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A survey of Canadian mid-sized businesses published for Business Continuity Awareness Week took the pulse of managers, owners and executives to find out what types of disasters they had encountered, and what their level of preparedness they felt they had in place.

The 2019 Business Continuity Survey – a poll of 500 businesses – was conducted between May 8-10 by Angus Reid Global for FirstOnSite Restoration, a Canadian company that has responded to every catastrophic event across the country over recent years.

When asked ‘has your business been interrupted by a disaster in the past five years’ –  winter storms and communication failure were the two highest culprits. One third of respondents had seen their business interrupted by a winter storm and one third had also seen business interruption by communications failure (server down for extended period, telco outage, etc.).

According to the survey, the top reasons that Canadian business were interrupted over the past five years are:

  • Winter storms (36 percent)
  • Communications failure (35 percent)
  • Mechanical flooding (8 percent)
  • Natural flooding (9 percent)
  • Fire (8 percent)
  • Wildfires (5 percent)
  • Hurricane or tornado (3 percent)
  • Earthquake (1 percent).

When asked why their business is not more prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters, the results were split:

  • One-in-four businesses (26 percent) say that their business is fully prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters;
  • One-in-four businesses (26 percent) also responded that emergencies or disasters weren’t an urgent concern for their business;
  • 16 percent responded that their business wasn’t yet willing to spend time or money on this;
  • One-in-10 answered that their business has been putting this off, and one-in-10 also answered that they didn’t know enough about disaster preparedness.

How often do you review your business continuity plan?

Survey respondents were asked about how often they reviewed their business continuity plans. Once every year is the most common interval (30 percent) followed by every few years (14 percent), more than one per year (8 percent), and, surprisingly, never (6 percent). More than four-in-10 businesses either don’t have a business continuity plan (19 percent) or don’t know if they have one (24 percent).

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Business continuity can be defined as 'the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that an organization can continue to function through an operational interruption'. Read more about the basics of business continuity here.

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