| 07 August 2012
The shocking violence that rocked the UK’s biggest cities during the riots of 2011, accounted for almost 60 per cent of the business continuity plans being invoked during August, 2011, according to Phoenix which has just published results from its annual invocation statistics survey.
The data released by Phoenix is designed to show the number and nature of reasons why business continuity plans are invoked amongst its 2,000 strong customer base, highlighting trends and emerging risks.
Traditionally, companies have focused on the likelihood of major disasters, such as terrorism, extreme weather or fire, when invoking a business continuity plan. The riots of last summer were on an unprecedented scale, over a significant geographic area, thrusting business continuity planning into the mainstream and forcing business to redefine what it considers a risk.
According to Mike Osborne at Phoenix, the impact of the riots forced all businesses to sit up and reassess the threats to their organisation: “The disgraceful scenes of last summer impacted all elements of the UK. From a corporate perspective the business continuity focus has always been on more obvious disaster related threats, however the destructive and widespread actions of those individuals last summer forced firms to rethink risks. We’ve been conducting invocation statistics for over 10 years now and this is the first time large scale civil unrest has been included. It’s emphasised the need to constantly reassess the threats to a business in order to ensure it is able to operate in the most unlikely situations. The fact is that the tough economic climate creates a new level of risk, of which civil unrest and social pressures leading to higher crime rates are just two consequences. ”
In addition, the results from the survey also build on those seen in Phoenix’s 2011 business continuity statistics, highlighting the impact of hardware failure and power outages, which, combined with planned outages, counted for almost 80 per cent of invoked business continuity plans over the period.
This re-emphasises the need for firms to not only assess major external incidents impacting businesses but also the more mundane internal issues that can often be glanced over but have significant disruptive and cost impact.
“When we released our 2011 findings, we highlighted that a lot of businesses were ill-prepared for more mundane incidents and it seems to be the situation has not changed,” said Mike Osborne. “If the events of last summer taught us anything it is that disasters are not pre-defined – they evolve and respond to circumstance. In order to ensure you remain operational you need to constantly assess all areas of your business – internally and externally. Not all customers are understanding, in the event of your business suffering an incident, and therefore it’s imperative that firms have a wide-ranging and non-prescriptive business continuity plan in place to cope for every eventuality. This will not only safeguard your organisation but your customers as well.”