Growing Vulnerability to Internet-Related Business Disruptions

As a result of its growing reliance on the Internet for critical business applications, Corporate America is increasingly vulnerable to potentially devastating disruptions in its individual IT network infrastructures. This startling fact is part of the 1999 Vulnerability Index, released by Comdisco Inc., a provider of technology management services and co-sponsored by BellSouth, a strategic alliance partner of Comdisco.

The explosive growth of e-commerce and Internet-based business applications has placed companies at particular risk, since most organizations surveyed have failed to institute effective business recovery programs to support their Internet-based initiatives.

This latest research reveals that America’s e-business is seriously threatened by the underlying vulnerability of companies’ respective network infrastructures, and the failure to identify and address issues affecting system availability. One of the principal findings of the study is that only 30% of organizations have recovery plans in place for their Internet applications, and only 14% of those companies’ plans are effective. Despite the rapid commercial growth of the Internet, intranets and extranets, the overall vulnerability of Internet-based applications significantly exceeds those of other technology platforms and systems studied.

With the growing importance of the Internet, and the adoption of enterprise computing strategies organizations today are even more dependent on their networks. As a result, network vulnerability poses a significant corporate risk and it is important for organizations to implement business continuity processes to protect the availability of their mission-critical systems and applications. The survey found only 54% of organizations have network recovery plans in place.

The 1999 Vulnerability Index is a survey of 200 U.S. organizations, all heavy computer users from both the public and private sector. Areas of vulnerability probed by the new study focused on enterprise systems, wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs). Key findings include:

  • 30% of organizations do not have any business continuity plans in place.
  • 50% of organizations have applications that require 99% or greater availability.
  • 13% of organizations do nothing to ensure that level of availability.
  • Nearly one in four LANs is completely vulnerable to disaster or disruption.
  • 64% of organizations don’t have an effective plan to protect WANs.
  • The study validated that the development of a formal business continuity program significantly decreases an organization’s overall vulnerability and substantially reduces the average duration of any outages.

    The fourth in a series of studies first commissioned in 1993, the 1999 Vulnerability Index evaluates organizations’ preparedness in the event of a lack of access to computer systems, critical data and applications. In addition, the study measured the existence and effectiveness of formal plans for business recovery and continuity, and what steps organizations are taking to ensure the highest levels of system and data availability.

    For more information, visit Comdisco’s Web site at or visit Bell South at

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