Middle East Business Continuity Survey reveals increased investments

Organizations in the Middle East are increasingly looking to improve their disaster recovery capabilities, according to the ‘Second Middle East Business Continuity Survey’.

Nearly 25% of the respondents plan to use an external data centre service provider for production/DR site, while 57% aim to implement a DR solution between the production site and DR site.

Meanwhile, over 39% of the survey participants said that their need for DR seats is likely to emerge within the next two years.

The key outcomes were unveiled by eHosting DataFort (eHDF), the region’s leading managed IT services provider and a member of TECOM investments, which initiated the study in conjunction with UAE-based BCM consultancy ‘Continuity and Resilience’.

Conducted across nine Middle East countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, the report covered various industry verticals such as financial services (37%), IT/Telecom (16%) and government (10%).

The study measures the levels of BCM maturity and trends along with the importance of implementing BCM for driving operational efficiency within organizations in the Middle East.

eHosting DataFort aims to leverage the outcomes of the survey to identify improvement areas and facilitate the effective implementation of disaster recovery (DR) solutions in the region.

According to the survey, 16% of the respondents reported at least one significant business disruption during the last year, citing hardware/software failures, power failure, application infrastructure failure and site outages as the top four reasons. 

The survey respondents also indicated that IT infrastructure for disaster recovery, as well as training, awareness building, software and licenses are the key investment areas for the implementation of BCM. These investments could, however, be reduced by working with a third-party IT service provider to gain access to world-class data centres, state-of-the-art infrastructure and high-quality managed operations. 

The report found that close to 21% of the organisations have had a robust BCM programme in place for the past three years, while 14% have started maintaining and exercising their BC plan. The rest (65%) of the organisations either have no concrete plans to initiate a BCM programme or are still at different stages of implementation in the BCM lifecycle.

Out of the respondents that are still in different phases of the BCM lifecycle, around 50% conduct IT-DR drills. This outcome underscores the fact that some organisations are implementing IT-DR without necessarily adopting a holistic BCM programme. 

The survey further revealed that 57% of respondents rated their organisation’s BCM readiness as average or below average, 51% assessed their organisation’s IT DR readiness as average or below average, while 54% of respondents rated their organisation’s crisis management readiness as average or below average. 

In addition, the report also found that 65% of the respondents were not very sure of the overall reliability of their current IT backup and recovery systems and procedures. 

Interestingly, some industries indicated higher levels of maturity than others. For example, only one-third of the respondents outside the financial services sector felt that they have high levels of IT-DR readiness as compared to 72% of the respondents within the financial services sector.

Yasser Zeineldin, CEO at eHosting DataFort, said: “Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery have gained significant interest in the region as organisations prioritise the need for data protection and long term viability, commitment to good corporate governance and adherence to overseas regulations. 

The awareness and need for both BCM and DR has definitely increased in the minds of senior management. However, the maturity of BCM and DR readiness still needs to improve and the report indicates that companies are inclined to seek the expertise of service providers for this purpose.

“We are proud that eHDF has the ability to provide state-of-the-art disaster recovery services including a secondary disaster recovery site, business continuity seats and technologies to replicate data between the production and DR site. In fact, we have successfully implemented disaster recovery solutions for organisations such as Societe Generale Bank, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai World Trade Centre and many more.”

Dhiraj Lal, Executive Director at Continuity and Resilience, said: “The survey has revealed that BCM readiness in the region needs improvement and a number of organisations in the Middle East are, therefore, investing in business continuity solutions and working towards achieving certifications such as BS25999. The region is expected to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to BCM investments and this is being driven by the need to minimise customer disruptions in the eventuality of a disaster.”

Through this partnership with ‘Continuity and Resilience’, eHosting DataFort aims to continue educating customers about Business Continuity Management and the importance of disaster recovery. With world-class data centres, resilient and scalable infrastructure and round-the-clock managed operations, eHosting DataFort has established itself as a market leader in the field of hosting, DR and managed IT services.