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Report: Practical Ways to Prepare Midsized Companies for Disaster

By Howard Marks, InformationWeek, December 22, 2008 12:45 PM

Disasters happen, and when they do, IT had better be prepared, since businesses depend on information and the technology that manages it. For midsize companies, however, planning and equipping for disasters has been problematic. Where large enterprises have an array of specialized disaster-recovery systems from which to choose, and small businesses often can make do with ad hoc measures, midsize companies frequently have been caught in the middle--not able to afford big-bucks systems, yet needing more than just sending tapes off-site.

Whether it's the lingering memory of disasters like Hurricane Katrina, or a recent brownout that sent servers belly-up, or regulatory requirements requiring signatures from the top brass, CEOs are increasingly aware of the problem. At midsize companies, 79% of respondents to our InformationWeek Analytics survey say they have a business-continuity plan in place, and 42% cite lack of C-level awareness as a barrier to disaster-recovery planning. However, companies vary widely in how quickly they can recover: 35% say they'd be back in a few days; 28% say it would be a few weeks.

Increasing midsize business preparedness means using new technologies that are changing the game for disaster recovery, but it also requires spending time classifying applications and managing expectations for the recovery process. The fundamental issues are which apps are required to run the business, how much data can be lost, and how long you can wait to restore functionality. (For a more extensive discussion, see our full report