UK businesses are failing to adequately test their disaster recovery systems

Despite lost data costing businesses dearly, disaster recovery systems are being neglected; according to research by technology services provider Probrand, 41% of UK businesses have either failed to test their disaster recovery (DR) systems in the last six months or don’t know when any sort of testing last took place.

The survey of UK businesses at director-level also found that while 92% did have some sort of DR solution in place, only 59% of them carried out regular tests.

“You wouldn’t install a fire alarm and then never test it – why should DR be any different? If businesses aren’t carrying out regular tests every 2-3 months then they have no way of knowing if their system is up to scratch and whether it’s going to leave the business – and its customers – experiencing downtime for a day, a week or even longer,” said Mark Lomas, technical architect at Probrand.

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The approach to backup by those surveyed also offered a source for further concern as only 62% were sure they had any off-site backup capabilities. While only 39% said they would be able to restore on-site backups in under 24 hours, even if they could get new servers ready to accept that data.

However, only 29% said they could get hardware to replace servers in that time frame and just 29% said they could recover to the cloud, 54% admitted they couldn’t — 17% said they didn’t know.

Lomas added: ‘‘What’s clear from our research is that, for many companies, disaster recovery is shelfware, set up once and then rarely if ever tested or thought of again.

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‘‘DR is a neglected, non-revenue generating component of many IT strategies, but the growing threats to enterprise data mean that this mindset needs to change.’’

One survey respondent even went as far as to say they ‘‘did not know how long the backup would take,’’ as they had never had to do it. This laisse-faire attitude is worrying when you consider that it costs businesses on average $5,600 per minute of downtime.

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future