Dallas/Fort Worth companies with annual revenues of $25 million or more. The report was issued concurrent with AT&T’s Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) exercise, which is taking place in Dallas this week.
About one in four companies surveyed (24 percent) have suffered from a disaster. The most common disasters suffered were blackouts (54 percent) and cyberattacks (46 percent). Because of the proximity to New Orleans, about one-fourth of Dallas/Fort Worth companies (25 percent) that have suffered a disaster said that their company was affected by Hurricane Katrina. About three out of five companies surveyed that suffered a disaster lost money because of it (58 percent), generally less than $100,000 a day (33 percent); although, 21 percent stated that it cost their organization $100,000 to $499,999 a day.
While having a business-continuity plan in place is vital for any company, periodic updating and testing of the plan is necessary to ensure preparedness. Although nine out of 10 Dallas/Fort Worth companies (89 percent) that have a business-continuity plan have updated their plan in the past year, only 65 percent have fully tested their plan in the same time period.
“Metroplex businesses are setting an excellent example with eight in 10 companies surveyed having a plan, but much more needs to be done,” said Christopher Roy, AT&T’s Sales Center vice president in Dallas. “Making business continuity a priority is the first step. A solid plan then needs to be implemented and, most important, updated and tested every six months.”
In today’s workplace, a disruption in essential network infrastructures can easily lead to the collapse of vital business processes. The report found that the majority of Dallas/Fort Worth businesses (73 percent) have implemented Internet security measures, such as firewalls, intrusion detection, hacker protection and/or password authentication. Sixty-six percent have established redundant servers and/or backup sites or in the event of a disaster. Forty-three percent have contracted with a service provider for outsourcing, and another 6 percent plan to in the next six months.
Upon hearing a list of 10 possible cybersecurity threats, Dallas/Fort Worth company executives surveyed strongly agreed that the most significant threat to companies like their own, is viruses and worms (38 percent), finishing far ahead of hackers (13 percent) or internal accidents (13 percent). Incorporating cybersecurity in conjunction with the regular testing and updating of a plan will go a long way toward securing the preparedness of a company.
Nationally, more than 1,200 executives from companies with more than $10 million in annual revenues were interviewed for “Disaster Planning in the Private Sector: A Look at the State of Business Continuity in the U.S.” For the full survey results, visit http://www.att.com/presskit/ndr/.
Results are based upon 100 telephone interviews conducted by Opinion Research Corporation among officers at companies with annual revenue of $25 million or more in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that have responsibility at their organization for business-continuity planning, particularly when it comes to communications, websites, information technology and data networking. Interviews were conducted January 17-February 1, 2006.
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