Survey: alarming 45% of Enterprises with business continuity plans have invoked them

By | March 21, 2006

21st March 2006—SteelEye Technology, Inc., the leading provider of data and application availability management solutions for business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery on Linux and Windows, today released a preview of results from its forthcoming market survey, the SteelEye Technology Business Continuity Index, deployed in conjunction with Continuity Central. Top-level findings show that despite both growing industry-wide adoption of formalised BC plans (73%) and a startling percentage of organisations that have needed to invoke those plans (45%), many organisations still fall short in their preparedness for an IT disaster.

Respondents to the international survey reported that on average, they have less than 48 hours to correct outages before the downtime becomes a potentially fatal issue for their organisations, with the largest slice of organisations (32%) reporting anything more than four hours of outage as disastrous.

Despite this narrow window, 19% of organisations have no plan whatsoever for assuring business continuity, with these enterprises most often blaming cost as the key barrier. But the survey also showed that the biggest slice of organisations (40%) spends less than $100,000 per year on their BC initiatives.

“This research clearly demonstrates that a good business continuity plan is by no stretch reserved for organisations with huge budgets – there are many affordable options,” noted Bob Williamson, Vice President for SteelEye Technology. “And when you consider how many organisations actually use their BC plan, and that any company without one could be just a day or two from a ‘fatal issue,’ the real costs for business continuity assurance begin to look miniscule.”

Among the more encouraging findings released were those that showed not only that 73% of organisations have formalised BC plans in place, but also that 87% of those plans include a remote disaster recovery site as a failover option.

Yet even organisations with a plan may be slow to adopt best practices associated with business continuity assurance.

For example, although 95% of organisations test their BC plans at least annually, organisations that have needed to invoke their BC plans test their plans more than twice as often as those who have not yet encountered a potential disaster (19 times per year vs. nine). This suggests that many organisations seriously underestimate the likelihood of a disaster, and that only once they experience a threat do they prioritise testing as a regular practice.

As well, while a strong majority (65%) of organisations with BC plans have implemented an automated data replication solution between their primary and disaster recovery sites, the majority (54%) have not yet implemented an automated failover cluster solution, seen by experts as another key component in a comprehensive business continuity plan.

“There is no doubt that companies are more aware than ever before about the importance of business continuity assurance,” added Bob Williamson. “But we think this survey also uncovers several areas where perceptions of the barriers for making it happen are a bit skewed and where even enlightened IT teams need to adopt better practices. That said, we are pleased to bring these findings to light as part of SteelEye’s ongoing effort to help educate the market.”

Answered by both C-level executives and IT technicians with active roles in their organisations’ business continuity strategies, the survey examines adoption levels of various server technologies, delves into priorities and costs for implementing BC initiatives and provides a view into common BC practices.

SteelEye’s flagship product, LifeKeeper, provides LAN and WAN-based, end-to-end protection of critical resources and enables companies of all sizes to ensure continuous availability of business-critical applications, servers and data. Viewed by industry experts as best in class, the product most recently garnered LinuxWorld’s 2005 Product Excellence Award for Best Clustering Solution. SteelEye is today exhibiting its solution for Continuous Data Protection at the 2006 Business Continuity and Corporate Security Show in New York City.

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