As erratic spring tornadoes and flooding dominate U.S. headlines, a recent AT&T* study shows that three out of four Los Angeles area Information Technology (IT) executives have set up methods for communicating with key employees, such as the CEO and CFO, in the event of a natural disaster.
The results of the AT&T Business Continuity online study highlight the need for company leaders to ensure disaster relief and protection for their employees. Of those surveyed, six out of ten indicated that they execute emergency plans as soon as a disaster warning is issued. Over half of all companies have had their recovery systems fully tested in the past year.
One-fourth (25%) of these executives indicate that their company has played out their business continuity plans. Reasons for invoking the plan most frequently involve:
- Power outages at facilities (13%)
- Extreme weather (6%)
- IT failures (5%)
Means of communicating with employees when outside of the office showed to be of high concern to the company leaders. Eight out of ten surveyed indicated that employees are allowed to access work emails on their personal smartphones, and another 81 percent reported that at least one-fifth of their company’s employees use mobile devices that are maintained by the IT department.
IT executives also indicated that, even as difficult economic times continue, they are actually beefing up their company’s IT budgets. Forty-six percent of company IT budgets in LA for 2011 are higher than in the past two years, and investment in new technologies is a priority for 2011.
Three out of four surveyed executives said their companies are investing in new technologies in 2011, and mentioned plans that involve mobile applications, hosted services, virtualization, unified communications, and cloud computing.
AT&T Business Continuity Study Key Findings:
The business continuity survey results also showed that 52 percent of Los Angeles area IT executives already use or will consider implementing cloud services to augment their business continuity and disaster relief strategy. For these purposes, cloud computing most often provides data storage (42%), application servers (37%) and web servers (30%) for disaster recovery use.
Social Networking Accessibility and Concerns
Of those surveyed, 55 percent indicated that their company provides employees with access to social media and other networking tools, but a strong 80 percent of executives expressed concern about the security threats that come with that access.
Most frequently, employees have access to:
- Facebook (44%)
- LinkedIn (39%)
- Twitter (35%)
- YouTube (31%).
Executives said that social networking is typically used among employees to proactively share news and content about the business with customers or other stakeholders (28%), directly communicate and engage with customers or other stakeholders (15%) and for monitoring news and other chatter (24%).
The 2011 AT&T Business Continuity Study is based on an online survey of 401 Information Technology (IT) executives in four U.S. metropolitan areas: Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The study was conducted by e-Rewards Market Research with companies having total revenues of more than $25 million. Surveys were obtained between February 23 and March 17, 2011.
All survey respondents have primary responsibility for business continuity planning, representing 18 major industry areas in addition to local/state government. Sixty-nine percent (69%) represent companies with locations outside of the U.S.