CCE Theses and Dissertations


The State of Disaster Recovery Planning in Texas Small Businesses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Michael J. Laszlo

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Junping Sun


The purpose of this study was to determine the disaster recovery planning practices of small businesses in the state of Texas and to recommend improvements to those practices. For the purpose of this study, a Texas small business was defined as any organization in Texas with SO or fewer employees that is included in one of the 10 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) divisions.

The study was designed to determine the (a) existence of disaster recovery plans, (b) systems included in the plans, (c) disaster prevention and recovery tools and techniques used, (d) incidence of testing of the plans, and (e) geographic and economic factors affecting the disaster recovery planning practices. The study was also designed to identify disaster recovery planning practices in need of improvement.

A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data for this study. The questionnaire was mailed to 500 randomly selected Texas businesses. One hundred seven (24.6%) of the questionnaires were returned by the recipients. Seventy-one (16.3% of the total) of those questionnaires were returned by organizations meeting the study's definition of a Texas small business.

The responses to the questionnaires indicate that disaster recovery plans exist in 34% of the surveyed organizations, but 44.4% of those plans have never been tested. Statistical analysis using Fisher's Exact Test indicates there is an association between the amount of time employees spend working on computers and the existence of a disaster recovery plan in the organization. An association was also determined to exist between the amount of money an organization has invested in computer hardware and software and the existence of a disaster recovery plan in the organization. Recommendations for improving disaster recovery planning practices in Texas small businesses are presented. A checklist which can be used in evaluating existing disaster recovery plans and an outline for a simple recovery plan for small businesses are included.

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