Disaster Recovery- A Statistical Look

Statistics: Business Continuity For IT Pros

The digital universe is fast and furious. One minute the show is running with fluidity. The next, an untimely outage might arise and have you one step from surefire disaster. Business continuity management (BCM) has become a chief priority for the growing number of organizations that realize you can never be too diligent in creating a resilient business framework. We’ve rounded up some revealing statistics about how businesses plan and execute (or not) their backup and disaster recovery strategy.

Massive volumes of information exist in the digital realm. This info offers insights to help fuel individual research efforts, business planning, and purchasing decisions. Aggregated from a number of trusted sources, the statistics here provide a broad and reliable perspective on the importance of business continuity management.

downtime statistics


Data Center Downtime: Cause and Effect

Understanding the origins of unplanned outages is a key element of business continuity management. The following statistics are based on responses provided by organizations that experienced downtime in the data center environment:

  • UPS Battery Failure – 55 percent
  • Accidents/Human Error – 48 percent
  • UPS Capacity Exceeded – 46 percent
  • Cyber Attack – 34 percent
  • IT Equipment Failure – 33 percent
  • Water Incursion – 32 percent
  • Weather Related – 30 percent
  • Heated Related/CRAC Failure – 29 percent
  • UPS Equipment Failure – 27 percent
  • PDU Circuit Breaker Failure – 26 percent
  • Generator Failure – 20 percent

How an organization addresses downtime is as varied as the causes themselves. Common responses to data center outages include:

  • Repair infrastructure equipment – 66 percent
  • Replace infrastructure equipment – 58 percent
  • Purchase additional infrastructure equipment – 45 percent
  • Contact an equipment vendor – 44 percent
  • Do nothing – 29 percent (not recommended)
  • Improve alert and monitoring capabilities – 29 percent
  • Improve data center management platform – 26 percent
  • Hire third-party expert to analyze or solve the problem – 19 percent
  • Perform internal data center assessment – 17 percent

Source: Emerson Power Network 2013 Study on Data Center Outages

Business Statistics: Continuity Management Challenges

In a 2015 survey, respondents were asked to discuss the biggest obstacle between disaster and business continuity. The following challenges were cited:

  • Lack of resources (budget, operating funds) – 35.6 percent
  • Lack of support by top-level management – 16.4 percent
  • Lack of support by business department – 6.6 percent
  • Low priority compared to other objectives – 5.3 percent
  • Staffing difficulties – 4.8 percent
  • Limited time for staff to properly manage BCM tasks –3.5 percent

Source: Continuity Central

 data recovery planning statistics


Business Statistics: Continuity Planning Priorities

Statistics show that inadequate planning is a widely known vulnerability that plagues recovery initiatives for numerous organizations.

  • Only 30 percent reported to having a fully documented disaster recovery strategy in place.
  • 32.1 percent reported to having a plan that outlines the specific business critical applications and components that need to be recovered.
  • 33 percent revealed that their disaster recovery plan proved inadequate when deployed in response to an outage.
  • 15.4 percent didn’t even consider a fully documented plan applicable to their situation.

Businesses Losses Explored

Whether it’s damage to brand reputation or a direct hit to corporate finances, poor business continuity management can result in a catastrophic loss of data and productivity. Following an outage:

  • 35 percent of organizations lost at least one mission-critical application – 11.7 percent for hours at a time.
  • 24.3 percent lost multiple mission-critical applications.
  • 18.8 percent lost most or all of their data center functions.
  • 12.1 percent loss data that could not be recovered.

Damage in Dollars

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, wizard, or mathematician to know that you stand to lose more money every minute your business is down. Reported losses by organizations amid unplanned outages literally range from zero to millions of dollars.

  • 36.7 percent suffered no financial loss
  • 18.3 percent lost $1000 to $6000
  • 10 percent loss $50,001 to $100,000
  • 3.3 percent loss 100,001 to 500,000
  • 2.1 percent loss more than $5 million

data recovery impact statistics

Damage Beyond Dollars

A disaster can do far more than hit an organization in the pockets.  In some cases, the reported repercussions threatened hinder core operations and put business continuity in serious jeopardy.

