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Unrealistic expectations about IT outages put pressure on IT teams

IT leaders think senior management have unrealistic expectations of IT downtime, according to a report from Databarracks

Business managers’ unrealistic views on how long the organisation can survive without its IT systems puts unnecessary pressure on IT teams, according to a report.

The report by IT services firm Databarracks, which surveyed more than 400 IT leaders, found that while IT managers estimated that their organisations could survive a 48-hour IT outage, they said senior business managers would estimate around four hours.  

“Maximum tolerable outage is the maximum time your IT systems can be offline before the effect on the business is irreparable,” said Oscar Arean, technical operational manager at Databarracks.

“It’s not all that surprising that IT leaders would predict a difference in opinion between themselves and their business managers. It’s understandable for the managing director of an organisation to have an emotional reaction to a disaster affecting their business.

“This disconnect between IT and the rest of the business isn’t ideal as it can put unnecessary pressure on an already fraught disaster recovery situation.”

Arean argued that this can be solved through communication and finding a recovery time, embedded into a disaster recovery plan, that both parties are happy with.

However, the study also found that although most companies have a disaster recovery plan in place, 73% of small organisations hadn’t tested their plan in the past 12 months and 40% of those didn’t plan to in the future.

Some 58% of those that had tested their plan felt very confident in it, compared to 28% of those that hadn’t tested their plan.

The study also found that human error is the main cause of data loss, particularly in small and medium-sized businesses. Hardware failure was the most common in large businesses, with 31% saying it was the main cause of data loss.

“For two years in a row now, hardware failure has caused more data loss for large organisations than human failure,” Arean said in the report.

He attributed this to larger organisations having checks in place to reduce human error and that they don’t refresh their hardware as frequently as smaller organisations due to their size and complex infrastructure.

“Where IT assets are forced to sweat for longer, it’s inevitable that some will just give out,” said Arean. ____________________ _____

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