Companies expanding to an international market need to have a firm backup plan in place in order to guarantee optimal functionality.

When it comes to disaster recovery, don’t ignore overseas business

Stephen Perkins

A new report suggested that companies do not devote the same attention regarding data recovery to overseas operations that they do to mainland activity. This lack of focus on international operations can prove extremely detrimental to business.

Chubb Risk Survey points to lack of international focus among business data recovery plans
Carried out annually, this year's Chub Multinational Risk Survey suggested that despite the many threats posed to businesses that choose to expand operations overseas, companies are not taking the necessary efforts to plan for data recovery, according to Continuity Central. 

The survey, which polled businesses across the U.S. and Canada, found that more than 50 percent plan to enhance overseas operations in the coming year. This increase makes sense, since the widespread use of cloud computing and mobile workloads has enabled businesses to easily expand operations.

However, broadening the scope of company activity comes with several high risk factors that threaten to disrupt company operates and potentially prompt the need for an expedient disaster recovery strategy. The main risks outlined in Chub's report are as follows:

  • ​Supply chain risk: Overseas, an unanticipated business interruption has the potential to derail operations if the company is not prepared. And yet the survey found that despite widespread efforts toward expansion, the proper safeguarding measures are not in place. Alarmingly, a mere 56 percent of businesses polled said they had a plan in place to save overseas business in the event of something like a supply chain failure. This means that for 44 percent of companies, the failure of something like a company server overseeing critical supplies could result in irrevocable data loss.
  • Employee travel and mobile security risks: The age of bring your own device has enabled more employees to work remotely, thereby increasing the productivity of the company. But if businesses don't have a data recovery plan in place for BYOD machines, they risk the permanent loss of important enterprise data. Data stored on mobile devices can be lost in many different ways. One key threat is mobile malware, which can find its way onto an employee's phone and either hold information for ransom or leave it otherwise compromised. Of those surveyed companies that said they had mobile security in place, 39 percent said one security feature was the administrative ability to wipe a BYOD mechanism clean if it is breached or stolen. But this plan can only be successful if the company has back up data storage for the information from the device.  

Despite risks, companies are not implementing the disaster recovery plans that they need
The fact that only 56 percent of respondent businesses said they had an overseas enterprise continuity plan in place points to the need for all companies with an international platform to evaluate their protective infrastructure, particularly with regard to an online data backup. As Chubb Vice President Jay Taylor was quoted as saying in PropertyCasualty360, "The bad news is—56 percent in my world…would be an F."

For Taylor, the idea that 44 percent of companies surveyed lack the infrastructure to handle a major incident like a data loss scenario is more than a little alarming. 

"Having a plan in place is critical," he said. "A business that does have major business-continuity; business-disaster issue—approximately 80 percent of those don't come back after a year."

Exploring international markets can absolutely be a productive business decision. But if this choice is not made with a comparably firm commitment to data protection, the move to the global market can prove more damaging than business-enhancing. Fortunately, it is not particularly difficult for companies to build up an international business recovery plan, and in doing so ensure smooth operations across the board.

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