Sunday, May 31, 2009

AT&T Study: Business Continuity Planning Evolves With Emerging Technologies

According to a survey of over 500 IT executives in the U.S., the dramatic rise in social networking and mobility trends is presenting new challenges and considerations to companies' network security, disaster planning and business continuity programs. The good news: businesses are stepping up their technology investment and efforts to meet these challenges despite the economy; and mobile devices are increasingly part of business continuity plans.

For the eighth consecutive year, AT&T 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. Sixty-eight percent of the companies surveyed this year have locations outside of the U.S. The study is based on an online survey of 502 Information Technology (IT) executives.

2009 AT&T Business Continuity Study Key Findings:

  • Two-thirds (65%) of all executives indicate that their companies will be investing in new technologies for 2009. Investment tends to focus on new
    equipment and a variety of software, storage and security upgrades.

  • Forty percent of executives surveyed indicated that their IT budgets are expected to be lower this year than in the previous two years, while nearly one-fourth
    (24%) indicated that budgets will be higher. Interestingly, companies with business continuity plans in place are significantly more likely
    than those without plans to anticipate budget increases (32% compared to 11%).

  • Sixty-seven percent of executives indicate that wireless network capabilities are part of their business continuity plan. Furthermore, nearly half (46%) stated that mobile
    devices play a major role in their plan's considerations.

  • Three out of four executives surveyed are concerned about the increased use of social networking capabilities' potential impact on network security. Forty-four percent allow employees access to such social networking sites. However, hacking still continues to be listed as the biggest security risk to companies (30% compared with 3% for social networking).

  • One-third of companies surveyed have used their business continuity plan that is in place. Nationally, companies are most likely to invoke their business continuity plan due to extreme weather (25%) or power outages at facilities (19%).

  • Nearly seventy-four percent of businesses surveyed set target recovery times for their key business processes (compared with sixty-seven percent in 2008), an indication that businesses understand not only is it important to have a plan in place, but that plan needs to identify goals and expectations for recovery should it be invoked. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, these companies have special arrangements for communicating with key executives spanning voice, email and text-messaging.

"In today's business environment, connectivity cannot be disrupted, which is why business continuity planning and disaster recovery efforts are paramount," said Bill Archer, chief marketing officer - AT&T Business Solutions. "The top three lessons learned by the executives we surveyed who have experienced a disaster include: having a plan in place is critical; increase back-up systems to ensure no data loss; and have multiple means of communication available. AT&T is focused on helping our customers stay connected with their employees and customers no matter if and when disaster strikes."