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First to worst: IT survey ranks 10 U.S. cities for disaster preparedness

New York, Houston get high marks, Twin Cities, Cleveland fall short

By Brian Fonseca
May 29, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - While businesses in New York and Houston should feel comfortable about their chances of weathering natural or man-made disasters, the same cannot be said for Cleveland and Minneapolis/St. Paul-based organizations, according to a new AT&T Business Continuity study released on Tuesday.

AT&T surveyed 10 major U.S. metropolitan areas between Jan. 17 and Feb. 14 and found that New York is the most prepared of the group, followed by:

2) Houston

3) San Francisco

4) Boston

5) Memphis/Nashville

6) Atlanta

7) Chicago

8) Los Angeles

9) Minneapolis/St. Paul

10) Cleveland

The results included responses from about 1,000 corporate IT managers collectively from the 10 cities, noted officials of San Antonio-based AT&T.

The rankings were based primarily on three criteria: the state of a city's business continuity plan; whether the city has adequately educated employees about the plan and installed systems to implement it; and on cybersecurity policies and the use of managed security.

By far, the survey respondents said man-made disasters are the greatest threat to their organizations, and 82% said they have implemented cybersecurity plans to thwart them. The top man-made threats listed were viruses and worms by 75% of respondents, hackers by 45% and SPAM by 37%.

Business executives in major U.S. cities that have been impacted by natural or man-made disasters in the past, most notably New York, have set business continuity concerns as a major priority, AT&T  found. 

Government warnings of impending disasters do not seem to carry much weight to private sector IT executives, according to the survey results. Of business executives that have already gone through a disaster, only 41% said they take immediate action when alerts are issued by federal or state government agencies. The number dropped to 33% for companies in cities that haven't been hit with major disasters.

In fact, the 2007 AT&T Business Continuity Study found that overall, 30% of companies say that business continuity planning is not a priority.

Read more about Disaster Recovery in Computerworld's Disaster Recovery Topic Center.

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