by Lorraine Cosgrove Ware

Disaster Recovery Becomes Life and Death

Jan 15, 20022 mins
Disaster Recovery

The terrorist acts of Sept. 11 “added a sense of reality and urgency [to disaster recovery planning],” said one respondent in CIO’s recent survey of 320 IT professionals. “We are now taking it much more seriously. Implementation will move up on the priority list.”

The October 2001 online survey asked CIOs, vice presidents and directors of IT how their organizations had prepared for disaster, and how their IT contingency and recovery plans would change after the events of Sept. 11. Findings show that companies will increase their investment in such plans, particularly in offsite resources such as redundant systems, backup copies of data and applications, and even backup facilities for workers. Fifty-six percent of companies included in the study already had an IT contingency and disaster recovery plan in place, and 31 percent said they will implement one by April 2002. When asked what types of events or disasters their current recovery and contingency plan accounts for, respondents most frequently indicated server failure (79 percent), power outage (78 percent), natural disaster (78 percent), network failure (72 percent) and software viruses (64 percent). As one respondent said, “We didn’t really have a plan beyond backup and recovery of data [lost] due to IT problems. We’ll now expand to include larger problems impacting facility and services.”

Companies reported that disaster recovery accounts for 6 percent of their total IT budget in 2001. More than half (65 percent) expect their disaster recovery spending to increase in 2002. One respondent said the terrorist actions “highlighted the issue [of disaster recovery] to upper management, which increased their commitment and willingness to spend more money on it.” When asked what specifically their organization would increase spending on as a result of the attacks, respondents most frequently listed offsite redundant systems (34 percent), offsite data and applications backup (31 percent), backup facility (25 percent), replacement equipment (24 percent), remote access (23 percent), and virus detection (23 percent). “We will be testing without critical IT staff. The possibility that no one is left in the IT department is very real,” noted another respondent.

For complete survey results, visit the CIO Research Reports webpage at