Business managers ignore disaster recovery needs

Three top IT managers have spoken out about the problems facing their departments when it comes to generating enthusiasm for data protection and disaster recovery strategies.

In an interview with it was revealed that justifying business continuity strategies to those operating at a management level could be difficult. Roger Bearpark, who manages IT for Hillingdon council in London, said that he no longer tries to promote data recovery unless he has hard statistics showing the financial impact of a disaster which could have been averted by proper implementation of contingencies.

Neil Edmonds, who looks after the IT needs of the Salvation Army, said that his superiors were complacent even in the face of real disasters including the July 7th bombings in 2005. Many were reliant on the blindly optimistic mantra of ‘it is not going to happen to us’.

David Weston of Oxford University Press said that business continuity had become a big part of his role at the publishers, but that most other departments did not fully appreciate the importance of the IT element of the planning process. Seminars and tutorials as to how to recover data after a disaster have been run by Mr Weston and his team, but attendance by other members of staff has been minimal.

The trio of IT professionals were then questioned as to whether they kept their disaster recovery in house or chose to outsource and their reasons for doing so.

Mr Weston said that it was more cost effective for OUP to outsource its data backup to a third party provider, as although it owns an appropriate property for server operation, the costs of the technology and maintenance would be too great.

Mr Bearpark explained that because many councils shared resources for disaster recovery and overflow data storage, it would be difficult to rely on a third-party provider. Both on-site and remote storage are operated in-house by Mr Bearparks’ IT team.

Mr Edmonds revealed that the Salvation Army relies upon multiple providers for its recovery solutions and a recent study by one of the firms showed that the charity could only continue to operate if its internal email system was the only IT asset damaged in a disaster.

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