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ME firms improving disaster recovery approach

Symantec survey shows that companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia improving disaster recovery processes

Organizations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are becoming more serious about implementing and testing disaster recovery plans, says Symantec.
Organizations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are becoming more serious about implementing and testing disaster recovery plans, says Symantec.

New research from Symantec suggests that organizations in the Middle East are taking an increasingly mature approach to disaster recovery.

In a global survey of 1,650 companies, Symantec found that organizations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have increased their stake in disaster recovery, and in some areas are now matching, and exceeding companies in the west in terms of planning and procedures.

The survey showed that 76% of respondents in the UAE, and 61% of those in Saudi Arabia claims to test their disaster recovery systems at least once every six months, compared to 63% in the US.

In addition, 18% of UAE respondents, and 17% of Saudi respondents say that their systems have passed testing, compared to only 15% of US respondents.

Anthony Harrison, senior technical account manager, Symantec commented: “This is the clearest indication thus far that the top rungs of UAE organisations are becoming more serious about the implementation and testing of their disaster recovery plans. There are genuine business drivers for ensuring that a company’s people, processes and technology can be relied on when they are needed most.”

The survey included large organizations from all sectors, with 50 respondents in the UAE and 100 in Saudi Arabia.

The main drivers for improving disaster recovery among UAE companies were hardware or software issues causing system failures and external threats, with the main underlying concerns were potential loss of data (78%) and actual cost of downtime (48%).

The UAE was also expected to increased investment in disaster recovery in the next one to two years, with budgets expected to increase by 48%, against 29% in the US, although spending in all markets is predicted to be flat in 2009.

Among the reasons cited for failure of disaster recovery testing, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were generally in line with the US, although the UAE reported a higher incidence of failure due to lack of IT infrastructure at the DR site, with 44% of companies giving that as a reason, compared to 28% in Saudi Arabia and 23% in the US.

Other reasons for failure, with respondents able to give multiple reasons, were that processes turned out to be inappropriate (KSA 28%, UAE 38%, US 36%); people did not do as they were supposed to (KSA 43%, UAE 50%, US 49%); technology did not do what it was supposed to (KSA 40%, UAE 50%, US 43%); and outdated DR plans (KSA 30%, UAE 38%, US 36%).

“Preparation is critical. It is possible to build system tests in such a way that they can be run frequently without disrupting business operations. Greater automation in the testing process is key to ensuring that these tests have a minimal impact on the business,” Harrison added.