--> Gill Blog: SMEs Don't Plan for Business Continuity and Telework

Gill Blog

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

SMEs Don't Plan for Business Continuity and Telework

Jo Verde from JeMM Consultants sent me some interesting tidbits over the past couple of weeks that neatly tie into some of themes we discus on this forum. To begin, consider the following item revealing that despite the urgency of maintaining a business continuity plan, a large number of small to mediums sized enterprises (SMEs) do not have any business continuity plans in place, but could significantly enhance their survivablity if such plans were put in place:
The London Chamber of Commerce (LCCI) - which represents 3,500 predominately small businesses - says that up to 44 per cent of small and medium-sized firms have no contingency plans in place and many of those that do fail to communicate to their staff effectively about what needs to be done in the event of a major emergency incident...

"The chronic lack of preparedness on the part of small and medium-sized firms is the greatest avoidable threat in the capital today," said LCCI president Michael Cassidy. "Directors owe it to themselves, their employees and other firms in the supply chain which depend on them to take action now."

We always on the need to integrate telework into business continuity planning. Although it makes perfect sense to us - especially in areas that might be vulnerable to a disruptive event - it seems as though the message just isn't getting through. This view is supported by the following press release:
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of mid-sized UK businesses make no provision for staff to work from home in the event of disruption or disaster, while less than a third (29%) have updated their business continuity plans since 7 July...

While two in three (63%) mid-sized organisations claim to have business continuity plans in place, in London this falls, alarmingly, to one in three (33%). In the event of being shut out, few employees would have access to the corporate network or even a list of contact details for their colleagues and clients.

It's interesting to also note that this piece points out that not only do a number of SMEs lack business continuity plans, but they seem to be unable to grasp the consequences of taking preventative action:
“With business continuity, it pays to be pessimistic – whilst large enterprises are more aware of the risks, small to medium businesses need to wake up and make preparations fast. As the research shows, many businesses aren’t even backing up data off-site – a simple and cost-effective means of protecting against data loss and ensuring business survival.

“The technology now exists to allow staff to easily work from home as if in the office simply by plugging into a broadband connection. But an alarming number of small and medium businesses are failing to plan for when offices can’t be accessed or for network failures.”

We'll have a couple of comments to make about broadband in the next post.