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The threat of disaster leaves many companies worried

Only one third (35%) of organisations in the UK have confidence in their disaster recovery (DR) plans, according to new research from Databarracks.

The 2019 Data Health Check shows that currently many businesses need to do significantly more to feel confident in their DR and backup solutions.

In fact, less than half (49%) of businesses have complete confidence in their current backup solution.

The survey also reveals that 35% of respondents are very confident in their current DR plans and more than half (53%) are fairly confident, with 8% having concerns.

Databarracks managing director Peter Groucutt says, “Over the last year, we haven’t seen a huge amount of progress in DR and backup confidence.

“At the same time, the number of cyber threats has continued to grow as a cause of both data loss and downtime - the Norsk Hydro ransomware incident is a leading example.”

Groucutt says, “Organisations are lacking something in terms of disaster recovery strategy, and the policies, procedures and technology needed to execute this strategy.

“It’s hard to function confidently as a business if you’re unsure of how well you’d cope if disaster struck - whether that’s cyber-related or something else like a power outage.”

According to Databarracks, it is crucial to look at how companies are currently approaching DR and backup to understand where the solution lies.

The survey shows that almost a quarter (23%) of respondents do not have offsite backups, 13% of organisations don’t test backups and 42% have not tested DR processes in the last 12 months.

According to the company, it is these areas that need to be improved to increase confidence in the next 12 months.

Groucutt says, “Frequent testing and having offsite copies of data should be crucial pillars of any DR and Business Continuity strategy. This doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult - it’s simply a case of taking the right steps to improve resilience.”

“Find ways to make testing part of your day-to-day operations. If there is a public transport strike, test your remote working practices. Whenever you need to make updates to IT systems, test backups. Exercise these processes on a consistent basis, and staff and the business will always be ready to act when an incident does strike,” says Groucutt.

When it comes to the biggest worries around DR, 24% of respondents said their biggest worry in a disaster is lost revenue, and 17% cited reputational damage.

Groucutt says, “These concerns are actually very reasonable. This year we’ve seen disasters cause both but we can minimise, or even eliminate these consequences with good Business Continuity planning.

“Conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). Determine the potential effects of disruption to critical business operations. Decide what is important for your business and how you might be affected if something happened to your people, premises, IT or suppliers. Then, put plans and workarounds in place to keep you operational.”

According to Groucutt, companies that have a clear vision and strategy will be in a position to respond successfully to any incidents.

Now in its 11th year, the Data Health Check survey questioned over 400 IT decision-makers in the UK on a series of critical issues relating to IT, security, disaster recovery and business continuity practices.