SMEs unprepared for business risk

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New research suggests small and medium-sized businesses often disappoint customers because they lack business continuity planning.

An online survey of more than 1,000 small business owners and managers from the UK revealed that only one third of SMEs are taking steps to ensure their business will continue to operate normally in the event of disruption.

The research was carried out by research firm YouGov and funded by business continuity vendor SunGuard Availability Services.

Stephen Rankin, regional director for UK employers' organisation, the Confederation of British Industry, commented on the research.

“Companies cannot afford to be out of action for any extended period of time because they risk losing customers in the short term and damaging their relationship in the longer term,” he said.

“This survey highlights the fact that some businesses have a long way to go in getting their plans up to scratch,” he added.

From those surveyed, 40 per cent said a computer hardware failure would be detrimental to their business while only 10 per cent said they would be able to function as normal.

Also, less than ten per cent of the SME managers had heard of BS 25999, the first British Standard for Business Continuity Management, which was launched at the end of last year and sets best practice for business continuity plans.

After the managers were informed of the standard, 30 per cent said they would apply for certification.

SunGuard Availability Services said the results of the survey had spurred it to release a new consultancy and business continuity training service for SME companies.

It is called SafetyNet 24/7 and is available to UK customers immediately.

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