Pan-European traders unprepared for disaster

Board-level responsibility for disaster recovery applied in only 12% of the 669 businesses contacted, in a survey, conducted by Macarther Stroud on behalf of storage vendor Veritas.

For nearly half the companies, the responsibility for disaster recovery planning lay with the departmental manager. This contrasts starkly with the 90% of chief executives being directly involved in a recent survey of US companies.

And 17% of the organisations, all of whom had 500 or more employees, across all industries, had no DR plan at all – though for the UK this was only 9%.

In addition, 45% of those with a plan had not reviewed it in the past 12 months, 12% not in two years and 2% not at all.

‘This is particularly alarming when you consider that IT infrastructure is changing on a monthly basis,’ said Jason Phippen, Veritas’ head of solutions and services marketing for Europe. ‘Lack of education and awareness [of disaster recovery] is putting the company’s most valuable assets at risk.’

Reasons for not having a plan included: ‘The board is not prepared to provide financial backing’, ‘backups are all that is required’ and ‘there is not a great enough risk’.

Figures from analyst Gartner show that around 40% of companies who suffer a major disaster have failed to survive the next five years.

According to the survey over half the companies surveyed experienced unplanned downtime at least once per quarter. Downtime can run to more than £1m per hour, for instance for businesses relying on on-line web-based trade.

Analyst IDC has predicted that there will be 20.1 million mobile workers across Europe by 2005 while Gartner estimated 10 per cent of laptops are stolen and 15% suffer hardware failure each year.

If this is put with another IDC estimate – that 80% of data is held on PCs – the need to protect data against failure right down to laptop level is obvious, according to Phippen.

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