istock_Disaster_recovery_smSecurity is a central topic and concern in the digital economy. IT security attracts a significant amount of attention because of its business risk and far-reaching consequences, including significant revenue loss, customer loss and legal ramifications. Recent surveys completed in 2013 by accounting firms PwC and EY provide interesting insight into security priorities and future funding plans by corporate America.

In its 2013 survey, “Under cyber attack”, EY interviewed 1900 respondents, primarily C-suite professionals and executives from finance, IT and security. Rated by respondents as a number 1 or 2 priority, the top 3 security concerns include:

  1. Business continuity/disaster recovery – 68%
  2. Cyber risks/threats – 62%
  3. Data leakage/data loss prevention – 56%

Indeed, business continuity/disaster recovery requires considerable foresight and planning. It is essential to understand the business impact in the unfortunate case that disaster strikes. This is more than a theoretical argument as evidenced in the EY survey; 10% of the respondents claimed that the threat of natural disasters has increased risk exposure for their business in the past 12 months. Organizations should set acceptable downtime limits for restoring critical business functions and plan accordingly. Consider the ramifications not only for your business, but for your customers as well, should a worst case scenario occur.

Part of business continuity planning involves the data center. What plans will you have in place for data center recovery? Shortest recovery times may be achieved by establishing a hotsite, an alternate secure facility fully equipped and on stand-by to take over operations. If this level of response is unnecessary, warm or cold sites are possible options. Alternatively, the cloud, public or private, may provide the best solution for your requirements. “PwC’s 5th Annual Digital IQ Survey” shows that 2013 investment in the private and public cloud was expected to increase significantly; we will need to wait and see if this prediction came true, and the extent to which this investment was targeted for business recovery purposes.

Clearly, selecting the appropriate data center recovery option is critical to the success of the overall business continuity plan. To what extent will your corporation develop contingencies for 2014 and beyond?