UK Business Better Prepared for Disruption or Disaster

Press release

5 December 2006

British businesses are becoming better prepared for disruption or disaster according to the British Standards Institution (BSI) Business Barometer published today.

British businesses are becoming better prepared for disruption or disaster. According to the British Standards Institution (BSI) Business Barometer published today:

  • 80% of FTSE 250 companies would expect to last up to a week before feeling serious detrimental effects of a disruption or disaster
  • just under half (45%) have comprehensive supply chain failure plans
  • 41% are fully prepared for business relocation 
  • over half (51%) are very well prepared for IT systems failure.

BSI’s annual survey of FTSE 250 companies shows that 61% recognise the business benefits of Business Continuity Management (BCM) in terms of reducing risk, satisfying customer requirements, remaining competitive and winning new business.

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said: “The FTSE 250 has a market value of more than £260 billion , so the scale of the risk and the opportunity is enormous. While it is encouraging that companies are improving their thinking about continuity management they cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to being fully prepared.

“That’s why we’ve produced a new Business Continuity Management standard, BS 25999, the first part of which is now available for organisations of all sizes and sectors to use. By helping to put the fundamentals of a BCM system in place the standard is designed to keep businesses going during even the most challenging and unexpected circumstances – protecting staff, preserving reputation and providing a licence to operate.”

Firms feel vulnerable

While the results of BSI’s Business Barometer are encouraging, the findings reveal many companies are still putting themselves at unnecessary risk despite feeling a high level of vulnerability at the prospect of a crisis: nearly half (46%) said it would take less than a day for a serious disruption to impact significantly on their business.

Chris Green, Vice Chair, Business Continuity Institute and chairman of the BSI business continuity committee stated: “There is little doubt that using standards enhances productivity and competitiveness. Robust BCM standards such as BS 25999 can make supply chains more robust, improve enterprise stability, increase job security and ensure the flow of money into communities. Without this there is a significant risk to both economic growth and employment, let alone the fortunes of individual companies.”

Standards save businesses

For those companies who already implement British standards, there is an increased confidence in managing issues such as supply chain failure (55%) and forced business relocation (51%).

While 46% of businesses are required by customers to show they have business continuity measures in place, three quarters now ask their own suppliers to do the same.

Interestingly, 40% of businesses who are already committed to applying standards agree strongly that compliance with business continuity standards is likely to play an important role in staying competitive and winning new business in future, compared with only 26% of businesses overall.

The importance of being proactive

BSI’s research shows the importance of Business Continuity Management is increasingly being recognised. Companies are far better prepared in 2006 than 2005 to manage risks such as IT failure (51% in 2006 compared to a mere 27% in 2005); supply chain failure (45% in 2006 compared to 18% in 2005) and forced business relocation (41% in 2006 compared to 15% in 2005).

BS 25999 has been developed by a broad based group of world class experts to establish the process, principles and terminology of Business Continuity Management. It provides a basis for understanding, developing and implementing business continuity within an organisation to offer confidence in business-to-business and business-to-customer dealings. In addition, it also contains a comprehensive set of controls based on BCM best practice and covers the whole BCM lifecycle.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:

1. The following people are available for comment

  • Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards
  • Steve Mellish, Business Continuity Director for Sainsbury’s
  • Gordon Irving, Director of Group Security, Scottish Power plc
  • Prof. Jim Norton, Institute of Directors

2. About the research

Populus, the UK’s leading business trends researcher, interviewed 100 budget holders and budget decision makers in FTSE 250 companies between 11 and 29 September 2006.

3. About BS 25999

This British Standard has been developed by practitioners throughout the business continuity community, drawing upon their academic, technical and practical experiences of business continuity management (BCM). Its key aims are to:

  • provide a system based on good practice for business continuity management
  • serve as a single reference point for most situations where business continuity management is practised
  • be applicable for use by large, medium and small organizations in industrial, commercial, public and voluntary sectors.

Members of the BSI committee that developed the standard include Sainsbury’s, Marsh, Scottish Power and the IOD.

Learn more about the BS 25999 standard.

4. About BSI

BSI British Standards is the UK’s national standards body, working with government, businesses and consumers to represent UK interests and facilitate the production of British, European and international standards to meet economic and social needs.

5. About BSI’s Business Barometer

BSI’s Business Barometer is an annual poll based on interviews with 100 decision makers in FTSE 250 companies. It is now in its second year and explores the key issues facing businesses to gain understanding on the areas where standards could drive success.