Survey-based research carried out by Crises Control and the Continuity Forum has looked into business continuity practices within UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).The research was carried out using a mixture of in depth phone calls and an online survey.
98 percent of SMEs that responded to the survey agreed that business continuity planning is a vital protection for their business, with just 2 percent saying that they didn’t see the need for it.
88 percent actually had some form of business continuity planning in place, with another 6 percent saying that it was important but not urgent and 4 percent saying that they did have the time or resources for it right now. However, 44 percent of those who did have business continuity planning in place had never tested. This means that just less than half of SMEs surveyed had a tested business continuity plan in place. With no proper testing of their plans, businesses are exposing themselves to failure of their plans during a real business disruption event.
SMEs saw the importance of communication and all respondents had some form of communications channel in place they could use during a business disruption event that left them without power, telecoms or access to their building. However, some of these were not appropriate or effective for the modern business. 46 percent still use phone call trees, which is a very inefficient method of communication compared to modern tools such as automated or conference phone calls. 28 percent of SMEs use WhatsApp, which is great for talking to friends or even work colleagues about low-level non-critical issues, but which lacks the enterprise class security and administrative functionality necessary for critical business communications, says Crises Control.
What did become clear, especially during the interview research, was that SMEs recognised that they needed guidance on business continuity planning best practice. They were also very keen on the opportunity to share experiences with their peers and learn from each other about how to improve the resilience of the business in which they had invested everything. In response, Crises Control, in partnership with the Continuity Forum, has decided to launch a series of free online and face-to-face workshops. These workshops will be aimed at providing the SME business community with the opportunity to network with each other, and with business continuity experts, to help them with their business resilience planning.