The large push for security executives to work closely with IT has produced somewhat mixed feelings. But what does the IT executive think about planning for business continuity? Business continuity plans are used to recover and restore critical functions within a predetermined time after a disaster or threat disruption.

In order to achieve accurate results, polls are usually conducted. AT&T conducted a business continuity study by polling 100 IT executives in London via telephone. The companies gross at least $25 million. Interviews were conducted between Jan. 26, 2007 and Feb. 20, 2007.

Three-fourths of London IT executives, 76 percent, see business continuity planning as a “priority”. Almost half, 46 percent, say it has always been a priority and almost one-third (30 percent) stipulate it has become a priority due to natural disasters and security and terrorist threats.

The Demographics

Of those surveyed, 37 percent oversee and are project managers for business continuity plans, 33 percent are on a team that designs or evaluates the plan and 30 percent offer recommendations for purchases of security products and/or services for the business continuity plan.

Cyber Breach Nightmares

Cyber attacks are an IT executive’s nightmare, according to the survey. IT executives in London have some sleepless nights because they worry about security breaches and viruses/worms. Seventy-nine percent of those polled state cyber security as part of the overall business continuity plan.

One-third said that worries of security breaches might keep them up at night. Other concerns include viruses or worms at 22 percent, man-made disasters hold strong at 17 percent, corporate/eCommerce site crashing claims 9 percent and natural disasters also claim 9 percent of the worry.

What the Future Holds

Since one-fifth have experienced a manmade or natural disaster (including blackouts or terrorist attacks), London companies are looking toward the future to plan for possible threats. According to the survey, IT executives say their companies will be upgrading their continuity plans to include:
  • Offsite storage and recovery of data (16 percent)
  • Redundant servers and/or backup sites (15 percent)
  • Back-up and restore procedures (13 percent)
  • Protection against distributed denial of service or DDoS (12 percent)
  • Employee education (11 percent)
  • Internet security measures (9 percent)
  • Outsourcing to a service provider (5 percent)
Impending disasters released by the government are a serious matter to IT executives in London. Forty-one percent of executives indicate they execute protective actions when the local government or E.U. issues an alert for imminent threats.

Security executives need to realize that partnering with their IT executive could mean a more secure disaster plan. Business continuity plans help recover and restore critical functions after a disaster or threat. Continuity plans are something that every executive needs to think about compiling. Not having one could mean a halt on business as usual.