December 13, 2018

Top Threats to Business Continuity Revealed…

March 17 – 21 marks Business Continuity Awareness Week, the event that makes us think about the potential cost of not having a suitable business continuity plan. The Business Continuity Institute (BCI) survey reminds us that anticipating risk, preparing, responding and adapting to increasing IT threats has never been more important.

The latest annual BCI Horizon Scan survey, in association with BSI, reveals that unplanned IT and telecom outages, cyber attacks and data breaches remain the top three threats to business continuity around the world.

Rising above threats such as natural disasters, fire or acts of terrorism, the findings demonstrate the potential impact of existing and emerging technologies on businesses safety. It also highlights the importance of effective business continuity planning in order to pre-empt problems and successfully respond in worst-case scenarios.

Respondents also expressed concern over new data laws and legislations, with ‘New Laws or Regulations’, such as the enhanced requirements of the new FCA, entering as a top ten concern for the first time.

Top three concerns

690 people responded from 82 countries

1. Unplanned IT and telecom outages

Downtime affects productivity, profits and business reputation. It’s not surprising therefore that three quarters (77%) of respondents expressed extreme concern or concern about the possibility of an unplanned IT or telecoms outage.

2. Cyber attack

Many major retailers and financial institutions have been victims of high profile cyber attacks. The BCI survey reports that concerns have increased in the last year, with 73% of respondents currently worried about the possibility of a cyber attack.

3. Data breach

Businesses that lose or fail to protect sensitive or confidential data can incur huge monetary losses and hefty fines. The report revealed that 73% worry about the possibility of a data breach – the same number as cyber attacks.

While the top three threats remain the same as last year, the percentage of people showing concern for these threats has grown considerably during the year. The next cluster of threats includes:

4. Adverse weather

5. Interruption to utility supply

6. Fire

7. Security incident

8. Health and safety incident

9. Act of terrorism

10. New laws or regulations

According to the data, some threats such as adverse weather are more worrying to Business Continuity Managers in particular industries or geographical locations.  Respondents in Canada, for instance, were one of just a few countries to class adverse weather as an extreme threat to business continuity. This may be due to the recent polar vortex creating extremely cold temperatures in North America.

Similarly, those in the UK located near major rivers or within flood plains may well register a much higher “weather” concern when the survey is repeated later this year following two solid months of flooding.

While some threats are more significant to particular people, other concerns such as the impact of changing technology and challenges surrounding data and new legislation are clearly felt by Business Continuity Managers around the world.   

Marcie Terman, CEO of DATAFORT commented “We have seen a number of clients enhance their business continuity and data protection in the last 12 months. We believe this is due to a combination of concern about the threats, the new FCA regulations coming into force and an increasing realization that the added security of enterprise grade business continuity doesn’t need to cost the earth”

To read the full 2014 BCI Horizon Scan report, register at BCI. You can also contact DATAFORT for advice on managing risks and the continuity of your operations.