Business continuity plan performance: survey results

Published: Friday, 12 October 2018 09:03

A recent Continuity Central survey looked at business continuity plan success rates and asked for thoughts on the best ways to debrief after an incident. The survey has now been closed and the results are available, providing some interesting insights. Responses were received from around the world, with the most responses being from people based in the United States (34 percent), the United Kingdom (34 percent) and Australia (8 percent). The survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey.

An initial question ‘Does your company have business continuity plans?’ was asked to qualify survey respondents, with the results being compiled only from those who stated that their company did have business continuity plans.

Question: How many times have you activated your business continuity plan (used your plan during an incident / crisis) during the past 12 months?
Almost a third (32 percent) of respondents had not activated business continuity plans in the past year and approximately a quarter (24 percent) had activated their plans once. 14 percent had experienced two activations; 13 percent three activations; 3.5 percent four activations and 6 percent five activations. A further 6 percent had activated their plans between six and ten times. Just one respondent reported more activations than this, with this person’s organization experiencing more than 25 activations.

Question: In general are the number of business continuity plan activations in your organization increasing or decreasing?
The majority of respondents reported that the number of plan activations was stable, with 60 percent stating that the number of activations was ‘remaining about the same’. However, interestingly, almost a third (32 percent) reported that business continuity plan activations are increasing in their organization. Only 8 percent said that activations were decreasing.

Question: When you last activated your business continuity plan did it perform as expected?
Encouragingly, exactly a third of respondents said that their business continuity plan ‘worked exactly as expected’ during the last activation; and a further 55.5 percent said that the plan ‘worked well generally but a few things didn't go to plan’. Only a small minority (8 percent) said that ‘some aspects of the business continuity plan worked but most aspects didn't’; and 3 percent reported that ‘the plan didn't work at all’.

Question: After your last business continuity plan activation did you carry out a debrief?
Three quarters (75.5 percent) of respondents ¬†conducted a debrief after their most recent ¬†business continuity plan activation and one quarter (24.5 percent) didn’t.

Respondents were asked an open-ended question ‘What in your opinion is the most effective method of debriefing after an incident?’ Not all respondents answered this question but the many responses that were received can be read here in a PDF document.

Question: After your last business continuity plan activation did you make any changes to the plan based on what happened during the activation?
The importance of capturing lessons learned from plan activations is under-lined by the survey finding that three quarters (73.5 percent) of respondents’ organizations made changes to their business continuity plan following the most recent activation. One quarter (26.5 percent) made no changes to their plans.