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Disaster recovery high on the agenda in ME: eHDF study

Yasser Zeineldin, CEO at eHDF

Organisations in the Middle East are paying more attention to disaster recovery than ever before, the findings of the ‘Second Middle East Business Survey’ showed today.

The survey, which was initiated by eHosting DataFort (eHDF) in conjunction with UAE-based BCM consultancy Continuity and Resilience, found that 57% of the responding organisations aim to implement a DR solution between the production site and disaster recover (DR) site.

Nearly 25% of respondents, who were either organisation decision makers or senior managers, said they plan to use an external data centre service provider for their production and DR site, while 39% said the need for DR seats is likely to emerge within the next two years.

According to the study, which focused on business continuity management (BCM), 16% of organisations reported at least one significant business disruption in the last year, with hardware and software failures, power failure, application infrastructure failure and site outages cited as the most common.

Close to 21% of the organisations have had a robust BCM programme in place for the last three years, while 14% have started maintaining and exercising their business continuity plan. However, 65% admitted to having either no concrete plans to initiate a BCM programme or are still at different stages of implementation in the BCM lifecycle.

Of those that are still in different phases of this lifecycle, many are doing it without adopting a holistic BCM program, as only half said they conduct IT-DR drills.

The report also showed that organisations are not happy with their current IT condition – over half rated their BCM readiness, IT-DR readiness and crisis management as average or below average. Perhaps more concerning, 65% were not sure of the overall reliability of their current IT backup and recovery systems and procedures.

“Business continuity and disaster recovery have gained significant interest in the region as organisations prioritise the need for data protection and long-term viability, commitment to good corporate governance and adherence to overseas regulations,” said Yasser Zeineldin, CEO at eHosting DataFort.

“The awareness and need for both BCM and DR readiness has definitely increased in the minds of senior management. However, the maturity of BCM and DR readiness still needs to improve and the report indicates that companies are inclined to seek the expertise of service providers for this purpose,” he added.

Dhiraj Lal, executive director at Continuity and Resilience, said that despite a lot of companies cutting IT budgets this year, they should be aware that investing in BCM and DR is very affordable.

“When you’ve prepared in advance, you actually don’t have to invest that much in DR or BCM. In most organisations you don’t need to recover more than 20%. So you can save a lot of money by being smart and only integrating what you need to, rather than everything. The other thing is, once the IT investments are made, the rest is not expensive. It’s effort, but it’s not mega money in investment,” he said.

“So when you look at the whole thing, you actually get it for a very affordable price. And when you compare that price with the consequences of being down for one day or more, or the long term damage of someone not wanting to come back to you again, I think BSM is a very miniscule investment,” he added.

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