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by Senior Editor

Survey: BC/DR a top IT priority in 2011

Sep 07, 20103 mins
Disaster Recovery

Results of a new survey from Forrester Research find business continuity and disaster recovery plans will be a major concern and increased area of spending in the next 12 months

Business continuity and disaster recovery will be top priorities for organizations around the world in the next 12 months and spending on BC/DR will increase by about 5 percent for many businesses, according to the results of a new survey from Forrester Research.

The survey of 2,803 IT decision-makers worldwide found improving business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities is the number one priority for small and medium businesses and the second highest priority for enterprises.

The scope of BC/DR programs is growing also, according to the research. Mature BC/DR programs now address all sources of downtime, including mundane power outages and weather-related disruptions, not just rare, catastrophic disasters, the research finds.

Also see ‘How to evaluate BC/DR consultants’

Forrester Principal Analyst and Research Director Stephanie Balaouras said several factors are driving BC/DR prioritization, including awareness and increased regulation.

“Historically, it has been difficult to build the business case for BC/DR spending because senior executives viewed it as an expensive insurance policy for risks for which no one had determined the probability or accurately assessed the impact,” said Balaouras in the report. “When security and risk professionals tried to highlight certain threats to the business, the common response from senior executives was, ‘I know theres a risk of XYZ event, but it hasnt happened yet.’

Perceptions of BC/DR spending are changing because security and risk organizations have become much better at using formal methods for identifying risks, measuring their probability, and quantifying their impact, said Balaouras. They’re also much better at incorporating business leaders into their formal risk measurement processes.

“The benefit of this approach is clear: It’s much more likely that a CIO or other executive will approve budget for a BC/DR upgrade if you can explain that in the next five years there is a 20 percent probability that a severe winter storm will knock out power to the data center and cost $500,000 in lost revenue and employee productivity,” Balaouras said. (For more detail see the book excerpt ‘How to perform a disaster recovery business impact analysis’.)

Many of the organizations surveyed plan to maintain or increase spending on BC/DR, according to Forrester. The survey found 32 percent of enterprises and 36 percent of SMBs plan to increase spending on BC/DR by at least 5 percent. BC/DR represents between 6 percent and 7 percent of the IT budget, the report states.

“Considering the level of priority and increased investment, BC/DR can confidently consider itself among the critical elements of a comprehensive IT program,” the report states.

However, as a percentage of overall operating and capital budgets, BC/DR spending still falls short of other IT functions such as security.