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Data recovery firms slog through

Hewlett-Packard, IBM, SunGard Data Systems and other companies have been working with dozens of Gulf Coast businesses to keep their computer systems running in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but the service companies say many were unprepared for the disaster.

IBM, which has about 100 disaster recovery clients in the hurricane-ravaged region, said last week that dozens of affected companies had switched on backup networks and data centers in Big Blue facilities as far away as Boulder, Colo.

HP’s disaster recovery clients are working mainly out of the company’s Alpharetta, Ga., offices. A few clients also requested mobile trailers complete with servers, satellite communications, generators and office equipment, said Belinda Wilson, director of HP business continuity services.

The computer services companies declined to name their clients, citing confidentiality agreements, but said they include banks, insurance companies, health care organizations, oil and chemical companies, manufacturers and government agencies.

Yet for all the companies with elaborate disaster plans, many more don’t have any, Wilson said. One company, which she described as a large manufacturer, was scrambling after letting a disaster recovery proposal HP delivered in July collect dust. “There are so many companies coming out of the woodwork that need help,” she said.

National catastrophes, starting with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, have spurred disaster recovery planning, analysts said. Disaster recovery services include consulting and remote data backup, programs for recovering data, and mobile offices that can roll up to a customer’s site.

Last year’s hurricanes in Florida and the blackouts that hit the Northeast in 2003 have further fueled interest in such services, according to Gartner analyst Roberta Witty. Gartner saw a 32 percent rise in disaster recovery spending last year after a slight decline in 2003.

Yet a surprising number of companies continue to overlook the issue, according to a recent survey commissioned by AT&T. About one-third of 1,200 respondents said they have no business continuity plan. Nearly a quarter of companies surveyed said they’ve not updated their plans in the past 12 months, and nearly as many have not tested them during that time either.

Seventeen percent said they’ve never tested their disaster recovery plans.

“It’s not the priority you would think it would be,” an AT&T representative said.

Article by *Alorie Gilbert, Cnet News.com*

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 6th, 2005 at 3:49 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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