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Preparation for IT Disaster Recovery

Preparation for IT Disaster Recovery
July 18, 2017 / Scott Kinka

As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series, Evolve IP recently conducted an IT disaster recovery survey and uncovered some very interesting data. This survey of 500+ C-level executives and IT professionals investigated respondent organization’s experience with outages and related incidents as well as IT disaster recovery plan contents. As you might expect, with risks growing every day, technology professionals are more concerned than ever. Some of the questioning we did drove directly at the issue of preparedness. We wanted to understand how organizations are feeling in the current environment and what types of steps they’re taking to feel better protected. We’ll take a detailed look at three of the key preparedness questions and the related findings.

How Prepared Are You?

The results of our 2016 IT disaster recovery survey revealed an alarming disconnect between C-level executives and IT professionals when it came to how prepared their organization was to truly handle a disaster. While nearly 70 percent of C-level executives feel their organization is very prepared to recover from a disaster, less than half of IT pros at those same organizations shared this view! The survey also uncovered how compliance requirements, and the use of hosted solutions, contributed to an organization’s overall confidence in its IT disaster recovery capabilities.

Which Industries Are Most Prepared?

The survey further revealed which industries and verticals feel most prepared for a potential disaster. According to the 500+ survey respondents, 67 percent of those in banking, 58 percent in the government sector and 55 percent at technology companies feel very prepared to recover IT assets should disaster strike.

Interestingly, despite their aggressive compliance requirements, just over half of respondents at healthcare organizations feel very prepared to recover from an outage or incident. We believe there are a couple of explanations as to why respondents in healthcare felt this way. First of all, 18 percent of healthcare organizations are relying on public cloud for their IT disaster recovery. With regular public cloud outages in the news this group is predictably nervous. Additionally, one third of healthcare companies are still using backup tapes, and nearly 47 percent are using a secondary mirror site. Lastly, five in 10 healthcare respondents report feeling that their budget is underfunded, which is 11.5 points higher than the average for all respondents to the survey (37.5 percent).

IT disaster recovery efforts in the education and manufacturing fields also appear to be lagging. Only 38 percent of those in the education space feel very prepared to handle a disaster and just 35 percent of manufacturing firms feel the same. The manufacturing field is also adopting newer technologies more slowly than other industries with over half of those surveyed acknowledging they are still relying on backup tape drives.

What Makes IT Professionals Feel Prepared?

Our research revealed factors that influence IT professionals when it comes to feeling “very prepared” for a potential event. The first of these was having established IT disaster recovery compliance requirements. Organizations with clearly defined compliance requirements tend to be more confident in their ability to recover from a disaster, largely because they were forced to address the issue. The second factor pertained to hosted solutions, with IT professionals feeling more assured if they use Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and / or a managed service provider (MSP) environment. Leveraging DRaaS, which provides near real-time recovery of IT assets via the cloud, increased confidence by 17.5 points. While moving IT infrastructure offsite by deploying a managed service provider environment increased confidence by 22 points.

DRaaS, unlike backup legacy solutions, enables near real-time IT disaster recovery by restoring assets in the cloud. Not surprisingly, awareness of DRaaS among those polled has increased since 2014. In fact, 67.5 percent of those surveyed were familiar with DRaaS in this survey, representing an 8.5 percent increase from our 2014 survey. However, there is an awareness gap between IT professionals and C-level executives with 7 in 10 IT professionals familiar with the technology, compared to just 5 in 10 executives. This awareness gap of the benefits of the service, means many professionals seeking to implement IT disaster recovery solutions need to begin educating their executives before gaining budget approvals for their efforts.

In Part 3, I’ll review survey findings related to data hygiene and learn what impact disasters and outages are having.

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