Toronto businesses are taking business continuity seriously: study

A recent survey of Toronto-area businesses by AT&T found that local businesses are taking issues of disaster recovery and business continuity seriously, and many already have well-developed plans.

The online survey of more than 100 Toronto-area IT executives with revenues of more than $25 million found that Toronto requires increasingly complex network infrastructure for its major industries, such finance, telecommunications, education and medical research. And weary of events like the 2003 blackout and the risk of other threats such as extreme weather, security breaches and earthquakes, IT executives are making sure their infrastructures are prepared for such a possibility.

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According to the survey, 85 per cent of Toronto-area companies have developed business continuity plans to help identify, prevent and respond to adverse conditions. One-third said business continuity became a priority recently. And it’s not all theory; 44 per cent have said they’ve had to invoke their business continuity plans in the past year.

When it comes to technology for business continuity, cloud computing was a popular topic with 40 per cent saying they’d use it for data storage and 37 per cent for Web servers.

“Today’s businesses are more connected than ever and it is essential that communities and leading organizations continue to prepare for and establish a response to these unexpected situations,” said Kelly Morrison, senior technical specialist, AT&T NDR, in a statement. “AT&T responds to these threats to help restore vital telecommunications services for our business and government customers following a disaster.”

Diving deeper into the business continuity results, 60 per cent said they’ve tested their plan within the last 12 months, and 69 per cent said they implement specific protective actions when warned of an alert of for an impending disaster is issued by governmental authorities.

Investment priorities

The survey also asked Toronto-area IT executives if, and where, they planned to invest in new technologies, and 59 per cent indicated they would be investing in strategic areas in 2012. Mobile applications was mentioned by 37 per cent, followed by cloud computing at 35 per cent and security at 27 per cent. Cloud computing was either in use or being considered for business continuity by 57 per cent.

And in good news for channel partners, 79 per cent said their IT budgets will be higher in 2012 than in the previous two years. Also, 85 per cent said the complexity of network infrastructure is increasing.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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