INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

41% of businesses show worrisome neglect of disaster recovery plan

And guess how many businesses have no continuity plans for their workplace requirements?

According to a release, over two-fifths of Hong Kong businesses (41%) do not have a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place for their IT and even more (63%) have no business continuity plans for their workplace requirements. A string of natural disasters during 2011, including the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March and the recent floods in Thailand, has driven the issue of DR to the top of boardroom agendas, underscoring the huge cost to businesses of natural disasters and their aftermath. While these are extreme examples, the consequences of more common events such as fires or vandalism can also seriously damage a business.

To take the pulse of global business preparedness, the latest survey by Regus, the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces, canvassed the opinions of over 12,000 businesspeople in 85 countries, including over 100 in Hong Kong. The survey found that a significant proportion of firms are taking huge risks with their shareholders' assets by failing to prepare for a worst-case scenario and taking the right precautions. Key findings include:

· 41% of Hong Kong firms do not have an IT DR plan in place to ensure systems are up and running within 24 hours of a critical incident, compared to 52% in China, 39% in Taiwan, 40% in Singapore, 63% in Japan, 33% in the UK, 46% in USA and 45% globally;

· Globally, 55% of firms have no workplace recovery solution that could be available within 24 hours. The trend is even more marked in Hong Kong, where 63% of firms lack workplace DR provision, the highest in the Greater China region;

· 31% of Hong Kong businesses view the costs of DR as prohibitively high, slightly lower than the global average of 33%;

· Over half of Hong Kong respondents (52%), the lowest in the Greater China region, declared that they would invest in workplace recovery if the service was suitably priced, compared to 55% globally;

· Globally, although larger firms are better prepared for disaster recovery than smaller ones, 26% of larger companies still lack a DR facility for their IT systems, and 40% have no workplace DR plan;

· Globally, financial services (71%) and ICT businesses (66%) were more likely to have a business continuity plan, although more than 40% of firms in these sectors have no workplace DR arrangement

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