I wrote about disaster preparedness in 2011, in "SMBs Not Prepared For Disasters, Don't Act Until It's Too Late," and it appears the situation hasn't gotten much better. As recent cyber-attacks and natural disaster events have shown, the need for IT disaster recovery preparedness has never been greater. However, research indicates that less than half of all companies have a disaster recovery plan in place, and even fewer have actually tested their plans to see if they will work as expected.

This need to uncover the value of disaster recovery planning and testing—as well as gain a better understanding of disaster recovery best practices to make preparedness more cost-effective and efficient—was the driving force behind a recently created Disaster Recovery Preparedness (DRP) Council. Formed by IT business, government, and academic leaders to address these concerns, the DRP Council's mission is to increase DRP awareness, and improve disaster recovery practices.

The DRP Council has developed an online Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark (DRPB) Survey. This survey is designed to give business continuity, disaster recovery, compliance audit, and risk management professionals a measure of their own preparedness in recovering critical IT systems running in virtual environments.

“Users can now benchmark their own disaster recovery preparedness and find out real answers about how they would be able to get their IT systems up and running within a realistic time frame to meet stringent business requirements,” said Steve Kahan, Chairman of the DRP Council. “Just 10 minutes of their time will provide them with some immediate feedback and a benchmark score that rates their disaster recovery preparedness against other companies that have participated.”

The DRPB survey provides a benchmarking score from 0 to 100 that measures the implementation of IT disaster recovery best practices. DRPB benchmarking scores parallel the familiar US grading system, whereby a score of 90-100 is an “A” or superior grade; 80-89 is a “B” or above-average grade; 70-79 is a “C” or average grade; and 60-69 is a “D” or unsatisfactory grade. Below 60 rates as an “F” or failing grade.

The DRPC is an independent research group engaged in IT disaster recovery management, research, and benchmarking in order to deliver practical guidance for how to improve business continuity and disaster recovery.