Businesses overconfident about IT resilience, study finds

Businesses are generally confident about the resilience of their IT systems – until disaster strikes and disruptions ensue.

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Tech provider CDW surveyed 200 IT managers at medium and large U.S. enterprises, each of which experienced significant network disruptions during the last 12 months. While 82% of respondents felt confident that their IT resources could sustain disruptions and support operations effectively, 97% admitted network disruptions had detrimental effects on their businesses in the last year.

Among a larger sample of 7,000 U.S. businesses, 25% experienced a network disruption of four hours or more within the last year. CDW’s Business Continuity Straw Poll estimates that such network outages cost U.S. businesses $1.7 billion in lost profits. Most of these disruptions (82%) could have been reduced or avoided by implementing a more comprehensive business continuity/disaster recovery plan, CDW reports.

The top downtime culprits are: power loss, which is blamed for 33% of respondents’ IT service disruptions; hardware failures, which caused 29% of network outages; and a loss of telecom services to facilities, which is cited in 21% of disruptions.

“The survey confirms that while many businesses believe they are prepared for an unplanned network disruption, many are not – and yet the three most common causes of IT outages are addressable,” said Norm Lillis, CDW vice president, system solutions, in a statement.

Another common shortcoming is weak support for telework. More than half of respondents (53%) instructed employees to work from home when there’s advance warning of a potential disruption – such as a weather event – yet only 33% of businesses activated standby communications and network systems to support increased remote access for such an event.

Looking ahead, many businesses plan to improve IT resiliency by updating their business continuity/disaster recovery plans (34%), extending business continuity/disaster recovery coverage to accommodate disruptions of 72 hours or more (23%), or by updating plans to take proactive measures ahead of forecasted interruptions or threats (22%).

CDW’s Business Continuity Straw Poll is available here.

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Tags managementNetworkingdisaster recoverysoftwareapplicationsData CenterBusiness Continuityhardware systemsinfrastructure managementConfiguration / maintenanceCDW

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