EMC survey find executives feel business info vulnerable

A major new opinion poll of European business and technology executives shows a high sense of vulnerability as to how safe their critical business data would be in the event of a disaster.

A major new opinion poll of European business and technology executives shows a high sense of vulnerability as to how safe their critical business data would be in the event of a disaster.

An EMC/NOP Technology poll of 254 executives at major corporations and other large organisations in seven countries found that 40% of business leaders and 44% of the IT executives felt their important business information is very vulnerable to being lost.

The shared feelings of vulnerability are in sharp contrast to their American counterparts where a large gap exists in the perceptions between US business and IT leaders.

Of 274 U.S. executives surveyed, only 14% of business executives felt their data is very vulnerable to being lost, compared to 52% of the IT executives.

When asked how long it would take to restore data to resume normal business operations following a disaster, European business executives again share the same expectations as their IT counterparts.

A quarter of the business (25%) and IT executives (23%) in Europe say it would take three days or longer. In contrast, only 9% of the American business executives surveyed felt recovery would take three days or longer, while 23% of US IT executives, the same as their European counterparts, felt it would take in excess of three days to recover if a disaster struck.

“It would appear that the lines of communication in European organisations are more open when it comes to disaster preparedness,” said Richard Jameson, Managing Director at NOP Technology.

“However, resuming normal business operations in three days or more would be very costly in terms of lost revenue and customer satisfaction. Both the business and IT executives understand the risk and share a common realisation that it is a problem.”

David Goulden, EMC’s Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and New Business Development, added, “European companies historically have been very focused on protecting their information and have been at the leading edge in implementing business continuity technology.

"Despite that, a large percentage of the organisations are still vulnerable to data loss in the event of a disaster, which would suggest there’s more work to be done. It’s clear that in both the US and in Europe, technology executives recognise the significant challenge they would face in restoring their information and serving the business in a timely manner.”

The EMC-sponsored survey was conducted by NOP Technology by phone in April and May 2003.

Executives in a wide range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, government, retail and telecommunications were polled in the following countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Executives from organisations with more than 1,000 employees were selected, with 43% with more than 5,000 employees.

In the U.S., 252 executives were surveyed with over one third coming from companies with annual revenue of more than $5bn (€4.4bn).

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