SAN FRANCISCO — More than five months after the events of Sept. 11, many companies still do not have immediate plans for safeguarding their data, according to a senior level IBM Corp. executive.

Todd Gordon, vice-president of business

continuity and recovery services for IBM Global Services, said companies currently lack any enterprise-wide security plan, the people to implement it, the facilities for it, or even a crisis response plan. Gordon was speaking as part of IBM’s PartnerWorld conference taking place this week.

Gordon added that he spends most of his time responding to customers who are unsophisticated about disaster recovery planning.

“”Disaster recovery used to be about insurance, but now I’m trying to change the mindset of customers that it’s not about insurance but about keeping your business running,”” he said.

IBM had 1,200 clients within a three-block radius of the World Trade Center and more than half are not back to 100 per cent performance. Gordon said they are either working out of temporary offices or their employees are unable to focus on work because of the terrorist attacks on the United States last fall.

“”Most companies did not have a plan for backup,”” he said. “”More than 100,000 workstations were lost at the World Trade Center in the attacks on Sept. 11. The data on those machines were lost.””

Gordon cited a recent CIO survey where 54 per cent of 320 IT professionals interviewed 30 days after Sept. 11 said that they would not change anything about their disaster recovery plan.

“”I can’t fathom why they said no,”” Gordon said, though he added that there is increased spending being budgeted for disaster recovery and that virus scanning and intrusion detection are now one of the top five priorities today. Two years ago less than one per cent made security a priority. “”It was off the radar screen,”” Gordon said.

With that, IBM is trying to step up its offering for partners in this area. At PartnerWorld, Symantec Corp. announced that IBM’s Managed Security Services will deploy Symantec Intruder Alert as one of its host-based intrusion detection solutions to help secure e-business infrastructures.

“”Symantec is a best-of-breed partner and this host-based solution for our managed security services will be available for nominal fees,”” Gordon said.

Gartner said two out of five enterprises that experience a disaster go out of business within the next five years. A Gartner report categorized disasters as hurricanes, floods and power outages.

“”After a hurricane, flood or a power outage there is always spike of interest in data security and then it returns to normal,”” he said. “”Companies (still) need to revamp their business continuity planning.””

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