[PRNewswire] The dramatic rise in social networking and mobility trends is presenting new challenges and considerations to companies' network security, disaster planning and business continuity programs. The good news: businesses are stepping up their technology investment and efforts to meet these challenges despite the economy; and mobile devices are increasingly part of business continuity plans. These are some of the findings to emerge from AT&T's annual study on business continuity and disaster recovery preparedness for U.S. businesses in the private sector.
For the eighth consecutive year, AT&T surveyed IT executives from companies throughout the United States that have at least $25 million in annual revenue to get their views on disaster planning and business continuity trends. Sixty-eight percent of the companies surveyed this year have locations outside of the U.S.
2009 AT&T Business Continuity Study Key Findings:
-- 2009 IT Spending Trends and Investment in New Technologies. Two-thirds
(65%) of all executives indicate that their companies will be investing
in new technologies for 2009. Investment tends to focus on new
equipment and a variety of software, storage and security upgrades.
When looking at IT spending trends for this year, forty percent of
executives surveyed indicated that their IT budgets are expected to be
lower this year than in the previous two years, while nearly one-fourth
(24%) indicated that budgets will be higher. Interestingly, companies
with business continuity plans in place are significantly more likely
than those without plans to anticipate budget increases (32% compared
-- Mobility Considerations Emerge. Sixty-seven percent of executives
indicate that wireless network capabilities are part of their business
continuity plan. Furthermore, nearly half (46%) stated that mobile
devices play a major role in their plan's considerations.
-- Social Networking Heightens Security Threats. Three out of four
executives surveyed are concerned about the increased use of social
networking capabilities' potential impact on network security. Forty-
four percent allow employees access to such social networking sites.
However, hacking still continues to be listed as the biggest security
risk to companies (30% compared with 3% for social networking).
Business Continuity Planning Trends
One-third of companies surveyed have used their business continuity plan that is in place. Nationally, companies are most likely to invoke their business continuity plan due to extreme weather (25%) or power outages at facilities (19%). When looking at the five markets surveyed, companies in Houston and Miami/Orlando/Tampa are significantly more likely to have invoked their business continuity plan (52% and 51% respectively, compared with 36% nationally). These results are not surprising considering these regions have been hit the hardest with hurricanes.
Nearly seventy-four percent of businesses surveyed set target recovery times for their key business processes (compared with sixty-seven percent in 2008), an indication that businesses understand not only is it important to have a plan in place, but that plan needs to identify goals and expectations for recovery should it be invoked. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, these companies have special arrangements for communicating with key executives spanning voice, email and text-messaging.
In addition, the study found that companies have put increased attention to not only their own business continuity plans but those of their key partners and suppliers. One-third of the respondents require suppliers and other vendors to have a business continuity plan in place in order to do business with their company.
"In today's business environment, connectivity cannot be disrupted, which is why business continuity planning and disaster recovery efforts are paramount," said Bill Archer, chief marketing officer - AT&T Business Solutions. "The top three lessons learned by the executives we surveyed who have experienced a disaster include: having a plan in place is critical; increase back-up systems to ensure no data loss; and have multiple means of communication available. AT&T is focused on helping our customers stay connected with their employees and customers no matter if and when disaster strikes."
AT&T offers a wide array of business continuity services, encompassing disaster planning, risk management, recovery preparedness and communications readiness. AT&T Business Continuity Services are comprehensive, providing enterprises with business-impact analysis, risk assessments, hosting and application services, a full continuum of storage solutions, high-availability network solutions and network and IT security solutions.
AT&T also conducts several Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) exercises a year - the next one to be held on July 14 - 15 in Washington, D.C. These events are designed to test, refine and strengthen AT&T's business continuity and disaster recovery services in order to minimize network downtime. By simulating large-scale disasters and network service disruptions, AT&T can apply and refine best practices for rapidly restoring communications to government and business customers.
For more than a decade, AT&T has invested more than $500 million in its NDR program, which includes specially trained managers, engineers and technicians from across the United States, as well as a fleet of more than 300 self-contained equipment trailers and support vehicles that house the same equipment and components as an AT&T data-routing or voice-switching center.
AT&T Study: Business Continuity Planning Evolves With Emerging Technologies
see also AT&T 2009 Business Continuity Study