Disaster recovery gets the CIO touch


Virtualisation derails best-laid plans.

Executive involvement in disaster recovery teams has doubled success rates in scheduled tests but also flattened budgets for next year, found an annual Symantec report.

The survey that covered 100 Australian businesses with 5000 people or more, found 66 percent of respondents had some executive involvement in their disaster recovery committees.

Executives included the chief information officer, chief technology officer or information technology director.

The executive involvement numbers are double those reported last year and correlate strongly with other changes in disaster recovery, said Symantec's director of sales and channels, David Dzienciol.

"As IT executives become more involved in disaster-recovery conversations, I see a connection between them becoming more accountable and wanting to do more with less," Dzienciol said.

"Sitting on the disaster recovery committee is insurance and they want to make sure there's some level of return on investment on what gets spent by people in the trenches."

He attributed a doubling in the success rate of scheduled tests to more executive involvement.

Some 68 percent of organisations passed scheduled tests of their disaster recovery plans, Symantec found.

But more than a third test their plan only annually or less. Resources, business disruptions and budgets are why they don't occur more often.

Automated testing through software could lift the number of tests, Dzienciol said.

"Symantec recommends that organisations implement disaster-recovery testing methods that can be run frequently and without disruption to business operations," the company said separately in a statement.

"[We] believe that people and processes are the main reasons tests fail, pointing to the need for more automation."

Virtualisation is emerging as a disaster-recovery bugbear - but one that gave organisations reason to reevaluate plans.

The survey found more than a third of organisations don't test recovering virtual environments.

And more than a third of data on such systems was not regularly backed up, showing no improvement in the past year.

But Dzienciol was encouraged that two-thirds of respondents used disk backups to protect virtual servers.

"That's a great sign," he said. "The good news is that's going to provide a fast recovery time."

Symantec found evidence of organisations running "warm" disaster recovery sites to achieve a greater return on investment. They ran enterprise workloads on at least part of the infrastructure meant for recovery.

Smaller organisations used managed services to cut costs but that was not the case at the big businesses Symantec surveyed, Dzienciol said.

Disaster recovery gets the CIO touch
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