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Fosblog Post Linked Continuitysurvey 051519

Winter storms, communications failure top list of business interruptions over past 5 years

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In support of Business Continuity Awareness Week, Angus Reid Global conducted a survey of 500 Canadian mid-sized businesses to find out what types of disasters that managers, owners and executives had encountered, and what their level of preparedness they felt they had in place. The 2019 Business Continuity Survey was conducted on behalf of FirstOnSite.

In response to the question, “Has your business been interrupted by a disaster in the past five years?”, the two most common answers were winter storms and communication failure. One-third of respondents had their business interrupted by a winter storm and one third had seen business interruption by communications failure (e.g., server down for an extended period, telecommunications outage).

Over the last five years, Canadian business experienced interruptions for the following reasons:

  • Winter storms (36%)
  • Communications failure (35%)
  • Mechanical flooding (8%)
  • Natural flooding (9%)
  • Fire (8%)
  • Wildfires (5%)
  • Hurricane or tornado (3%)
  • Earthquake (1%)
“Major incidents can include anything from wildfires to full-scale floods, ice storms and hurricanes,” said Bill Fender, SVP Commercial Property Portfolios at FirstOnSite Restoration. “However, it doesn’t have to be weather related to taking a business offline.”

When asked why their business is not more prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters, one-in-four businesses (26%) said that their business is fully prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters. One-in-four businesses (26%) also responded that emergencies or disasters weren’t an urgent concern for their business. Sixteen per cent responded that their business wasn’t willing to spend time or money on being prepared for disaster. One-in-10 said that their business has been putting this off, while one-in-10 answered that they didn’t know enough about disaster preparedness.

In response to the question, “How often do you review your business continuity plan?”, once every year was the most common interval (30%) followed by every few years (14%), more than one per year (8%), and never (6%). Surprisingly, 19 per cent don’t have a business continuity plan and 24 per cent don’t know if they have one.

More than one in five businesses have brand protection (21%) included in their business crisis management plan, while 17 per cent would pay a premium to ensure their business is protected.

Preparation and the three types of plans

Many different scenarios can occur and take a business offline. Recognizing the risks is a vital first step, but to be properly prepared, companies need planning to protect them before, during, and after an event.

  1. Before: Companies need a business continuity plan to provide clarity on remaining operational during and after an event.
  2. During: Companies need an emergency response plan that outlines the actions to take during the initial minutes of an emergency, which is critical to help them respond effectively.
  3. After: Companies need a disaster recovery plan to help return to operations as soon as safely possible.
“Disaster plans, once only required for government, are now being insisted upon by insurers and customers,” said Fender. “But the impetus should be self-serving. No company wants to be offline for any amount of time.”

About the 2019 Business Continuity Survey – An Angus Reid poll commissioned by FirstOnSite Restoration

From May 8 to May 10, 2019, an online survey was conducted among a representative sample of 504 Canadian businesses that are members of the Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, the sample plan would carry a margin of error of +/- 4.4%, 19 times out of 20 (a 95% confidence interval).


For more information on Business Continuity Awareness Week, click here. If you are a business owner or responsible for managing commercial properties, learn how to be prepared before a disaster strikes, ask about our PREP Program


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