Most business report they have been negatively impacted by network disruptions in the last year, according to a new poll that attempts to gauge how organisations react to disruptions and the measures they are taking to improve their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. The poll, conducted by technology products provider CDW LLC, surveyed 200 information technology decision makers at medium and large US businesses, each of which experienced significant network disruptions since July 2009. While 82 percent felt confident that their IT resources could sustain disruptions and support operations effectively, 97 percent admitted network disruptions had detrimental effects on their businesses in the last year.
Power loss ranked as the top cause of business disruptions over the past year, with one third of businesses reporting it prompted their most recent disruption. Hardware failures caused 29 percent of network outages, followed by a loss of telecom services to facilities (21 percent).
The survey also looked at remote access plans for employees and found 53 percent of respondents said employees are instructed or given the option to work from home when a foreseeable network disruption approaches, such as a weather event. However, only a third of businesses activate standby communications and network systems to support increased remote access when warned of such an event. Among the organisations polled, on average, 44 percent of the workforce normally has telework options, but only 39 percent of employees said employees were able to telework during their most recent network outage.
Regardless of the cause of disruption, more than half of businesses, 57 percent, reported productivity losses as the top negative effect of their network disruptions, primarily due to reduced access to the network itself or to applications, data and communications systems:
- Half (51 percent) experienced problems connecting to their IT network from other locations
- Half (50 percent) had problems connecting from inside their business locations
- Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) said employees could not access the necessary company resources to do their jobs
- Almost one-third (29 percent) said employees had problems communicating with each other via internal phone systems and/or e-mail
- 28 percent said their networks were slower than expected and could not support the increased traffic from remote locations
The disruptions did not occur without lessons learned, said the report. Approximately 34 percent of the organisations who took part in the poll also said these events have has prompted them to improve disaster recovery capabilities by updating their BC/DR plans. However, one in five businesses said they have no plans for immediate changes to their BC/DR plan.
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