Business disaster recovery plans lax for emerging technologies

The Symantec 2010 Disaster Recovery Study found that 58% of respondents said that using multiple tools to manage and protect applications and data in virtual environments caused major security difficulties for data center managers.

For the study, Symantec commissioned Applied Research West to survey more than 1700 IT managers in large organizations in 18 countries to understand the factors associated with business IT disaster recovery.

Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said that security is the main concern with putting applications in the cloud. However, the biggest challenge faced by organizations when implementing cloud computing and storage was the ability to control failovers and make resources highly available (55%).

"While organizations are adopting new technologies, such as virtualization and the cloud, to reduce costs and enhance disaster recovery efforts, they are currently adding more complexity to their environments and leaving mission-critical applications and data unprotected", said Dan Lamorena, director of the storage and availability management group at Symantec.

"We expect to see organizations adopt tools that provide a holistic solution with a consistent set of policies across all environments. Data center managers should simplify and standardize so they can focus on fundamental best practices that help reduce downtime."

Eighty-two percent of data backups occur only weekly or less frequently, rather than daily, the survey found. Resource constraints, lack of storage capacity, and incomplete adoption of more efficient protection methods hamper rapid deployment of virtual environments. In particular, 59% of IT managers identified resource constraints as the top challenge when backing up virtual machines; they stated that the lack of available primary (57%) and backup storage (60%) hampers protecting mission-critical data.

Symantec found that respondents expected downtime per network outage to be around two hours. Despite these expectations, the median downtime per outage in the last 12 months was five hours, more than double the two hour expectation, and organizations experienced four downtime incidents in the past 12 months on average.

IT managers said network outages were primarily the result of system upgrades, power outages, network failures, and cyberattacks. The Symantec study found that only 26% of organizations had conducted a power outage and failure impact assessment.

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