Disaster Recovery overconfidence is common and costly, according to new independent survey commissioned by iland

As IT races to protect business against increasing threats, the large majority of companies have adopted disaster recovery (DR) technology to ensure resilience in the event of a potential outage.

iland, an award-winning cloud hosting provider, has published a report, The State of IT Disaster Recovery Amongst UK Businesses, that reveals real-world failover rates as well as overconfidence and other underlying issues that prevent companies from optimally ensuring business continuity.

The study, executed in June 2016 by independent market research company Opinion Matters, surveyed 250 UK decision makers on their IT DR plans to understand how organisations are approaching and leveraging DR.

The findings definitively reinforce the need for solid DR, as 87 percent of respondents were forced to trigger a failover in the past 12 months. While over half (58 percent) are using on-premise solutions for DR, well over one third (38 percent) use a cloud-based solution, with both larger and smaller businesses adopting DRaaS at similar rates.

"In today's business world, the question is no longer if a company will need to trigger a disaster recovery plan, but when," said Justin Giardina, CTO at iland. "Recognising that dynamic, IT has shifted its DR focus to prioritise the reliability, security and compliance of a solution. This study shows there is work to be done, as teams seem to put too much confidence into inadequately tested systems and many don't fully grasp the potential of available solutions—particularly when it comes to cloud."

Highlights and key takeaways from the study include:

  • Outages happen more frequently than many believe: A staggering 95 percent of respondents faced an IT issue that resulted in an outage or data loss over the past 12 months. Problems ranged from a system failure (53 percent) through to human error (52 percent), corrupted data (37 percent), cyber-attack (32 percent) and unexplained downtime (30 percent). Notably, only 20 percent of the respondents indicated IT issues stemmed from an environmental threat such as flood, storms, fire and power outages.
  • Problems arise despite confidence in failover plans: Eighty-seven percent triggered a failover in the past 12 months, reinforcing the need for IT resilience. However, while 82 percent of respondents that executed a failover were confident it would be successful, more than half faced issues during the process. This is concerning since 69 percent reported mere minutes of downtime can have a highly disruptive or catastrophic impact to business.
  • Testing and training are key, but currently insufficient: Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents claimed to have a trained team and test DR plans either quarterly or twice a year. However, given the prevalence of failover issues reported, this training and testing appears to be lacking. The remaining 37 percent either have a lightly trained or untrained team while DR testing is infrequent or nonexistent. This significant number highlights the need for more awareness on the importance of DR testing, and calls for DRaaS vendors to enable easy, non-intrusive testing that can be performed regularly and on demand. Vendor support throughout these efforts is also important.
  • There is a gap in understanding of DRaaS reliability, security and compliance: A higher percentage of on-premise respondents are optimising for zero downtime (74 percent) while DRaaS adopters claim to accept minimal downtime in the name of budget (43 percent). This indicates that many IT leaders are not aware of the availability levels and recovery times of cloud-based DR, as it is possible to get the on-premise levels of uptime with DRaaS without the big budget spend. Similarly, when asked what prevented them from moving to DRaaS, nearly two-thirds of on-premise users cited concerns about maintaining security and compliance. While emphasis on security and compliance is critical, advanced DRaaS offerings deliver the same or superior levels of security as on-premise environments.

"When evaluating DR solutions, companies must look closely at security, compliance, manageability, support and testing capabilities, particularly because options vary greatly – whether on-premise or in the cloud," said Giardina. "For more than a decade, iland has helped companies around the globe to flexibly balance budget requirements, risk tolerance, geographic needs and other variables, enabling teams to achieve near-zero recovery rates despite their IT footprint."

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