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How prepared are UK businesses for terrorism?

The vast majority of British businesses are not prepared for future terrorist attacks, according to expert analysis of a new online survey.

The survey of 600 British businesses was conducted by YouGov and subsequently assessed by ACTIS, a branch of SMC University. The ACTIS analysis finds that over 80 percent of those surveyed would fail a simple counter-terrorism preparedness test.

Other key findings from the survey and the ACTIS assessment include:

  • 54 percent of respondents said their businesses has never checked or hasn't checked in the past year whether any sensitive information about their organization (e.g. financial records, building plans, evacuation procedures etc.) is openly available in the public domain. This rises to 56 percent within the manufacturing industry.
  • 40 percent of respondents said their businesses has never prepared a list of potential risks to their business: including 62 percent of those surveyed within the retail industry and 41 percent within the construction industry.

More details.

In response to the above research Phoenix published the following press release, published verbatim:

Secure your business against terrorist threats but don’t forget the basics, says Phoenix

In light of a recent report highlighting organisational preparedness in the event of a terrorist attack, firms also need to focus on the everyday issues when it comes to protecting their business, such as IT systems and environmental failure, says Mike Osborne, managing director of Phoenix’s Business Continuity Unit.

A report commissioned by ACTIS, a branch of SMC University providing education, consultancy and research in the field of counter-terrorism, terrorism, intelligence and security, highlighted that 80 per cent of organisations would fail a simple counter-terrorism test. Osborne suggests that while it is imperative organisations take the threat of physical and online (cyber) terrorism seriously, it’s important to not ignore the day-to-day hazards that impact a business.

Osborne continued: “The report also revealed that 40 per cent of respondents said their businesses have never prepared a list of potential risks to their business including 62 per cent of those surveyed within the retail industry and 41 per cent within the construction industry. So whilst the headline will grab attention, the real story is that many firms are unprepared and unaware of any type of risks they may be subject to. While it is important to prepare and invoke plans in light of extremes such as terrorist attacks, it’s imperative that everyday issues are taken into account.

“At Phoenix, we undertake an annual invocation statistical survey looking at why our customers invoke their business continuity plans. Our results for 2012-2013 have shown that over half (53 per cent) were invoked due to hardware failure and power outages. Almost 30 per cent also accounted for planned maintenance, demonstrating that it isn’t just extreme scenarios that organisations need to be wary of, and in-fact it is often these everyday occurrences, which are often overlooked.

Osborne concluded: “Alongside the report from ACITS, the results from the invocations survey should serve as a warning to all firms to not only assess major external risks, which could impact a business but also the more commonplace ones. The key is understanding that threats to a business can range from one end of the scale to other – the common denominator is both will likely contribute significant disruption and cost ramifications.

“The headlines of the report from ACTIS will serve its purpose and bring to light how unprepared organisations are against extreme threats such as terrorism. This is a good thing, as clearly organisations that do not employ any sort of business continuity and disaster recovery services, or have done away with them in the past, will more than likely sit up and reevaluate how they can protect their physical business, their corporate data and staff”.

•Date: 12th June 2013 • UK •Type: Article • Topic: Terrorism

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