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Plan B survey looks at IT disaster recovery trends

Despite over half of companies wanting to retain control of their IT disaster recovery inhouse, a lack of frequent testing is putting these businesses more at risk of IT downtime than companies which outsource. The mismatch between the high levels of confidence that in-house disaster recovery yields and the high test failure rates indicates that either testing needs to be stepped up or companies would be better to outsource.

This was one of the key findings of research carried out by Plan B, through surveying 150 contacts that attended the BCI World conference in November 2014. All contacts interviewed were within an IT function of their business, with knowledge of the disaster recovery strategy and solution for their business.

Other findings include:

  • Offsite backup and virtual standby continue to be the main disaster recovery solutions of choice. Virtual standby is now competing strongly with offsite backup solutions. The number of companies without a disaster recovery solution continues to fall. Physical standby solutions are mainly prevalent within the enterprise market. Offsite images has fallen to the lowest utilised disaster recovery solution as companies migrate from backup towards more advanced methods of IT resilience in an attempt to improve IT availability.
  • Retaining disaster recovery inhouse is still the favoured strategy, with many decision makers citing data security and compliance as strong factors in this decision.
  • A lack of time and resource is the main limitation on disaster recovery testing.
  • Of those that handle disaster recovery in-house, there is a tendency for disaster recovery and business continuity to be separate functions, with business continuity decision makers unaware of the efficiency of the disaster recovery strategy. It seems that once the business objectives are set, the performance against these objectives is rarely managed by the business continuity team. In order for companies to improve their IT resilience and reduce risk, these two departments need to work more closely together to achieve common business objectives.
  • Companies largely still regard a four hour recovery time objective as an acceptable industry standard. Instead of RTOs reducing in line with technological advancements, there has instead been a rise in companies opting to have a range of RTOs (often bringing in longer RTOs) to match recovery times to the criticality of the service. 21 percent of companies have a RTO of 24 hours or more which is a surprisingly high statistic given the cost impact of IT downtime.
  • With a third of companies testing their disaster recovery solution only yearly, there is a severe lack of testing being carried out. As the only method of certifying a disaster recovery solution, testing should be done as regularly as possible. As a guideline, testing should be carried out at least every time a change is made to a company's infrastructure. Quarterly testing should therefore be the absolute minimum frequency specified by the business. A shift in mentality towards more regular testing needs to be encouraged to reduce risk to the business of disruption caused by IT downtime.

Read the full report here (PDF)

•Date: 25th November 2014 • World •Type: Article • Topic: ICT continuity


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