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Study: Mobile, Cloud Computing Factoring Into Disaster Recovery

It's almost hurricane season--or, for enterprises, time to check the status of business continuity and disaster recovery plans. This year, advancements in mobile technology are enabling businesses to include technologies such as cloud computing and mobile security services, according to a recent disaster planningstudy from AT&T.

Among the most telling findings of the telecom company's 2012 annual business continuity survey of 504 IT executives: 67% of respondent businesses have included wireless network capabilities as part of their business continuity plans, while 38% are making investments in cloud computing for security, performance and cost savings.

This year's study, which was conducted between February and April, also found that six out of 10 respondents are investing in mobile securityservices. The majority (69%) indicated that a potential security breach is the most pressing concern. "Clients are understanding the trend of bring your own device. Their workforce is increasingly using mobile devices for work and personal [use], and standards are becoming more mature around mobile security," says Chris Costello, assistant VP of offer management, cloud services, at AT&T. "What clients are asking for is a single control panel so they can secure all devices from one place," with measures that include virus protection, distributed denial-of-service protection and patch management built in."

Social networking tools and mobile networks/devices in the workplace are also of concern, according to the study. Some 87% of respondents stated that they have become more concerned about the increased use and potential threats of mobile networks and devices; concerns surrounding social networking capabilities came in at 76%, the study found.

"Social networking is a [stronger] concern than security threats, and, hence, why clients are implementing mobile security and want to control it from single platform," says Costello. Another key trend in this year's report is that about two-thirds of clients surveyed have implemented proactive measures during government alerts of a pending disaster, she says. In tandem with that, two-thirds say they have tested their plans within the past year, while AT&T recommends they be tested quarterly, Costello says. "We see a lot of clients make a lot of investments [in security technologies], and then put them on the shelf, and when disaster strikes not everything goes according to plan."

Some 40% of respondents are investing in or looking at investing in cloud services for disaster recovery, the study revealed.

"Many customers have plans where they're overpaying for an 'insurance policy.' They're not sure what data center they're going to fail over to in the event of disaster, and they can't go in and test their business continuity plans as much as they'd like to," she says. The move to the cloud is a positive trend. "They're seeing benefits versus the more traditional, always-on solutions that are very costly."

AT&T has conducted the disaster recovery study for more than 10 consecutive years. This year's survey was conducted among IT executives from companies with at least $25 million in annual revenue in Texas, California, Florida, Ohio and New York.