IT Execs: Hacking Will Be Most Significant Threat in Next Five Years

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<strong>San Antonio &mdash; June 2 </strong><br />Despite the man-made and natural disasters that are a reality today, many businesses are not fully prepared to maintain their business operations in the event of an emergency, according to an annual AT&T Inc. study on business-continuity and disaster-recovery preparedness for U.S. businesses in the private sector.<br /><br />According to the report, one in five businesses does not have a business-continuity plan developed. Additionally, for the third year in a row, the national survey finds that nearly 30 percent of U.S. businesses do not consider business-continuity planning a priority.<br /><br />For the seventh consecutive year, AT&T&#39;s Business Continuity Study surveyed IT executives from companies throughout the United States that have at least $25 million in annual revenue to get their views on disaster-planning and business-continuity trends.<br /><br />Key findings from the 2008 AT&T Business Continuity Study include:<br /><br /><ul><li>Security continues to be key. Even though organizations have learned how to better recognize and even deal with worms, viruses and other threats, there&#39;s no question security remains a critical concern.</li><li>Two-thirds of IT executives predict hacking will emerge as the most significant threat to cybersecurity in the next five years. The next most frequently mentioned threats are internal, including accidents (56 percent), sabotage (47 percent) and remote workers (44 percent).</li><li>Organizations may evolve, but business-continuity plans are left untouched. Six out of 10 companies have made some type of business change in the past year that would warrant updating their business-continuity plans. However, only 28 percent updated the plans. Business changes cited by respondents include initiated new or expanded marketing efforts, expanded office space or a moved office, initiated new or expanded online or digital customer service or ordering capabilities or the company made an acquisition or merged.</li><li>Simplicity is important with hosted solutions. Even though a hosted environment can provide a company with the resources it needs to continue its business operations, businesses have concerns. Sixty percent of IT executives view security, reliability and cost as their top concerns when thinking about using a hosted environment, and 37 percent are concerned about complexity.</li><li>Too much information, not enough space to store it. More than one-fourth (28 percent) of IT executives have experienced problems in the past year with insufficient storage space on their companies&rsquo; computers or servers for virtual records.</li><li>Employee communication is critical. The vast majority (79 percent) of companies surveyed have special arrangements for communicating with key executives during a natural disaster. Although 80 percent of companies have automated text-messaging or e-mail capabilities to reach employees outside of work, only 39 percent of companies have automated calling systems to reach those employees by telephone or mobile phone.</li></ul><br /><br />"Businesses of all sizes need to be vigilant about business-continuity planning, especially in light of the fact that day-to-day demands of running a business are mounting," said Bill Archer, chief marketing officer of AT&T Business. <br /><br />"However, a business-continuity plan is not enough, and in fact, not all companies have one in place. Organizations must regularly test and update their plans to reflect changes in their business so that, in the event of disaster or major security breach, they can be best prepared to restore and maintain key processes and operations."<br /><br />AT&T brings its own business-continuity and disaster-recovery expertise in running and managing some of the world&#39;s largest and most complex networks to businesses worldwide.<br /><br />AT&T offers a wide array of business continuity services, encompassing disaster planning, risk management, recovery preparedness and communications readiness. AT&T Business Continuity Services are comprehensive, providing enterprises with business-impact analysis, risk assessments, a full continuum of storage solutions, high-availability network solutions and network and IT security solutions.<br /><br />The company also conducts Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) exercises several times a year. These are designed to test, refine and strengthen AT&T&#39;s business-continuity and disaster-recovery services to minimize network downtime. By simulating large-scale disasters and network service disruptions, AT&T can apply and refine best practices for rapidly restoring communications to government and business customers.<br /><br />Throughout the past 10 years, AT&T has invested more than $500 million in its NDR program, which includes specially trained managers, engineers and technicians from across the United States, as well as a fleet of more than 150 self-contained equipment trailers and support vehicles that house the same equipment and components as an AT&T data-routing or voice-switching center. <br />

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