SMEs seek to improve business continuity and disaster recovery

A study carried out by analyst firm Forrester, has concluded that many small and medium sized businesses are going to be focusing on improving their disaster recovery and business continuity plans within the next year.

Business continuity planning has to take into account a large number of scenarios, from power cuts and flooding, to natural disasters and security breaches, according to Forrester’s Stephanie Balaouras.

Balaouras explained that the decision makers at the head of smaller firms and enterprises had been reluctant to invest in business continuity and disaster recovery in the past, because there is inadequate data relating to the probability of the most catastrophic events ever occurring.

To counteract this problem, various data protection firms and analysts have compiled formal explanations of why business continuity planning is essential. Balaouras cited a recent statistic which found an average business would encounter nearly 400 disasters annually, equating to nearly 70 billion pounds of lost business each year.

In 2009 the league table for the most disaster-affected nation was headed by the US, with catastrophes costing the economy close to 7 billion. It was followed by China, which lost around 3 billion to disasters and then France, which saw 2 billion slip away in the same manner.

Industry watchdogs are attempting to promote the importance of a business’ ability to recover operational viability as quickly as possible in the event of a disaster and Balaouras identified 22 different global initiatives with this goal in mind.

SMEs are likely to benefit from business continuity planning, not just in the event of a disaster, but when they seek to secure business partnerships with third party firms. A study conducted two years ago found that 80 per cent of businesses had been asked to prove their disaster recovery capabilities before entering into a working relationship with another organisation.

Over a third of the respondents to Forrester’s recent survey said that they were going to be bolstering investment in business continuity over the next year by a minimum of five per cent, while only a tenth said that they were having to cut spending in this area.

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