Annual Business continuity study published

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has just co-authored a report with the UK Cabinet Office to analyse the state of business continuity management in organisations around the country.

The Disruption and Resilience report is arguably the most respected of its kind and the latest edition reveals that 51 per cent of firms do not have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that business can continue without being seriously compromised in the event of a disaster.

The CMI’s Ruth Spellman said that many organisations had simply chosen to ignore advice and guidance as to the importance of business continuity planning. She went on to say that more businesses need to see business continuity as an essential tool rather than a luxury and also highlighted the threat posed to the UK economy by having the majority of businesses operating in an exposed state.

Of the respondents to the survey who have contingencies in place, nearly 80 per cent were required to act on them in 2009 and in most cases the survey found that without planning, the negative effects would have been serious.

The biggest disaster of the last 12 months was identified as the heavy snowfall in December, which affected the operational capacities of 93 per cent of respondents. However, extreme weather was considered to be the most significant threat to business continuity by only 48 per cent of those questioned.

The risks of IT and telecommunications outages were playing on the minds of more than two thirds of business managers.

Those businesses that do have continuity plans in place have been found to test their practical applications infrequently, with under half operating an annual testing scheme.

The Cabinet Office’s Stuart Sterling said that he understood the economic squeeze had hit most UK businesses recently, resulting in a downgrading of business continuity planning as it is seen as less of a pressing issue. However, Mr Stirling also said that those who remained unprepared would have to accept that they could face failure in extreme conditions that threaten their business at a persistent level.

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