Report suggests that firms are over confident in business continuity provisions

A study of businesses and organisations based in the UK and Europe has found that many could be placing an unwarranted degree of confidence in their current business continuity plans.

Market analyst Marsh produced its annual report into the attitudes and opinions surrounding business continuity management (BCM). The report is based upon input from 225 respondents from within the business world.

The main discrepancy noted in the report is between the 83 per cent of those questioned who said BCM was central to mitigating and managing risks against the 30 per cent who said that their ability to intelligently tackle issues and make firm decisions following disasters had been improved as a result of BCM.

Although this might be seen as troubling, the overall message delivered in the report is that BCM is now higher on the agenda for most businesses in the EU. Marsh concluded that the heightened awareness did not correlate with the extent and scope of the planning in many businesses. This leaves firms exposed with inadequate contingency plans. In many cases, improved BCM has been achieved only after a disaster had provided an all-too-practical demonstration as to the failings of a previous plan.

Marsh said that although businesses appreciate the need for some kind of plan to ensure business continuity, it can be difficult to explain just how significant such measures can be to those who have so far remained unaffected by their absence.

Marsh’s Hugh Morris said that many of the larger businesses involved in the survey were unrealistic as to the threats facing them and the recent travel disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud proved that focusing solely on physical impact to supply chains was not enough to appreciate the wider risk.

Business continuity experts believe that the best way in which to prepare businesses for disruption with adequate BCM is in educating the senior management team. The importance of so doing is in direct correlation with the complexity of a given business.

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