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Media article Courier Mail.

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Media article Courier Mail.

  1. 1. (Courier Mail, Sat. 02 Aug 2003) DISASTER RECOVERY - THE NAME OF THE GAME WHEN A BUSINESS GOES DOWN IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE TERMINAL Guy Mosel reports on disaster recovery services. Ian Martin's office has 200 desks, each with top-of- the-range PCs and telephones. The office is every employee's idea of the perfect workplace. It's modern, comfortable, located in the heart of Brisbane's trendy Fortitude Valley, close to public transport, restaurants, bars and any number of fashionable apartment complexes. But for Martin's company, Classic Blue, a good day is a day when no one turns up. CLASSIC Blue's Business Development Manager, Ian Martin, at its Fortitude Valley headquarters ... prepared to go into action at any time. Picture: Suzanna Clarke The 200 desks, computers and telephones are untouched. The telephone headsets are still in little blue plastic bags, keeping out unwanted germs. The blue carpet is immaculately clean, the water cooler full. But this could all change in a matter of hours. In the event of a disaster that renders one of Classic Blue's clients unable to operate its business, Martin's office will be transformed into an emergency workplace, where displaced employees can quickly steady the ship and keep the business operational. Classic Blue, which also has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, is one of only a handful of companies offering comprehensive disaster recovery services to corporate Australia. And in the post-September 11 and Bali world, business is good. "If you lose your office and all of your data, you're in major trouble. And if you don't have disaster recovery plans in place, the chances of recovering your business after a major incident are very slim," Martin, Classic Blue's Business Development Manager, says. "If you look at September 11 – the majority of businesses in the World Trade Centre never re-opened." Finito. Kaput. Research company Gartner estimates that two out of five enterprises that experience a disaster go out of business within five years. The disaster recovery industry is not in its infancy. For many years, financial institutions and large corporations have had full data back-ups and emergency offices that could be Classic Blue Solutions Pty. Ltd., 733 Ann Street, FORTITUDE VALLEY, QLD, 4006. Tel: (07) 3872 3111 FAX: (07) 3854 0112 ABN: 39 073 919 310
  2. 2. brought on-stream in the event that their normal place of business was shut down, damaged or destroyed. This doesn't necessarily mean disasters on the scale of the World Trade Centre attacks. We're talking everything from floods to fire and even common or garden theft and sabotage. In the US, a stringent regulatory framework and constant threats from natural disasters mean disaster recovery plans have been an accepted corporate requirement for years. And in the United Kingdom, with IRA attacks a real possibility for decades, the disaster recovery industry is a mature one. Not so in Australia. "I find I'm doing a consultative sell to (educate) potential clients," Martin says. "Many Australian businesses haven't even thought that they might be in a situation where they can't run their business. It's so much easier in the UK because people realise that there are circumstances you can't control." But disaster recovery is not a subject that many businesses are willing to talk about. Those without a comprehensive plan in place don't want to advertise the fact, and those with plans don't want to spill the beans. After all, if someone wants to bring your business down there's hardly much point in telling them how to finish the job properly. Until recently, many Australian companies adopted the "it can't happen to us" approach. The millennium bug, the September 11 terrorism attacks and the Bali bombings have changed that thinking. Australian businesses and government agencies are beginning to realise that one single event could render them at the least temporarily out of action and at the very worst facing total reconstruction. Classic Blue managing director Adrian Bogatez says: "There was a knee-jerk reaction after September 11 and that kind of died off. "But really now we're starting to see some of the more long-term business because regulators like APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) have digested all the information and what the consequences might be and have started to implement policies. "We're doing more business now than we were immediately after September 11." The threat to businesses is not always as dramatic as a terrorist attack or earthquake. Classic Blue says in a survey of businesses with continuity plans, 20.5 per cent invoked the procedure after flooding, 6.8 per cent reacted to an explosion, while 11.4 per cent were due to power outage and 9.1 per cent because of a systems failure. "We're not just talking about buildings falling down, we're talking about something as simple as data retrieval – if your data is damaged can you recover it?" says Martin. Finance sector regulator APRA announced last year it would beef up its monitoring of the sector's IT risk management to ensure customer data were fully protected and recoverable in the wake of a natural disaster, telecommunications failure or terrorist incident. 5/09/2003 Page 2
  3. 3. 5/09/2003 Page 3 And after several recent high-profile corporate collapses, boards are increasingly aware of the pressure they face from investors to protect shareholder wealth – not just in terms of making sensible business decisions but protecting the company's physical assets. But Australia still has a long way to go. Gartner expects 60 per cent of large businesses will have invested in disaster recovery planning by 2006 but the Macquarie Graduate School of Management says only 9 per cent of Australian businesses have fully tested disaster recovery plans. Government bodies have been among the leaders in ramping up disaster recovery procedures. The Australian Taxation Office's technology budget has been boosted 10 per cent this year with the addition of new disaster recovery systems. And the Queensland Government investment arm, the Queensland Investment Corporation, although unwilling to discuss its plans, also has business continuity centres, with facilities that allow them to keep operational. Some large corporations are also beginning to boost their disaster recovery plans. HP Services, a leading disaster recovery provider, last month opened a multi-million-dollar 500-seat business continuity centre in Sydney specifically for use by the Commonwealth Bank. In Queensland, financial services company Suncorp Metway operates its own in-house "business continuity management program" for use in the event of disaster. "It's a robust program for business continuity for use across all units," spokeswoman Catherine Hughes says. "The plan covers a wide range of crisis scenarios from the loss of a building to fire to a major telecommunications failure." Bank of Queensland's Paul Turner says the company has had disaster recovery plans in place for years but their importance has been heightened recently. Martin said Classic Blue's Brisbane office has not yet been called upon to function as an emergency workplace but constant testing means they are prepared to go into action at any time. But like insurance companies, Classic Blue hopes that call never comes… *** *** ***