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Living Dangerously

By Paul Travis, January 13, 2009, NOON

I am always surprised when a new survey of IT managers or company executives shows that a significant percentage of them don't have a disaster recovery plan or that they don't have confidence in the plan they do have in place. I guess some people are just optimists and think lightening will strike someone else and not them. That is a dangerous way to live.

I was reminded of this when reviewing Symantec's second annual "State of the Data Center" survey this week for a story and saw that 9 percent of the 1,600 companies worldwide it surveyed described their disaster recovery plans as "informal or undocumented" -- meaning they don't really have a plan. And another 27 percent said their DR plans needed work. Only 35 percent described their DR plans as pretty good or excellent.

Protecting your company and its data from a disaster is one of the top responsibilities of a storage administrator, perhaps only second behind actually storing the data somewhere. It should be one of the top priorities of any IT department. And DR plans should be tested to ensure they work, so you don't discover the flaws as you are trying to get your company back up and running after something takes down your systems.

I know that I am preaching to the choir for most readers of Byte and Switch. Yet, even among storage professionals who read this site are many who don't have a DR plan in place. A survey we conducted late last year found that more than a quarter of respondents don't have a disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place. And 45 percent of those who do have a plan said they rarely test it.

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