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The majority of organizations don’t have an adequate backup and disaster recovery plan, according to a recent CanadianCIO task force report.

The IT Professionals surveyed admitted that they are not prepared for a disaster, and have been living with the precarious situation for some time. Many said they have only a rudimentary set of procedures in place, but that no large-scale simulations have taken place to test their readiness.

These results are concerning, said Jim Love, ITWC CIO. “If you want to sleep at night, you need to take steps to make sure your data is protected.”

The Price of a Disaster

Three-quarters of those surveyed for Backup and Disaster Recovery Planning, said they had already experienced a disaster, citing incidents such as a building fire, major downtime, and being without email for a week. Key causes of disasters include power loss, fire, water damage, heating and cooling issues and failing to upgrade equipment. Ransomware attacks, where data is encrypted until a ransom is paid, is now a commonplace problem as well.

Yet, despite having experienced a disaster or a close call, survey respondents confirmed that most organizations don’t take into account the cost of a disaster.

According to a recent Aberdeen Group study, the cost of downtime on average per hour is a staggering $163,674, and for larger organizations, it’s an average of $686,250. It could be a fatal blow, especially for smaller firms. According to Faulkner Information Services, 50 per cent of companies that lose their data due to disasters go out of business within 24 months.

The cost of disaster can add up in other ways too. An extended period of downtime can lead to losses in productivity, sales and customers, as well as decreased shareholder value and damage to the organization’s credibility.

The Main Obstacle is Money

A lack of budget and senior management support were the two key reasons provided for the lack of preparedness.

“Being fully prepared for a disaster would mean having the systems we have here duplicated,” said one IT administrator. “But not many companies can do that. In our case, we can’t just keep a set of computers doing nothing, literally, until something happens, because nothing may happen for years.”

Indeed, the survey report shows that many organizations view backup and disaster preparedness as a form of insurance – a necessary evil – rather than an integral part of ensuring the organization’s well being.

The task force was carried out by CanadianCIO with the support of StorageCraft.

The complexity of IT environments also makes the prospect of implementing a plan look daunting, noted the resellers who participated in the survey. A thorough disaster recovery plan has to address many factors including legacy equipment, the cloud, mobile devices and increasing volumes of data.

The answer, according to the resellers, is education. Vendors need to provide materials that can address customer needs and emphasize the true return on investment of disaster recovery planning.

The good news is that it appears that awareness is increasing. While respondents acknowledged that their level of disaster preparedness was less than ideal, most expressed a desire to improve the situation. The majority indicated that they are either in the process of acquiring new backup and disaster recovery solutions or are planning to do so within the next twelve months.



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