Cost and complexity continue to throw up barriers to the adoption of effective business continuity measures by many mid-market firms, a survey has shown.
A Vanson Bourne survey of 200 UK companies with between 250 and 1,000 employees commissioned by security supplier Activity found that only 15% were confident their plans would work and had fully tested them.
Simon Robinson, research director at The 451 Group, said, "Business continuity plans are implemented most effectively by those organisations that can afford to do it. For the most part this means large multinationals rather than mid-market firms."
However, he said the emergence of standards such as BS 25999 was a step in the right direction, and a number of technology suppliers were starting to focus on helping businesses of this size solve their business continuity challenges.
The survey found that more than half of companies that had some sort of business continuity plan in place had not tested their plans fully, and 18% had not tested their plans at all.
Neil O'Connor, principal consultant at Activity, said businesses of this size have a lot to cope with, and even though many are aware of the need for business continuity planning, it never gets to the top of the priority list.
He said other factors included a fear of failure, the belief that continuity is an IT problem, and lack of confidence in the process because there were so many different ways of doing it.
Bharat Thakrar, head of business continuity at BT Global Services, said until now there had been no consistency in the way business continuity planning is done.
"It is often disparate across organisations, and it is a difficult job trying to pull it all together," he said.
"Companies need to understand that testing is about improving the process and continuity is a business problem, not just the responsibility of IT," said O'Connor.
The new BS 25999 business continuity standard should go a long way to improving confidence in the business continuity planning process, he said, because it provided a standard set of practices to follow and should help eliminate past uncertainties.