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Business attitudes to disaster recovery

Quorum has released results from its first disaster recovery survey. The survey, which comprised questions posted to Survey Monkey and SpiceWorks, polled 169 IT professionals from small, mid-sized and large businesses in various vertical markets.

Key findings from the survey included:

  • Almost 50 percent of respondents indicated their companies have a hardware-based data backup system in place; 40.9 percent have a hardware-based recovery system in place.
  • A natural disaster is considered the primary cause of system downtime, according to 33.8 percent (the majority) of respondents.
  • More than 67 percent claimed they would feel comfortable erasing their company's critical data and restoring it from a backup.
  • The majority of respondents (42.9 percent) say they test their system's functionality and capabilities once a quarter; 21.4 percent never test their system.
  • Forty-five percent believe their company would lose anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 in one hour of downtime (during peak activity).

If IT spend is any indication, disaster recovery is still a focus for businesses. Almost 50 percent of respondents indicated 11 percent to 25 percent of their companies' IT budget is allocated to disaster recovery this year. No doubt, stories of system downtime caused by hurricanes and tornadoes have driven this at least in part. And, in fact, the majority of respondents (33.8 percent) indicated that they believe natural disasters are the most common cause of IT downtime (followed by human error at 24.8 percent, software error or maintenance at 21.7 percent, and hardware failure at 19.7 percent). However, a recent study showed that human error and changes in hardware, software or systems are more likely to cause system downtime than any hurricane or tornado.

Respondents to this survey were very clear about their tendency toward hardware-based systems, whether for data backup or recovery of data, systems and applications. The survey tallied 48.4 percent of respondents' companies using hardware-based data backup systems, with cloud-based systems trailing at 27.7 percent. Twenty-two percent of respondents' companies rely on hybrid systems and 1.9 percent have no backup system in place at all.

Similarly, the majority of respondents (40.9 percent) have a hardware-based recovery system in place. But for this question, hybrid systems inch ahead of cloud-based systems (27 percent vs. 26.4 percent), while 5.7 percent have no recovery system in place. The majority of those using a backup and/or recovery system have infinite confidence in their solution: 67.9 percent would feel just fine erasing their data, knowing it can be restored from a backup.

Comments gathered from SpiceWorks provided valuable insight into industry opinions and best practices in testing. For example, when asked if they test regularly, respondents' answers varied from weekly to monthly to yearly. However, regardless of how often each respondent tests, the overarching sentiment was that testing regularly is a necessity. One respondent wrote, "...if you don't test, how will you know whether it will work when [a disaster strikes]?"

Results from Survey Monkey supported this, with 75.3 percent of respondents indicating they have a system in place to monitor and test IT infrastructure, backup and DRaaS solutions. However, only 26 percent test once a week. The majority (42.9 percent) tests once a quarter. Almost 10 percent test once a year. Surprisingly, a whopping 21.4 percent never test their system's functionality and capabilities.


•Date: 30th October 2013 • US/World •Type: Article • Topic: ICT continuity

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