SA not pre­pared to deal with nat­u­ral dis­as­ter

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS - JU­NIOR BESTER

MANY South African com­pa­nies are to­tally un­pre­pared for the IT chaos that would be caused by a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

A re­cent study has shown that 43 per­cent of SA busi­nesses do not have an IT data re­cov­ery pro­gramme and 57 per­cent would be un­able to re­cover work­places or pro­vide al­ter­na­tive venues dur­ing dis­as­ters.

Joanne Bushell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of work­place sup­plier Re­gus in Africa and the Mid­dle East, said: “The re­search re­veals that, in spite of re­ports in­di­cat­ing that an in­ci­dent can cost up to R4 mil­lion, dis­as­ter re­cov­ery among SA busi­nesses is not as wide­spread as imag­ined, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the work­place.”

The pres­i­dent of the Cape Cham­ber of Com­merce, Michael Ba­graim, said this was wor­ry­ing and he be­lieved the prob­lem was even greater than the sur­vey showed.

He es­ti­mated that as many as 80 per­cent of national busi­nesses did not have an IT data re­cov­ery plan and up to 90 per­cent did not have work­place re­cov­ery sys­tems.

“I be­lieve this sur­vey may have only looked at the big­ger cor­po­ra­tions which would have shown that a few do have these sys­tems in place. How­ever, the smaller and medium- sized enterprises do not have the money or time.”

The lack of time and money were also the rea­son why many smaller busi­nesses did not have ad­e­quate in­sur­ance.

“The un­for­tu­nate fact is that lo­cal mi­cro busi­nesses are sur­vival­ists, so they do not con­sider ex­penses for re­cov­ery plans or in­sur­ance. They are run­ning a huge risk as any ma­jor dis­as­ter will wipe them out.”

Ba­graim said this was a ma­jor con­cern for South Africa as the smaller busi­nesses were the fu­ture of the coun­try and they should be as­sisted by the govern­ment to gain ac­cess to re­cov­ery plans.

He said many busi­nesses were un­aware of the ex­is­tence or the im­por­tance of a data re­cov­ery pro­gramme.

“I be­lieve the govern­ment or Seda (Small En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Agency) should play a larger role in ed­u­cat­ing busi- nesses about the im­por­tance and avail­abil­ity of data re­cov­ery pro­grammes.”

The man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of trans­port and lo­gis­tics com­pany Map­cargo In­ter­na­tional, Daryl Hill, ex­pe­ri­enced first hand the im­por­tance of hav­ing a re­cov­ery pro­gramme when the com­pany’s head­quar­ters at Heathrow Air­port in Lon­don burnt down.

He said: “What we thought was a small fire ended with the build­ing col­laps­ing and an ur­gent need to re­lo­cate 27 em­ploy­ees. For Map­cargo to sur­vive as a busi­ness it was crit­i­cal that we could be up and run­ning fast, as com­mu­ni­ca­tion is an in­te­gral part of our busi­ness and we can’t oper­ate with­out it.

“I would urge all busi­nesses, large or small, to be proac­tive and put thought and plan­ning into their dis­as­ter re­cov­ery pro­grammes rather than wait­ing un­til some­thing hap­pens,” said Hill.

Bushell of Re­gus said dis­as­ter re­cov­ery was ma­tur­ing around the world and the busi­ness con­ti­nu­ity mar­ket was set to reach $39 bil­lion (R321bn) in 2015.

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