Businesses today survive on information. There is an increasing emphasis on information and applications to do everything from communicating with customers, work remotely, treat patients, sell products and more. But we also see increasingly numerous threats to uptime, not just in the form of natural disasters, but also in physical infrastructure vulnerabilities, rising security threats or just human error.
Research firm IDC has found three big realities in today’s business continuity landscape:
— Disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) are consistently rated among the top concerns for CIOs and CEOs.
— DR and BC practices are being audited and tested more frequently.
— Many companies, especially financial service firms, are promoting greater exposure to their DR policies. They are publishing them externally for customers and key stakeholders to review as part of standard operating procedures.
All of these trends are with good cause. IDC found that 71% of U.S. businesses in a recent survey experienced less than 10 hours of downtime per year. While that may not sound like a lot, the implications in terms of financial impact can be significant. Projecting forward the annual costs for those 10 hours of unplanned downtime, an SMB could see up to $125,000 in economic impact. For an enterprise? As much as $17 million.
Disaster recovery testing can go a long way to assuage executive concerns about IT resiliency and ensure that systems are, in fact, ready for any unplanned outage. In the past, DR testing was done annually, at best, even by the largest firms. But today, an optimal scenario has disaster recovery testing occurring regularly and, ideally, several times per year.
IDC found that, of firms with fewer than 100 employees, 35% are never testing their plans. 41% of midsize firms (up to 1,000 employees) are testing their plans once per year. And, of large firms (1,000 – 5,000 employees), 52% test their plans more than once per year, sometimes semi-annually, or even more often. Of course, there is still room for improvement among each group. The point of these tests is to uncover vulnerabilities, to correct those vulnerabilities, and to possibly lead to upgrades in technology to improve upon recovery objectives.
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