Gap Seen in Corporate America's Preparedness for Uninterrupted Access to Critical Data

Importance of business-critical information access not matched by corporate IT investment strategies, SunGard survey finds

Importance of business-critical information access not matched by corporate IT investment strategies, SunGard survey finds

Wayne, PA — October 19, 2005 — A recent national survey of business executives has revealed a serious deficiency in Corporate America's plans to ensure uninterrupted access to the information required to effectively manage their businesses, despite widespread acknowledgement of the importance of having information always available.

The study, conducted by Beacon Technology Partners and commissioned by SunGard Availability Services, revealed about two-thirds of executives (66.4 percent) gave their company a letter grade of "B" or higher when assessing their organization's ability to access business-critical information quickly after a disaster.

However, among surveyed executives, 61.5 percent said their company experienced an unplanned disruption of technology services in the last year. This is an increase over the 54 percent of executives that previously said their company experienced a disruption, according to a survey commissioned last year by SunGard.

"When a breakdown at one point can cause a total collapse in the chain of processes required to ensure uninterrupted access to the data and systems that run a business, the real metric organizations need to use is pass/fail," said Jim Simmons, group chief executive officer of SunGard Availability Services. "Even a company that grades itself an 'A' is vulnerable if one step in a ten-step process fails and causes an unplanned disruption to a company's entire set of technology services. The only correct answer to score a passing grade is an information availability strategy that keeps information always secure and available, even under the most challenging circumstances."

Unplanned Disruptions Continue Increasing

Companies face a wide variety of vulnerability points as illustrated by the leading causes of failures over the past year including power outages, viruses/security breaches, telecommunications breakdowns and hardware failure.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Eighty percent of executives said it was more important to their organization to have an information infrastructure that is always available rather than being able to recover from a business disruption.

  • Eighty-eight percent of executives said having information always available is a growing concern for their company's senior management.

  • The majority of executives surveyed said their company is taking proactive steps to ensure employees and corporate information are connected, with the top options being establishing a primary site with redundancy built in and setting up a secondary offsite facility that exactly mirrors the primary site. Also of note, 27 percent of executives said their companies outsource business continuity services to a third-party provider.

  • Seventy-three percent of executives expressed concern with the costs associated with maintaining a secondary data center and the required dual redundancy necessary to maintain the center.
Additionally, 33 percent of these executives said they do not anticipate that their company will increase IT spending to help ensure information availability within their organization.

"These research results expose a fundamental gap in Fortune 1000 strategies for ensuring information availability," said Simmons. "Businesses are clearly motivated towards keeping their people and information connected or, in other words, to maintaining uninterrupted access to the mission-critical systems that run their business. Yet, they are still lagging behind in making the resource investment needed to help make this goal a reality."

Beacon Technology Partners, an independent polling organization, conducted this online survey within the United States August 16-22 among a nationwide sample of 117 Fortune 1000 C-level executives.

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