IT backup a major part of business BCM strategies

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Eight in ten firms with business continuity management plans in place have IT backup arrangements.

There are so many unforeseen circumstances that can disrupt business operations or put companies out of action completely, and planning for them can be tricky.

Firms need to take into account the biggest risks to their offices, their staff and their supply chains and evaluate which incidents would have the biggest impact in terms of cost and reputation.

But it seems most organisations agree on the importance of protecting their IT systems and ensuring they can continue running in the event a major disruption.

A new report by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows that six in ten UK companies currently have business continuity management (BCM) arrangements in place.

Of these, eight out of ten have IT backup arrangements, while a similar proportion have strategies in place to maintain or recover business critical services.

Online and offsite backup can play a vital part in ensuring that important information is not lost following an incident that results in IT downtime.

The CMI survey shows that loss of IT is the second most common cause of business disruption after extreme weather conditions, affecting 39 per cent of firms last year.

What’s more, business managers rate it as their biggest concern and have done for the last five years, followed by loss of telecommunications and an inability to access their premises.

Other elements that make up most BCM strategies include arrangements for remote working, site emergency plans and alternative suppliers.

In a foreword to the report, Stuart Sterling, an assistant director within the Civil Contingencies Secretariat at the Cabinet Office, said businesses may be surprised by the number of things that can cause disruption to their operations.

"If you haven’t already considered it, then now is the time to put business continuity into your organisation," he remarked.

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