SMEs continue to ignore business continuity issues

More than three-quarters of small- and medium-sized firms in the UK have not reviewed their business processes since the July terror attacks, according to research.

The report, compiled for insurance firm Axa by Henley Management College, also shows that 46% of SMEs don’t have a business continuity plan, while more than a third (37%) admit they have relied on luck when making an important business decision.

The Out-of-Business As Usual? report, based on responses from 1,240 small business managers, uncovers four key assumptions made by companies which explain their lack of action on business continuity planning.

These are:

  • The business cannot afford the costs or management time to make continuity plans

  • The business will be able to survive the period of interruption, both financially and in terms of customer tolerance

  • Many problems are either too small to matter or too large to deal with, and that those within a conceptual ‘comfort zone’ will be manageable as they happen

  • If a crisis hasn’t happened yet, it’s not urgent enough to plan for

Douglas Barnett, risk control and strategy manager at Axa, said:  “Too many of Britain’s SMEs bury their heads in the sand when it comes to continuity planning, assuming they can deal with problems as and when they arise.

“The stark fact that 40% of businesses suffer a terminal failure as a result of an incident proves that more needs to be done.

“Continuity planning can be a simple, practical measure whereby senior managers ask a series of ‘What if’ questions, and for most businesses, the only cost to the business will be their time.”


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