Are manufacturers prepared for the worst?

A recent survey by industrial IT solutions provider, SolutionsPT, designed to unearth attitudes to business continuity amongst the manufacturing community, has revealed that many companies are still exposing their businesses to risk.

A survey of key decision makers across engineering and IT directors found that although all respondents had been tasked with achieving 100% availability of their plant systems, 40% admitted that they were less than confident in their organisation's ability to get up and running again after a critical IT failure.

According to the survey, 60% of manufacturers have a traditional on-site infrastructure and the majority (65%) have no plans to migrate to the cloud because of fears over data security.

Further research from SolutionsPT has shown that the majority of manufacturing businesses are still reliant on locally based disk or tape back-ups; despite the fact they have a failure rate of between 41-72%.

Probably the most sobering finding of SolutionsPT's research is that 40% of manufacturing businesses admit to having lost critical business data after a major infrastructure failure.

Paul O'Connell, Business Continuity Specialist: "Manufacturing organisations are highly reliant on their industrial IT infrastructure but businesses are leaving themselves open to a range of risks by failing to protect their critical infrastructures. As a result, downtime can mean lost revenue, missed deadlines and damaged reputations. In some cases, loss of systems or data can bring production to a standstill.

"Our findings show that there are businesses out there that have not yet planned an effective continuity solution in case of failure. An effective IT infrastructure and recovery plan is vital for businesses of every size, but the cost of IT failures is amplified in larger organisations - particularly in plant or manufacturing environments - where downtime resulting from IT failures can cost millions of pounds.

"Organisations must continually challenge their infrastructure teams to determine if and how they could recover from an IT failure and, crucially, how long that recovery would take. In addition, it's important to remember that in business continuity planning, it's as much about nailing a process as the technology itself. Having a back-up solution is not the same as having a business continuity strategy! Continual assessment is vital to ensure an organisation is protected."

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