Sunday, June 1, 2008

AT&T Study: One in Five U.S. Businesses Does Not Have a Business Continuity Plan

One in five U.S. businesses does not have a business continuity plan in place to maintain operations in the event of man-made and natural disasters, according to an annual study by AT&T.


For the seventh consecutive year, AT&T's Business Continuity Study surveyed IT executives from companies throughout the United States that have at least $25 million in annual revenue to get their views on disaster planning and business continuity trends.


To ensure its own business, AT&T conducts Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) exercises several times a year and has invested more than $500 million over the past decade in the program. By simulating large-scale disasters and network service disruptions, AT&T can apply and refine best practices for rapidly restoring communications to government and business customers. Its disaster response team includes specially trained managers, engineers and technicians from across the United States, as well as a fleet of more than 150 self-contained equipment trailers and support vehicles that house the same equipment and components as an AT&T data-routing or voice-switching center.


Some key findings from the 2008 AT&T Business Continuity Study include:

  • Security continues to be key. Even though organizations have learned how to better recognize and even deal with worms, viruses and other threats, there's no question that security remains a critical concern. Two-thirds of IT executives predict that hacking will emerge as the most significant threat to cybersecurity in the next five years. The next most frequently mentioned threats are internal, including accidents (56 percent), sabotage (47 percent) and remote workers (44 percent).

  • Organizations may evolve, but business continuity plans are left untouched. Six out of 10 companies have made some type of business change in the past year that would warrant updating their business continuity plans. However, only 28 percent updated the plans because of any of the changes. Business changes cited by respondents include initiated new or expanded marketing efforts, expanded office space or a moved office, initiated new or expanded online or digital customer service or ordering capabilities, or the company made an acquisition or merged.

  • Simplicity is important with hosted solutions. Even though a hosted environment can provide a company with the resources it needs to continue its business operations, businesses have concerns. Sixty percent of IT executives view security, reliability and cost as their top concerns when thinking about using a hosted environment, and 37 percent are concerned about complexity.

  • Too much information, not enough space to store it. More than one-fourth (28 percent) of IT executives have experienced problems in the past year with insufficient storage space on their company's computers or servers for virtual records.

  • Employee communication is critical. The vast majority (79 percent) of companies surveyed have special arrangements for communicating with key executives during a natural disaster. Although 80 percent of companies have automated text messaging or e-mail capabilities to reach employees outside of work, only 39 percent of companies have automated calling systems to reach those employees by telephone or mobile phone.
http://www.att.com

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