Businesses Brace For Disruptions

Martin Garvey, Contributor

October 15, 2004

3 Min Read

Companies nationwide quickly took stock of disaster-preparedness procedures after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Are companies as vigilant today about business continuity as they were 36 months ago? An InformationWeek Research study suggests they are.

Disaster preparedness remains top of mind for managers and IT workers, according to our latest Evolving IT Priorities report, a quarterly study that tracks changes to technology and business initiatives. Of 300 business-technology executives surveyed in September, three-quarters say that their IT organizations are committed to supporting, implementing, and improving disaster-recovery processes in the fourth quarter of the year.

chartLarge companies with extensive business and data operations have long moved proprietary information to tape storage, even handing off the data to third parties for safekeeping. But smaller companies haven't always been able to afford the services of third-party support.

Fortunately, vendors are starting to offer low-cost software for backup and recovery that operates automatically. Business-continuity-services provider SunGard leases time on systems run inside disaster-recovery centers to help smaller companies stay running. There's a market, as small and midsize businesses in the study say that being prepared for business interruptions is a fourth-quarter objective.

The survey data shows that commitment to business-continuity planning remains strong. About two-thirds of 300 companies surveyed a year after 9/11 reported that planning for recovering from downtime--whether caused human error, weather, or some other issue--was an IT imperative. Two years later, three in four say recovery preparedness is a priority.

If your disaster-recovery strategies have been tested lately, we'd like to hear about it.

Martin J. Garvey, Senior Editor [email protected]

Widespread Focus
Has your IT department implemented business-continuity planning or improved disaster preparedness in 2004?

Seventy-one percent of small and 73% of midsize companies in InformationWeek Research's IT Priorities study have made business-continuity planning a priority. In comparison, 80% of companies with annual revenue of $1 billion or more say disaster preparedness is a fourth-quarter concern.

Continuity Over Risk
Is your IT department implementing, supporting, or improving business-continuity planning or risk-management processes?

Understanding the range of events that could result in business interruptions might help companies better prepare for disaster recovery. However, business-continuity planning takes precedence over risk-management reviews among the sites surveyed by InformationWeek Research.

Three quarters of the study's 300 sites report IT will work toward improving disaster readiness in the last quarter of the year, while two-thirds expect IT workers to help develop risk-management processes.

Expanded Reach
Is remote-access software on your IT department's planned-projects list?

To keep business operations flowing and worker inconvenience to a minimum, many New York companies permitted personnel to work from home the week the Republican National Convention was in Manhattan in August. Allowing for such flexibility and having the processes in place isn't uncommon. Nearly two-thirds of companies in InformationWeek Research's IT Priorities study report remote-access software is on their IT departments' planned-projects list for the remaining quarter of 2004.

Size Commitment
Does your IT department's planned-projects list include remote-access software?

Commitment to remote-access software varies according to company revenue based on the sites polled by InformationWeek Research. Of the nearly 100 companies with annual revenue up to $100 million, almost three-quarters report remote-access software is on their IT departments' planned-projects list for the remaining months of the year. In comparison, three in five sites with revenue of $100 million or more will invest IT dollars and talent toward remote access.

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