Research published last week by Databarracks highlighted the growing gap between large and small organisations when it comes to preparing in advance for the impact of business disruption incidents. The survey of over 400 IT professionals in the UK revealed that only 30 percent of small organisations had a business continuity plan in place, compared with 54 percent of medium and 73 percent of large businesses. Only 40 per cent of the small organisations without a business continuity plan intended to implement one over the next 12 months.
This low level of business disruption planning displays a worrying attitude to risk by those organisations that can afford it the least. The bigger the organisation is the more resources it has to call upon if disaster strikes and the longer it can probably afford to weather the storm without fatal consequences. Small businesses may plead that they do not have the resources to put into contingency planning, but the impact of even a couple of weeks out of action is likely to be enough to send some small businesses without capital reserves to the wall.
Even those small businesses that do have continuity plans in place appear to be unlikely to test them as regularly as they should. The survey found that large organisations are more than twice as likely to have tested their disaster recovery plans in the last year compared to small organisations. ‘Lack of time’ was deemed to be the biggest factor for all organisations not testing their disaster recovery plans (35 percent), this was followed by ‘cost’ (18 percent) and ‘lack of skilled staff to carry out testing’ (18 percent). No-one should leave it until a business disruption incident occurs to test whether the plan works actually works. That is the very worst moment to find out that your plan is not fit for purpose.
Having a business disruption plan in place and testing it regularly is vital for any size of business, small as well as large. That is why one of the key features of our soon-to-be-launched Crises Control app is the ability to test the plan, and the responsiveness of the business continuity team to it, with the minimum of time and effort. Not only can you test the responsiveness of your team with no more than a few minutes’ effort, but you will also get automated management reports on the results of the tests to engage with and build a truly responsive business continuity team for your organisation.