Symantec reveals disaster recovery survey results

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Symantec reveals disaster recovery survey results

One third of organisations had to execute their disaster recovery plans in the past year, Symantec's fourth IT Disaster Recovery Survey has found.

The annual survey, which questions 1000 businesses worldwide with more than 500 employees, focuses on disaster recovery in IT departments. Results were released this week.

The reasons for disaster recovery included hardware and software failure (20 per cent), external security threats (12 per cent), power outage/failure/issues (10 per cent), natural disasters (12 per cent), IT problem management (10 per cent), data leakage or loss (8 per cent), and accidental or malicious employee behaviour (10 per cent), as well as other factors.

Virus attacks, concerns over data loss and government and industry sector regulations were the main motivators for starting a disaster recovery plan.

Respondents were overwhelmingly concerned about data loss (82 per cent), although only 8 per cent actually needed to implement their disaster recovery plan because of it.

Companies with disaster recovery plans are active in testing them. 20 per cent of organisations tested their disaster recovery plans every month, and almost half of respondents tested at least once a year.

However, the tests were not always successful. 34 per cent of respondents were not able to successfully recover critical data and applications during data recovery tests.

The most frequent method of data storage was disk backup (44 per cent), with a surprising 36 per cent backing up on tape.

“We’re always going to see tape as a final destination point,” said Paul Lancaster, Director of Systems Engineering for Australia and New Zealand. “It’s pretty hard to pull a disk out of an array and send it off to a backup site, but a tape can be transported to a back-up site easily and without interrupting anything.”

But a lack of efficient technology and software, resource constraints and excessive time requirements were concerns with backing up virtual machines.

Lancaster emphasised the importance of disaster recovery plans in saving the 'most important' part of ICT: data.

“It all comes down to the data, and using that data. It also comes down to being able to back-up data properly, and having the appropriate software and teaching tools.”

The nature of secure data storage had changed dramatically in the last few years, Lancaster said.

“Now we have different technologies. Take continuous data replication, which builds a continuous environment for the business, so that data is automatically replicated from Site A to Site B, and then to a final destination like a storage house.

“There’s a lot of outsourcing of this work in the Australian business sphere and there are service level agreements associated with that. Which creates some interesting service level agreements.

"What is a realistic time frame for getting data back online? Is it 30 minutes, or is it seven days? Is it before the client even notices it's gone?”

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