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Recovery planning inches forward, according to recent DR research

This tip examines several examples of DR research from independent sources and DR vendors.

For many years, one of the most popular DR research nuggets for the business continuity profession was the estimate that more than 40% of businesses which experience a disaster are unable to resume normal operations or fail altogether. The statistic has been cited for many years in the BC/DR profession as justification for launching a BC/DR initiative.

This tip offers some useful statistics on business continuity. Not only will they help further your knowledge of business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR), but they can also help you justify the development or enhancement of BC/DR activity in your organization.

Value of market research

Statistics derived from research can often server as justifications for securing approval and/or funding for BC/DR projects. Use survey statistics to underscore a point you wish to make about a specific issue, such as the value of having a business continuity program versus not having one. Research provided by leading and well-respected research firms can often supplement your efforts to obtain program approval.

Sources of market research

Let’s begin by identifying sources of market research. Good sources of research are the major research houses, such as Gartner and Forrester; both have BC/DR practices and conduct regular research and publish their findings. The top audit and consulting firms (typically known as the Big Four) often conduct research which they make available to their clients as well as the public. Additional independent research firms include the Business Continuity Institute and Continuity Forum, both of which conduct surveys and publish the results in a variety of formats, including reports, workshops, conferences and webinars. Major vendors such as SunGard, IBM, EMC, Everbridge and others regularly conduct and sponsor research projects.

Recent market research examples

Results of the Acronis Inc., 2012 Disaster Recovery Index indicate that only 35% of U.S. financial services providers are confident in their IT personnel to execute data recovery operations in the event of a disaster; and only one-third believe they could recover quickly in the event of system downtime. Further, 41% don’t believe they have sufficient technological capabilities to support backup and disaster recovery operations. Finally, only 31% agreed that migration to new technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization will make it easier to ensure backup and disaster recovery operations are efficiently managed.

A 2011 study conducted by Continuity Central and discussed in a subsequent webinar addressed two interesting questions:

  1. Do governance, risk and compliance (GRC) represent the future of business continuity? Fifty-six percent of the respondents agreed that GRC would be the future of business continuity; 26.5% thought “maybe” this would occur, and 17.5% disagreed.
  2. If business continuity became an aspect of GRC would that have a positive or negative impact? Sixty-eight percent thought BCM becoming part of GRC would be positive; 15% disagreed, while 17% were unsure.

AT&T has been conducting an annual study on business continuity trends for the past 10 years. The 2011 study surveyed IT executives from companies in the U.S with at least $25 million in annual revenue. Among the findings:

  • A majority (54%) of organizations surveyed currently use or are considering using cloud services to augment their business continuity and disaster recovery strategies
  • Use of mobile devices plays a role in 78% of business continuity plans
  • Most companies (80%) have systems in place that enable employees to work from home or remote locations, representing an increase of 14 percentage points in the past four years
  • Three out of four (79%) of executives expressed concerns about the increased usage of social networking capabilities
  • More than half (56%) of companies allow employees to access social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube from the corporate network
  • Most companies (81%) allow employees to access work emails on their personal smart phones

EMC Corporation’s 2011 European Disaster Recovery Survey found that 74% of European companies are not very confident that they can fully recover systems or data and that more than half of all organizations (54%) lost data or suffered systems downtime in the last 12 months. Additional findings included:

  • Disruptions are more likely from IT problems, such as hardware failure (61%), power failure (42%), and data corruption (35%), than natural disasters
  • Economic issues attributed to system downtime could include lost employee productivity (43%), loss of revenue (29%) and delays in product development (27%)

Finally, the November 2011 global business survey from Regus, which provides outsourced office workspace, provided the results of interviews with more than 12,000 senior business people in 85 countries about business continuity and IT disaster recovery in their organizations. Among the findings:

  • Firms are more likely to have an IT disaster recovery capability to help them recover operations within 24 hours than to be able to provide alternative workspace for their staff, should they be unable to access their usual work premises due to a disaster.
  • Although larger firms are better prepared for disaster recovery than smaller companies, 26% of larger corporate entities still remain without a disaster recovery facility for their IT systems, and 40% have no workspace disaster recovery facility.
  • One-third of respondents (33%) report that the perceived costs of disaster recovery are prohibitive and more than half (55%) agree that most firms like theirs would buy the option to access a workspace disaster recovery facility if that option was priced at around $100/month.
  • Companies that do have disaster recovery are more likely to have computing systems up and running within 24 hours (55%), than provide an alternative workspace for staff within the same time frame (45%).


Based on the examples we have provided, you can see that acceptance and deployment of business continuity and disaster recovery initiatives continue to grow steadily, albeit slowly. Compared to 10 years ago, we have indeed made strides forward. Make it a point to regularly review industry research to keep abreast of trends and developments in the industry and the profession.

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