18 September 2002 - A Datamonitor white paper, commissioned by Sybase, today revealed that European businesses need to more than double their spending on achieving continuous availability of their operations over the next three years from EUR2.9 billion in 2002 to EUR7.7 billion.
Despite the fact that concern over terrorism has brought disaster recovery and business continuity planning on to the agenda, there remains a shortfall in spending from companies across Europe. This is due to organisations having a very poor grasp of what these solutions entail and the level of deployment necessary, said the white paper 'Business Continuity Planning & Disaster Recovery - Achieving Continuous Availability'.
New legislation and regulations, the rise of e-business, the sheer complexity of IT systems and the way companies integrate with partners, customers and suppliers have all been radical changes in recent years. These changes mean that companies need to move towards providing continuous availability of their operations, as well as recovery in real-time or perhaps seconds rather than a previously acceptable timeframe of days.
The risks are high for companies that do not put the correct solutions in place, as the loss of key technologies for mere seconds, let alone hours, can lose revenue, customers, and seriously damage an organisation's reputation through adverse press coverage. The damage to reputation is even more important in the current environment where customers are harder to come by.
Companies are also overlooking many of the more common threats to business continuity such as computer viruses, workforce unavailability, computer and internet based crime, and even workplace violence. There are numerous examples, such as: the London Stock Exchange's full day outage in 2001 due to technical failure; the collapse and subsequent withdrawal of the UK Government's 1901 census site because of a lack of preparation for the level of interest in it; and the denial of service attacks bringing down Yahoo.
Even companies that are well aware of the need for business continuity do not always understand what technology and systems need to be in place to achieve true business continuity. The attainment of higher rates of availability, for example moving from 99.99% reliability to 99.999% reliability, is often an economically unsound move as the costs are prohibitive and it frequently does not solve the real problem. Instead the main focus should be on the level of deployment within businesses, and in today's interdependent world, looking at the recovery plans that partners and suppliers have in place to guarantee levels of performance.
Ian Pratley, Business Unit Director at Sybase said: "In today's world of e-Business it is essential for organisations to have some form of business continuity planning and disaster recovery solution in place. The costs of not having a robust business continuity solution in place could be catastrophic - lost revenues, negative press coverage and lost customers to name but a few. The level of continuity needed is obviously dependent on a company's requirements, but both business continuity and disaster recovery planning cannot be ignored in today's market, and for those who do the costs will be high."
Datamonitor conclude that it is essential that high availability solutions ensure the availability of data during managed planned downtime (e.g. routine maintenance downtime, software upgrades, etc.); protect data during unplanned downtime (machine, network outages) and provide disaster recovery. Many businesses believe they have this high availability. However, to achieve true continuous availability, companies need to establish an architecture that will provide them with protection when they are carrying out planned downtime on their normal system and at the same time lose their back up system to a network outage. At present, few businesses have this necessary architecture in place.
Sybase can provide businesses with a range of solutions that address the various degrees of severity in disasters and emergencies. The company offers a complete range of solutions, including products, design, implementation and consultancy for businesses seeking to make their operations continuously available.
Companies interested in finding out more about Sybase's Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery solutions, or wishing to receive a copy of the white paper, can call 020 7285 4010.