Many UK businesses just aren’t prepared for IT outages reveals recent research.
Research from Veritas Technologies showed that three quarters of 1,200 firms surveyed had not fully evaluated the cost of disruption to cloud services.
In addition, 412 organisations questioned by IRN Research admitted that a power failure would quickly cause problems for their IT. Seventy per cent of metals and machinery companies would face an IT shutdown within one hour of a power failure whilst around 50 per cent in the utilities, public, construction and food sectors said the same.
Visa’s recent catastrophe affected millions of retail transactions and serves as another reminder that even big companies aren’t always prepared for disaster recovery.
Visa blamed it on hardware – an explanation which was taken with a pinch of salt by many observers. A robust business continuity plan should ensure full redundancy for Visa’s infrastructure so that identical systems and data storage take over when there’s a major failure.
However, the problem Visa faced could lie with the relatively new phenomenon of cloud outages.
Veritas’ research also suggests that two-thirds of UK businesses think a service interruption in the cloud is the responsibility of the cloud provider. And yet, service level agreements (SLAs) with cloud providers typically only guarantee to restore the infrastructure within a certain timeframe. The SLAs don’t cover restoration of applications different clients use.
Gary Jowett, from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton, says: “Organisations that use cloud services need to be aware that bringing their applications back online is usually their responsibility – and disaster recovery planning needs to reflect that.
“How quickly services are restored depends on the complexity of each application and inter-dependencies with other applications during the restart. The actual time it takes to get back to business as usual may be a lot longer than it takes for the cloud infrastructure to recover.”
Being fully prepared for the loss of IT services goes hand-in-glove with having proper back-up power supplies. All businesses need to buy and test back-up generators. Or they need to check that their landlord has a back-up power supply in place.
Gary says: “It’s very concerning that so many companies don’t fully understand the cost of disruption to their cloud services and aren’t ready for a power failure. Sparing some time to review business continuity each month can pay dividends in the future and avoid a catastrophe that could threaten the future of your business.”