PracticePeople In PracticeBusiness urged to plan for crisis.

Business urged to plan for crisis.

The Institute of Internal Auditors is set to issue new guidance on disaster recovery planning due to growing demand driven by natural disasters such as the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Fears over the millennium bug obliged companies to invest millions to fortify computer systems, but afterwards interest waned.

New concerns have arisen following last year’s floods, transport difficulties, and now foot-and-mouth, all of which have highlighted the value of investing time and money in a disaster recovery plan.

David Bentley, author of the IIA guidance, said: ‘The whole infrastructure has changed. It’s a more competitive world out there now. And this needs top management commitment.’

However, new research reveals disaster recovery continues to lack the attention it requires.

Respondents to a survey by GlobalContinuity.com, a business recovery portal, revealed the majority (59.5%) agreed the ‘attempt to turn business continuity planning into a wider management discipline has failed’.

‘The biggest problem is, of course, that business managers see it as an additional activity and not a core activity,’ said the IIA’s Bentley.

The impact on share prices has also driven disaster recovery planing to the forefront.

Andrew Wiczling, a disaster recovery expert whose clients include Cadburys and telecoms companies, said: ‘People lose confidence quickly which can, in turn, affect share prices. Traditionally companies didn’t like to advertise it if they took out disaster recovery plans. Now shareholders and customers are asking them about it.’

Threats of an economic slowdown could also result in budgets in this area getting cut, GlobalContinuity.com’s David Honour warned. He said talk of a slowdown had forced cuts: ‘It’s not a good decision to make, but an easy one.’

POOR SURVIVAL RATE FOR THE UNPREPARED:

Out of all IT-dependent companies which experience a major disaster without some form of contingency plan in place, 40% never reopen.

Some 40% of affected IT-dependent companies reopen but fail within the next 18 months and 12% reopen but fail within five years, according to the Business Continuity Institute. Only 8% of companies survive in the long-term.

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