SA not prepared to deal with natural disaster
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.