IT firms have been accused of being complacent over preparing for possible contingency plans in the event of a disaster, despite a decade of continued warnings.
The accusations were made by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and Cabinet Office, which warned that organisations are not doing enough to guard against technology and utility failures, enforced staff absence or the impact of extreme weather.
The two bodies, which questioned senior executives from across the sector in a study, argue that many UK employers in the IT sector are ignoring concerns outlined in the National Risk Register, with 38 per cent of respondents saying their firm had plans in place to cope with business disruption.
In addition 33 per cent of organisations don’t test their continuity plans at all, despite 54 per cent of UK managers in the IT sector being worried about electronic attacks, 49 per cent worried that human disease will knock out the workforce and 35 per cent are concerned about the impact of severe weather.
However just 30 per cent of organisations have plans in place to cater for IT loss, and only 17 per cent are prepared to cope with enforced absence of staff or severe weather.
Interestingly the study revealed that in the current environment, 25 per cent of those questioned experienced problems due to negative publicity or damage to brand reputation resulting from poor business continuity planning.
Petra Wilton, director of policy and research at the CMI said: “Despite warnings, and in spite of the huge publicity surrounding natural and malicious disasters, it seems that employers still have a long way to go before they can claim to be truly resilient. Particularly now, with revenue and cash-flow under pressure, the last thing any business needs is disruption to their services. In short, the UK will continue to suffer lost revenue unless business continuity management is taken seriously from the top, and throughout organisations.”
Bruce Mann, director of the civil contingencies secretariat at the Cabinet Office, says: “It is easy to put off attending to risks, and let thought of business continuity preparation slip down the agenda. This short sightedness can be extremely costly. A failure to provide adequate protection could mean more than a minor headache lasting a few hours or days, but could mean a loss of trade to competitors and the eventual failure of an organisation.”
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