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First Onsite Property Restoration has released a survey of Canadian businesses that takes the pulse of how they prioritize disaster preparedness. Taken during the peak of the pandemic, the survey reveals that more than half of businesses (52 percent) have placed an increased priority on business continuity and disaster recovery since the start of COVID-19.

Although managers have realized the importance of preparedness and planning for business continuity, only two-in-five businesses are very confident that their company is prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters.

First Onsite surveyed managers, owners, executives, and employees at 500 companies to find out what types of disasters they had encountered, and the level of preparedness they felt they had in place.

Four-in-five Canadian business have been interrupted for one of several reasons over the past five years. Of those who have experienced interruptions, the pandemic leads the way:

  • 77 percent of business interruptions over the past five years have taken place due to the pandemic
  • 45 percent of interruptions have taken place due to communication outages (server down, telco outage, etc.)
  • 43 percent have taken place due to winter storms
  • 23 percent due to flooding (13 percent mechanical and 10 percent natural)
  • One-in-five have taken place due to windstorms / hurricanes / tornados / tropical storms
  • 12 percent due to fires (8 percent wildfires and 4 percent structural fires).

One-in-five businesses have not been interrupted or have not been aware of any interruptions

The study found only 37 percent of businesses feel fully prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters. Meanwhile, one-in-10 feel this isn’t an urgent concern, seven percent feel they are not investing the appropriate amount, five percent have been putting this off due to resource constraints and three percent are unprepared or don’t know enough about the topic.

When respondents were asked which types of future disasters they were concerned about affecting their business, pandemics took the lead:

  • 75 percent of businesses were concerned about pandemics affecting their business
  • 72 percent were concerned about communication outages
  • 56 percent were concerned about winter storms
  • 44 percent were concerned about structural fires
  • 35 percent per cent were concerned about windstorms / hurricanes / tornados / tropical storms
  • 33 percent were concerned about mechanical flooding
  • 30 percent were concerned about natural flooding
  • 17 percent were concerned about wildfires
  • 17 percent were concerned about earthquakes.

To understand how businesses prepare, the poll asked how often disaster recovery plans are tested. Only 46 percent of businesses test/review them at least once a year. Twelve percent of businesses never test/review their plans and eight percent do not have a disaster recovery plan at all.

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Business continuity?

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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