€17 billion is a lot of money.  It’s more than Gartner expects worldwide spending on computer security software to be in 2010.  It’s the same as global music sales in 2009.  You could even build five new Large Hadron Colliders to try to create your own Big Bang…


The reason I’m thinking about this huge figure and trying to make it meaningful is because of new survey that’s just been published.  It shows that European companies are losing more than €17 billion in revenue a year because of IT downtime and data recovery.  And even then that’s only taking into account 11 countries so the actual figure could be even more.  But the most striking point of the story to me is that a lot of that cost is avoidable, it’s an unnecessary financial loss.


If all of the companies surveyed paid more attention to their disaster recovery and data protection policies, then the IT outages they have to deal with would be fewer and shorter. Every extra minute taken to get everything up and running again, including all the data, is an extra minute the bottom line gets hammered.


With cost pressures mounting from the economic turmoil that we’re operating in, investing in the prevention of ‘things that might not happen’ has taken a backseat in recent years.  However, the costs of getting it wrong are so huge that this really is a false economy.  So maybe this survey should act as a wake-up call to businesses to re-evaluate their DR and data protection strategies.


It’s a self-evident truth that many companies fail to realize the impact that losing their data would have on them – until it happens. At which point it is clearly too late. To my mind, this survey reminds me of an emergency siren in which the only the flashing light is pulsating. The piercing wail that accompanies the light hasn’t yet gone off.  But when it does you’ll certainly know about it.  My advice is don’t ignore the light.  Act now before you are deafened by beseeching wails.