In one instance, corporate finance nixed IT's plans to deploy a backup AC system during data center construction. When temperatures in the data center soared past 90 degrees, it resulted in a shutdown of nearly all server resources. The result? A "new, dedicated backup AC installed [and] connected to the building's backup generator," the respondent said.
"Flooding can be an issue during hurricanes, nor'easters and other similar events," said another IT pro whose company is located in a low-lying coastal area. "We justified our demands that the servers not get shoved in the basement at our main site when it was flooded out during [hurricane] Irene. Nothing learned the hard way, thankfully."
Disaster preparedness is a moving target; plans require testing, updates and modernizations on a regular basis. In our survey, 44% of respondents said they update their plans about once a year, and another 15% do updates every two years.
Some companies test plans even more frequently. "All foundation applications are housed off-site with campus network presence. Tapes are sent off daily for other systems and can be recovered within 12 to 18 hours," one respondent said. "We test this twice a year."
In general, respondents have deployed a wide range of technologies that play a role in their disaster preparedness plans, including VPNs, offsite backup/storage, remote access technologies, and company-supported mobile devices.
CEO FIRST JOBS: Licorice maker, housekeeper, scuba diver and more
In particular, virtualizing applications and putting apps in the cloud as a disaster preparedness measure are common tactics among respondents. Email/messaging infrastructure is most often virtualized or put in the cloud (cited by 58% of respondents), followed by web site/ecommerce systems (48%), database servers (46%), Web servers for critical online applications (44%), and CRM/ERP systems (32%). Twenty percent of respondents said none of their apps are virtualized or in the cloud.
On the data-protection front, nearly one-quarter of respondents (23%) said 100% of their company data is backed up at an offsite location at least 50 miles away from the main office. At the other extreme, 23% of respondents said none of their data is backed up offsite. The remainder fall somewhere in between, with the majority backing up at least 40% of their data offsite.