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Survey finds companies' disaster recovery testing is inadequate

Despite all the talk about disaster recovery testing, most organizations still don’t do it enough. And recovery point objectives (RPOs) are still way too high to facilitate adequate DR, according to a survey conducted by cloud vendor CloudVelox.

CloudVelox, which offers automated disaster recovery in the cloud, interviewed 343 IT executives responsible for DR in their organizations from nine vertical markets. The surveyed organizations ranged from less than 100 employees to more than 1,000.

The survey found 58 percent of the respondents ran DR tests once a year or less. Another 33 percent tested their DR infrequently or never, while 26 percent tested it quarterly and 16 percent did it monthly.

These results should not be surprising because other recent surveys have had similar results, including one conducted by our parent company TechTarget.

So why aren’t people testing more often? Fifty-six percent of the CloudVelox respondents said their DR testing was infrequent because they didn’t have adequate internal resources. Another 34 percent found the process complex, while 19 percent did not find it to be a priority and 12 percent said it costs too much.

Respondents also say their traditional DR solutions don’t offer adequate RPOs. One-third said their RPO was more than 12 hours, with only 21 percent claiming it is two hours or less and 46 percent said it is between two hours and 12 hours.

“The fact that RTO and RPO in this day and age is still in the two-to-12-hour range shows that disaster recovery is broken,” said Vasu Subbiah, CloudVelox’s vice president of products. “And IT does not have the resources. The average IT spend for disaster recovery is between five to seven percent. If they test less frequently, then mistakes are compounded when they try to recover in the future.”

Cloud Velox, formerly called CloudVelocity, offers cloud-based disaster recovery, cloud data migration and testing and development in the cloud. The July 2015 surveyed verticals that included oil and gas, basic materials, industrial, consumer goods and services, healthcare, telecommunications, utilities and finance.

The survey also found variations based on the vertical. For instance, the survey found the oil and gas industry has the highest average RPO, with 70 percent stating their it took 12 hours or more and they had the lowest test frequency, with 80 percent of those surveyed said they test once a year or less. Thirty percent of the all the industries included in the survey stated they had an RPO of 12 or more hours.

In healthcare, 69 percent tested once a year or less. Consumer services and healthcare were most willing to embrace cloud-based DR if they could automate network and security controls to the cloud. Sixty-five percent of respondents in consumer services and 64 percent of healthcare would do cloud DR if they had the option of automation.

One in four of the respondents said they experience failure or delays over half of the time when they tested their secondary data center. Fifty-three percent said network connectivity was the common cause of failure when testing their disaster recovery environment. Another thirty-seven percent cited wrong configuration and 33 percent cited missing patches.

Network and security concerns often are singled out as barriers to cloud adoption. CloudVelox’s survey found that 55 percent of respondents would use cloud DR if they could automate their on-premises network and security controls in the cloud, while the other 45 percent would not consider the cloud even if they had on-premise network and security controls