Many state and local government IT professionals lack confidence in their disaster recovery and business continuity plans, according to a recent Government Technology survey. A poll of 164 senior-level officials found that nearly 60 percent of respondents rated their plans as average or worse — including 6 percent who said they have no plan at all.

The relatively low confidence in disaster recovery capabilities may be tied to a lack of testing. Although 46 percent of respondents said they test their procedures, 34 percent do not and 20 percent don’t know if they do. Of those conducting regular tests of disaster recovery and business continuity plans, most do so annually. Respondents listed a number of barriers to conducting regular disaster recovery tests — the most common being lack of organizational willingness (49 percent) and lack of funding (40 percent). Complexity of the plans themselves was cited by 35 percent of respondents, suggesting a high degree of dissatisfaction with current procedures.

The importance of having both workable disaster recovery/business continuity plans and testing them regularly is reflected in the fact that unplanned data loss is a relatively common occurrence. Nearly half (48 percent) of survey respondents said they’d experienced such an event within the past year.