The Biggest Scares in Business Are IT Related

By Steve Anderson March 12, 2014

Granted, Halloween was over months ago. It's almost closer to next Halloween than it is to the last one, but there is still room for a good scare. A recent study from the Business Continuity Institute, while working with BSI, shows off some of the biggest scares in business today, and the study shows that many of the scares in question are related to issues of information technology (IT) more than anything else.

The study in question, the BCI Horizon Scan, took a look at not only the major threats to business continuity, but also examined some of the long-term impacts facing the business environment as we know it. Overwhelmingly, issues of IT came back as some of the most worrisome points. Seventy-seven percent of business continuity managers were most scared of unplanned outages in either IT or telecoms. Almost that many at 73 percent were worrying about the possibility of some kind of cyber attack including a data breach. That same number, 73 percent, felt that the Internet needed to be closely monitored as a potential source of cyber attack, and 63 felt similarly about the rise of social media.

Looking at the top 10 threat list, a reader had to go down three places to find something only tangentially related to a cyber attack: number four, adverse weather. This was still, however, at least somewhat related to the number one slot, as adverse weather often causes unplanned IT and telecom outages. It also relates to number five on the list: interruption to utility supply. Rounding out the top 10, meanwhile, were fire, security incidents, health and safety incidents, acts of terrorism, and new laws or regulations.

Adverse weather actually went up as compared to previous studies; the recent storms impacting the United States, United Kingdom and Canada seemed to play a role in that gain. What's more, issues of geography, as well as ambient industry, also played a part; for instance, in Japan and New Zealand, a major threat involved earthquakes. What's more, just 44 percent of respondents turned to ISO 22301 as a means to establish a framework for business continuity.

A threat to a business' continuity is going to be different most anywhere a business looks. Most businesses on the East Coast, for example, don't worry about earthquakes, while the most notable blizzard in California is a software company. There are always exceptions, of course, and some threats to business continuity like laws and regulations strike home for everybody. But the point remains: there are threats out there to business that emerge most every day, and being ready to counter these threats is a smart idea. A recent study from Avaya showed that, when the network goes down at the core level, it can cost businesses in the six figure range just for that outage, and it's been known to cost jobs as well.

Being prepared for the worst is never a bad idea. It may never happen, granted, but all it takes is one time to make it well worth the preparation. Just as we pay for insurance on our cars, health, homes and lives, so too should business insurance be a proper part of everyday life. It's the kind of thing that can really pay off in a disaster, and there are so many different disasters out there to consider.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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