"A business may think they're pretty well covered because they're replicating data to an offsite data center miles away, but it may be on same power grid as their office building," said Al Berman, executive director of the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) in New York City. If that power grid goes down, the company and is offsite data center could both be affected at the same time.
Nelsestuen believes cloud services are over-hyped, particularly in the financial services industry. While Tower Group estimates that spending on cloud servicers will grow to $27 billion by 2015, that's only 5 percent or 6 percent of all IT spending in financial services.
"There's still so many issues associated with security and operational aspects of that," he said. "There is a huge effort to try to create internal clouds. They're virtualizing their platforms, and the hardware and the networks, so they have a continuous backup. But that's all internal."
In the end, said Witty, 9/11 taught companies lessons that are still being put into practice.
"There were huge gaps in what companies were able to do before 9/11," he said. "9/11 showed us there weren't business continuity programs [in place]. It showed us that managing your people and being able to track your people is important, [as is] being able to care for them, and ... having the employee assistance programs in place.
Working with police and other government agencies -- all that became extremely important [too]."
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Business Continuity in Computerworld's Business Continuity Topic Center.