Disaster recovery pressures caused by downtime costs are rising according to the latest Symantec survey on the subject. The cost of executing disaster recovery plans for each downtime incident cost Australian and New Zealand respondents an average cost of US$570,000 compared to US$900,000 in North America.
The survey highlights that while recovery time objectives were reduced to less than four hours in 2009, disaster recovery testing and virtualisation are still major challenges for organisations.
Fifty-five percent of ANZ respondents also believe that disaster recovery budgets will be flat in 2010 making it more challenging for IT management to leverage their assets including hardware, software and personnel.
The survey also found that 67 percent of ANZ respondents that their disaster recovery committees involved the CIO, CTO or IT director, a significant increase from last year’s research where 33 percent of respondents indicated executive involvement.
As budgets increased over the past year, the survey also found that disaster recovery initiatives have become more of a competitive differentiator. Another reason for executive involvement is the increase of applications that are seen as mission critical.
Fifty-five percent of applications in Australia and New Zealand were deemed mission critical by respondents, and nearly the same amount (61 percent) is covered in disaster recovery plans.
This year 39 percent of local respondents that they test their DR plans once per year or less frequently – a 21 percent improvement from last year.
In addition, one in four tests still fail, showing a dramatic need for improvement in this area. The reasons most respondents cited for why organisations aren’t testing include:
Lack of resources in terms of people’s time (40 percent in ANZ)
Disruption to employees (41 percent)
Budget (44 percent)
Disruption to customers (39 percent locally)
Another concern highlighted by organisations in the survey is that disaster recovery testing impacts customers and revenue. Thirty nine percents of ANZ respondents reported that disaster recovery testing will impact their organisations’ customers and nearly one third reported testing could impact their organisations’ sales and revenue.
Symantec recommends that organisations implement testing methods that can be run frequently and without disruption to business operations.
Virtualisation is also causing 59 percent of local respondents to re-evaluate their disaster recovery plans. This is up from 44 percent in 2008.
In addition, 35 percent of local organisations for not test virtual environments as part of their initiatives. According to Symantec, this number has improved in the past year, lowering from more than one-third of organisations who did not test in 2008.
The study also found that 36 percent of data on virtualised systems is not regularly backed up, showing no improvement in the past year.
Over half of respondents cited lack of backup storage capacity and automated recovery tools as top challenges to protecting data in virtual environments.