• July 13, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Businesses Protect Data by Sending It Out

When it comes to defending information against potential disasters, companies feel more secure outsourcing that data rather than keeping it close, according to a new study by IDC. Companies that outsource "gain considerable advantage by leveraging a third-party provider which has access to a BCDR (business continuity/disaster recovery) service" that can better assure reduced downtime and increased availability, the report states. "Outsourcing information availability can help enterprises ensure people, systems, and information stay connected, and [grant] the ability to maintain business processes in a 24/7 world," says David Tapper, program director of IT outsourcing and utility services at IDC and author of the report. Companies using an in-house strategy rated their recovery capability (on average) lower than if outsourced, a sign that reinforces customer expectation that an outsourced IT strategy provides a greater level of assurance and probability that a company's availability requirements can be ensured, according to Tapper. The other big factor driving companies to host is repair, maintenance, and the resulting downtime. Many businesses are finding that hosting companies can do it quicker and more efficiently. The majority of survey respondents indicated they intended to reduce downtime and increase system availability by nearly 50 percent by hosting certain segments of their IT department. Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents indicated a strong preference for using a hosted service that already had recovery capabilities integrated into it. The remaining percentage was split between a hosting service with no recovery service (17 percent), a managed hosting service with integrated recovery services (15 percent), and full-scale outsourcing (7 percent). This, Tapper says, is indicative of how companies want to outsource IT to keep it safe, yet still remain in control of it. "Companies prefer to leverage an outsourced model in which they retain significant control over the IT assets and IT staff, but transfer control of the management for provisioning BCDR service for their IT environments." Besides showing companies' preferences to hosting options, the survey also reveals some of the new technologies that are emerging to ensure companies keep their IT systems safe during times of crisis. In general survey respondents said they plan to increase investment in new BCDR technologies and services more than fivefold in 2006. These investments include a wide range of technologies, such as grid virtualization, which creates virtual data repositories without actually replicating the data and creating an extra data warehouse. Others include storage area networks (SAN), which provide dedicated, high speed, long distance network access to large volumes of data (a key component if a business is hosting), and SOA technologies. "Companies are looking to gain access to newer models of service and technology that help them keep pace with changes in availability." Related articles: When Disaster Strikes
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