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Survey: U.S. Businesses Aren't Ready For A Disaster

A Gartner study shows that a lack of money is the main reason most U.S. companies aren't ready to cope with a major natural disaster or terrorist attack.

2 Min Read

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That old saying holds particularly true in U.S. businesses' lack of preparation for a major natural disaster or terrorist attack.

A survey of more than 200 professionals involved in corporate disaster-recovery planning found that most U.S. businesses are unprepared for the damage IT systems would suffer. A lack of money is the main reason for inadequate preparation, according to the survey released Tuesday by Dataquest, a unit of high-tech researcher Gartner.

The survey found that one in three U.S. business would lose critical data or operational capability if struck by disaster. Twenty-four percent of respondents cite a lack of funds as the main reason for not having adequate recovery programs in place.

An average of 40% of respondents say budget constraints have forced them to rely on a "best guess" to determine potential risks, as opposed to investing in expensive assessments from consulting firms and other experts, Gartner analyst Tony Adams says.

Many businesses with disaster plans say the programs are in jeopardy because of a lack of funding. Thirty-seven percent of IT managers with such plans say they need more money to bring the plans to a satisfactory level.

Despite the high cost of formal assessments and of implementing a disaster-recovery plan, the repercussions from not being prepared, including disruptions in a company's ability to operate, will cost much more, Adams says. "The worst case is you have no business, so whatever the value of your revenue is, you can cross it right off," he says.

In general, people believe backing up data is sufficient preparation for a disaster. But for a business, that won't be enough.

"Backing up data doesn't guarantee you're going to be back in business," Adams says. "What if all your people end up injured or traumatized? It's the whole ecosystem of the business that has to be accounted for, not just the data."

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