South-Central Texas Businesses Consider Disaster Preparedness as Critical According to AT&T Study

Two-Thirds of Respondents Say That Business Continuity Planning is a Priority

San Antonio, Texas, June 2, 2008

Results of a survey of South-Central Texas businesses announced today by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) indicate that more companies are incorporating best practices for disaster preparedness and are ready for the late spring/early summer weather season of storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. Eight out of ten (81 percent) South-Central Texas executives indicate their companies have a business continuity plan.

The survey of 100 local information technology (IT) executives found that businesses in South-Central Texas (Houston, San Antonio and Austin) lead other major metropolitan/regional areas in several critical factors that contribute to business continuity and disaster preparedness. South-Central Texas was one of five U.S. metropolitan/regional areas surveyed for the AT&T 2008 Business Continuity Study. Other markets surveyed included Chicago, New York, North Carolina (Charlotte/Raleigh/Greensboro) and Seattle/Portland.

The study found that South-Central Texas leads the nation in the following:

  • Two-thirds (65 percent) of companies have updated their business continuity plans in the past 12 months, compared to 59 percent, nationally
  • Two-thirds (65 percent) of executives indicate they implement specific protective actions when the state or federal government issues an alert for an impending disaster, compared to 50 percent, nationally
  • Three out of four (73 percent) executives indicate their companies have prioritized and set target recovery times for each of their key business processes, compared with 67 percent, nationally
  • The vast majority (81 percent) of executives indicate that they have special arrangements for communicating with key executives in the event of a natural disaster, compared with 79 percent, nationally

"After business operations and recovery requirements have been analyzed and plans put in place, practicing the recovery procedures is crucial," said Rick Duran, sales vice president for AT&T Global Business Services in southern Texas. "The study found that just 51 percent of South-Central Texas businesses have fully tested their business continuity plan in the past 12 months, and more than one out of ten (12 percent) indicate they have never been tested. AT&T recommends that every business test and update the plan at least annually, educate employees, establish redundant servers and backup sites to protect continuous operations."

While the majority of South-Central Texas businesses (62 percent) experienced some type of change in the past year, overall, only 27 percent updated their business continuity plan due to any of the changes. Changes last year did not seem to result in the updating of business continuity plans, but four out of ten (41 percent) executives plan to test in the upcoming year if they experience a major change in business operations.

In today's workplace, a disruption in essential network infrastructures can easily lead to the collapse of vital business processes. Therefore, incorporating cyber security in conjunction with the regular testing and updating of a plan will go a long way toward securing a company's ongoing business operations. Enterprises must build in security up front and at every layer to properly ensure that networks, systems, applications and end-user devices are secure against all known attacks.

Seven out of ten (71 percent) South-Central Texas executives indicate that cyber security is part of their company's overall business continuity plan. Looking out five years down the road, majorities view hacking (63 percent) and an internal accident (53 percent) as the most significant threats to cyber security. Other perceived threats include internal sabotage (44 percent); remote workers (41 percent); botnets (40 percent); denial of service attacks (39 percent); customer, partner, or vendor access to internal systems (37 percent); terrorist attacks (26 percent); and competitor espionage (18 percent).

The vast majority (81 percent) of companies surveyed have special arrangements for communicating with key executives during a natural disaster. Although 88 percent of companies have text messaging or e-mail capabilities to reach employees outside of work, only seven out of 10 (69 percent) companies have automated calling systems to reach those employees by telephone or mobile phone.

For the seventh consecutive year, AT&T's Business Continuity Study surveyed IT executives from companies throughout the United States that have at least $25 million in annual revenue to get their views on disaster planning/business continuity trends.

AT&T brings its own business continuity and disaster recovery expertise in running and managing some of the world's largest and most complex networks — including its own — to businesses worldwide.

AT&T offers a wide array of business continuity services, encompassing disaster planning, risk management, recovery preparedness and communications readiness. AT&T Business Continuity Services are comprehensive, providing enterprises with business-impact analysis, risk assessments, a full continuum of storage solutions, high-availability network solutions and network and IT security solutions.

For more information on the AT&T 2008 Business Continuity Study, visit www.att.com/biz_continuity_study.

Study Methodology
The 2008 AT&T Business Continuity Study is based on results from a telephone survey of 500 Information Technology (IT) executives in five U.S. metropolitan/regional areas, including Chicago, New York, North Carolina (Charlotte/Raleigh/Greensboro), Seattle/Portland and South-Central Texas (San Antonio, Austin, Houston). The sample of participating companies was drawn from Dun and Bradstreet's business list of companies with at least $25 million in revenue located in each of the five areas. The metropolitan areas are based on DMAs (Designated Market Areas). Interviewing was conducted between April 2 and April 17, 2008, and the interviews averaged 10 minutes in length.

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