  • 25.9 percent of recovery efforts consumed staff time that impacted the business.
  • 13.8 percent of recovery costs the company money that wasn’t included in the budget.
  • 9.6 of organizations suffered damage to their brand reputation.
  • 9.2 of recovery efforts resulted in disruptions that had a major impact on revenue potential.
  • 7.1 of organizations suffered permanent losses.

BCM Methodologies Compared

As an observer, it is very interesting to see the different approaches companies reportedly take to business continuity management.

  • 42.9 percent of organizations report to use a remote disaster recovery site that mirrors most of their primary site.
  • 20.4 percent of organizations use a secondary site that is not similar to the their primary disaster recovery site.
  • 29.2 percent of organizations rely on a software-based disaster recovery solution.
  • 26.3 percent of organizations rely on a hardware-based solution for disaster recovery (replication)
  • 15 percent use the cloud for some or all of their disaster recovery environment
  • 10.8 percent trust an MSP or hosted solution to support their disaster recovery needs.

Source: Disaster Recovery Benchmark Preparedness Survey 2014

Poor Business Continuity Planning is Contagious

Countless statistics show that poor business planning is the main source of the issues organizations experience with data recovery.

  • 53 percent reported to not backing up their data on a daily basis.
  • 32 percent of IT administrators cited that backing up every day is not an efficient use of their time.
  • 23 percent of IT administrators felt that conducting frequent backups was either unnecessary, or unwarranted based on the amount of data in their possession.
  • In contrast, 10 percent of IT administrators cited having too much data as the main reason they don’t backup on a daily basis.
  • 75 percent of organizations claimed that daily backups threaten workplace productivity.
  • 32 percent of IT administrators admitted that their organizations do not test their backup systems on a regular basis.
  • By industry, the healthcare field is considered to be among the most negligent as an alarming 66 percent of respondents report to not testing their backup systems to gauge effectiveness.


The Need For Better Backup Processes

Responses from IT experts suggest that existing backup processes can stand to be improved.

  • Backing up all important files and applications takes businesses an average one hour. Ironically, time is the aspect that can stand to be improved as roughly 50 percent of organizations would prefer their existing backup solutions to be faster or more efficient.
  • 14 percent want their backup solutions to be more affordable.
  • 6 percent want a more secure backup solution.
  • Another 6 percent want their backup solution to be managed by a third-party provider.

Source: Opinion Matters-GFI Software Survey

Business Continuity Success

Maturity is one metric Gartner uses to measure the success rates of business continuity management programs.

  • 39 percent of organizations that developed their own comprehensive BCM framework (Level 5) recovered all mission-critical business processes according to predefined RTOs and RPOs, or while only experiencing minor problems.
  • 12 percent of Level 5 organizations experienced significant problems in recovering one or more mission-critical business applications.
  • In contrast, only 13 percent of organizations with no BCM framework in place (Level 1) were able to recover all mission-critical processes according to predefined recovery objectives.
  • 15 percent of Level 1 organizations experienced significant problems in recovering one or more mission-critical business applications.
  • Overall, business continuity management programs were found to improve disaster recovery rates by as much as 17 percent.
  • By 2019, Gartner predicts that 35 percent of organizations with BCM programs that lack maturity will endure major problems recovering one or more mission critical business processes. That would be a 17 percent increase from the figures recorded in 2015.

Source: Gartner’s Business Continuity Management Program Methodology

The Business of Business Continuity

A concentrated focus on business continuity has led to the creation of a burgeoning industry, show statistics from Gartner. In fact, the market for business continuity and disaster recovery solutions is projected to reach $61.7 billion by 2017.

Source: PRWeb

Apparently business continuity is a perfect match for the “as-a-Service” trend. By 2020, the Disaster Recovery as a Service (DraaS) market is expected to reach $11.92 billion, a 52.9 CAGR increase from the $1.42 recorded in 2015.

Source: Markets and Markets

In 2015, 52 percent of business leaders revealed that their companies planned to allocate more resources to business continuity and disaster recovery solutions.

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