Three-quarters of European Businesses ‘Might Not Recover from IT Disaster’

Seventy-four percent of European companies are not very confident that they can fully recover systems or data and more than half of all organisations (54%) lost data or suffered systems downtime in the last 12 months, according to the European Disaster Recovery Survey 2011, ‘Data Today Gone Tomorrow: How Well Companies Are Poised For IT Recovery’ study, commissioned by EMC and researched by Vanson Bourne.

The study, involving 1,750 IT decision-makers, analysed the state of backup and disaster recovery in Europe to understand how well companies are poised in case of data loss and systems downtime. These findings highlight that companies need to focus on backup and disaster recovery to ensure continued business operations in the event of a natural disaster or the more routine and common IT failure.

The three most common causes of data loss and downtime were found to be:

  1. Hardware failure: 61%.
  2. Power failure: 42%.
  3. Data corruption: 35%.

This is in comparison to only 7% of systems downtime or data loss cited from a natural disaster and only 8% attributed to employee sabotage. Regardless of the cause, 44% of organisations reviewed and changed their procedures for backup and recovery in response to an incident. Furthermore, 27% of businesses increased their spending on backup and recovery after a disaster.

The study identified that there are measureable business impacts from systems downtime, with the top three cited as:

  1. Loss of employees productivity: 43%.
  2. Loss of revenue: 29%.
  3. Delay in product development: 27%.

Systems failure resulted on average in two lost working days for the businesses in the survey. This is the equivalent of 28,391 man-hours for a company employing approximately 2,000 employees.

Across Europe, 49% of companies are obligated by either insurance policies or regulatory requirements to have a disaster recovery plan. However, with the right backup and disaster recovery approach, companies can achieve cost-savings from insurers. Just over a quarter of the organisations surveyed were offered reduced premiums by their insurance provider depending on their IT systems backup/disaster recovery strategy.

The research found that businesses are spending, on average, 10% of their IT budgets on backup and recovery, and 29% of businesses do not feel they are spending enough. For backup and disaster recovery purposes, 40% of companies still rely on tape, with an average annual cost of €74,000 on transporting, storing, testing and replacing tapes. Where tape is used for disaster recovery purposes, 10% still have an employee take home a copy of the backup tapes with them.

Overall, 80% of organisations using tape are looking to move beyond it, with the top reasons cited as:

  1. Speed of restoration 39%.
  2. Faster backups 33%.
  3. Lack of durability 26%.

Preparedness for routine disruption or more significant incidence starts with a next generation backup approach. The survey shows a reaction after a disaster to spend more on backup and recovery, but the damage is done in terms of time and money during a downtime. Raising visibility for the most common problems facing companies today and the associated economic consequences, organisations can proactively review their own strategies for backup and recovery to ensure they can meet business requirements.


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