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The European Disaster Recovery Survey 2011

EMC Corporation has published the results of the EMC-sponsored European Disaster Recovery Survey 2011 which found that 74 percent of European companies are not very confident that they can fully recover systems or data and that more than half of all organizations (54 percent) lost data or suffered systems downtime in the last 12 months.

Commissioned by EMC and researched by independent research company Vanson Bourne, the report looks at the state of backup and disaster recovery in Europe to understand how well companies are poised in case of data loss and systems downtime.

Survey findings:

-Disruption is more likely from an IT problem than a natural disaster
The research showed that it is not the extraordinary that creates problems. The three most common causes of data loss and downtime are:

  • Hardware failure: 61 percent
  • Power failure: 42 percent
  • Data corruption: 35 percent.

This is in comparison to only 7 percent of systems downtime or data loss cited from a natural disaster and only 8 percent attributed to employee sabotage. Regardless of the cause, 44 percent of organizations reviewed and changed their procedures for backup and recovery in response to an incident. Furthermore, 27 percent of businesses increased their spending on backup and recovery after a disaster.

Economic impacts: Lost revenue attributed to systems downtime
The study identified that there are measureable business impacts from systems downtime, with the top three cited as:

  • Loss of employees’ productivity: 43 percent
  • Loss of revenue: 29 percent
  • Delay in product development: 27 percent.

Systems failure resulted on average in two lost working days for the businesses in the survey. This is the equivalent of 28,391 man-hours for a company employing approximately 2,000 employees.

Across Europe, 49 percent of companies are obligated by either insurance policies or regulatory requirements to have a disaster recovery plan. However, with the right backup and disaster recovery approach, companies can achieve cost-savings from insurers. Just over a quarter of the organizations surveyed were offered reduced premiums by their insurance provider depending on their IT systems backup/disaster recovery strategy.

Unravelling tape: 40 percent still depend on tape but the majority are looking to replace it
The research found that businesses are spending, on average, 10 percent of their IT budgets on backup and recovery, and 29 percent of businesses do not feel they are spending enough. For backup and disaster recovery purposes, 40 percent of companies still rely on tape, with an average annual cost of €74,000 on transporting, storing, testing and replacing tapes. Where tape is used for disaster recovery purposes, 10 percent still have an employee take home a copy of the backup tapes with them.
Overall, 80 percent of organizations using tape are looking to move beyond it, with the top reasons cited as:

  • Speed of restoration 39 percent
  • Faster backups 33 percent
  • Lack of durability 26 percent.

Preparedness for routine disruption or more significant incidence starts with a next generation backup approach. The survey shows a reaction after a disaster to spend more on backup and recovery, but the damage is done in terms of time and money during a downtime. Raising visibility for the most common problems facing companies today and the associated economic consequences, organizations can proactively review their own strategies for backup and recovery to ensure they can meet business requirements.

Survey methodology
For the European Disaster Recovery Survey 2011 Vanson Bourne interviewed 1,750 IT decision-makers in private and public sector organizations across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux and Russia. Each organization ranged between 250 and 3000-plus employees and represented a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, financial services and telecoms, among others.

More information on the survey.

Reader comment

The recent European Disaster Recovery survey 2011, conducted by EMC highlights the prevalence of companies that lack a robust disaster recovery strategy, with 54 percent of those surveyed suffering data loss and system downtime within the last year. Surprisingly, the usual cause of down-time is merely hardware failure, rather than the popular notions of natural disasters or sabotage.

Adopting a basic approach to disaster recovery can be tempting, especially when the IT budget is tightened. However, as with most aspects of business IT, low cost does often not equate to value and a return on investment should the worse occur. Those savings made in running IT systems with so-called ‘better value’ solutions will be short-lived should the business experience an IT failure and is left unsupported in the midst of a crisis.

Instead of merely choosing the cheapest IT solution and hoping for the best, it is time for businesses to make intelligent IT choices to implement effective disaster recovery. Key decisions on the specific requirements of the company need addressing to create a tailor-made strategy that is appropriate for the business in question.

Priority needs to be given to those IT systems which are crucial to productivity, whether email and internet access, access to the financial systems, or data storage and retrieval. A back-up plan is not merely a case of mirroring the entire current system. By prioritising the specific IT systems critical to business productivity and understanding the necessary time limits on getting those systems running, an effective plan can be implemented that reduces down-time and associated costs in the event of any failure. Once a plan is in place, running regular testing is paramount as new applications and systems are added, as well as defining who has overall responsibility for the company’s DR strategy. By making carefully considered choices on which IT systems should be prioritised in a crisis and selecting the right suppliers/solutions to deliver the specific business requirements, there is no reason why businesses need become part of the 54percent statistic.

Richard Barker
Sovereign Business Integration

•Date: 25th November 2011 • Region: UK/Europe •Type: Article • Topic: BC statistics

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