Relatively new concept that it is to the channel, Big Data nonetheless opens opportunities for solution providers -- especially those steeped in the world of business continuity and disaster recovery. At least that’s the takeaway from CompTIA, largest independent ICT trade association. In its most recent study, Big Data Insights and Opportunities, CompTIA finds that overall data initiatives will consist of several discrete endeavors that savvy solution providers can exploit. First off, business continuity and disaster recovery is one process that provides good insight into the current state of data for many end user companies. Secondly, it is a process that can act as a good starting point for moving forward, with cloud options and outsourcing potential creating a range of possible solutions for this critical need.
Based on the CompTIA study, just over half (51%) of all companies report having a comprehensive BC/DR plan. The good news is that there has been a nice jump in the past two years—only 41% of companies in 2013 reported having a comprehensive plan. The bad news is that 51% is still awfully low, especially considering the findings from the Ponemon Institute that show that 30% of organizations that experience a severe data interruption never recover. Now let’s flip it. For solution providers, the low adoption is good news as it’s a clear indicator that net-new customers exist en masse.
The responses from different segments of the population highlight some of the dynamics in the BC/DR space. As expected, those companies viewing themselves on the advanced end of the data capability spectrum are most likely to have a comprehensive plan. Seventy-eight percent of advanced companies report having a comprehensive plan, compared to 43% of intermediate companies and 39% of basic companies.
The breakdown by company size does not follow the typical pattern though. Things start as expected, with small companies the least likely to have a comprehensive plan (42%). But then medium-sized companies are actually the most likely to report having a comprehensive plan (60%), with large companies falling in the middle (52%). It is likely that the word “comprehensive” creates a sticking point for many large companies. When operations grow sufficiently complex, it may not be feasible for an enterprise to consider a holistic recovery (and truth be told, a complete outage across such operations is fairly unlikely). Instead, recovery plans may be set for individual divisions or business units.
The most interesting breakdown comes when considering job role. Fifty-five percent of employees in an IT function report having a comprehensive plan, compared to just 47% of executives and 37% of employees in a business function. This points to the ongoing need for IT to communicate properly at a level that the business understands. Plans are only practical if everyone involved understands how systems will be restored and operations will continue.
Discussions are also important for internal IT departments or solution providers working towards building better BC/DR plans. These discussions will most often start with the driver, the motivating factor that leads companies to realize that they should invest in a well thought out strategy. Among firms that do not yet have a comprehensive plan in place, the leading factor that could drive BC/DR improvement was the reliance on data within the organization, cited by 44%. Closely following this was customer expectation, cited by 35%. The shifts in technology are creating new demands from customers for the digital experience, and data availability is a key component of that experience.
Seth Robinson joined the CompTIA Research team in January 2011 as the director of technology analysis. In this role, he focused on the technology trends that are shaping the IT industry, as well as participate in research on macro trends and channel activity.