Every business needs to plan for the future.
That doesn’t just mean what the business hopes to achieve, how it hopes to grow, or even how big a customer base it wants.
Every business needs to think about continuity.
That means, how the business can keep trading if a disaster occurs.
This includes natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, as well as manmade issues, such as a terrorist attack.
The good news is the following business continuity statistics show that businesses are better prepared than ever for these issues.
- 90% of businesses close permanently if they can’t reopen within 5 days
- 54% of businesses have already experienced a continuity issue
- 28% of data breaches occur to small businesses
- Over 100,000 businesses closed during COVID-19
- Only 49% of businesses have a continuity plan
- 17% of attacks happen from inside the business
- Three-quarters of business have had issues with their supply chain
- One-third of company folders have no protection
- 1% of hard drives failed in 2020
- The average small business suffers 16.2 days downtime after a ransomware attack
- 37% of small businesses have suffered cloud data loss
- 18% of business executives have no understanding of business recovery
- 40% of small businesses are spending more on cybersecurity
- The biggest perceived threat to business is phishing emails
- 72% of business have recovered data in the last year
- Only 14% of businesses have a dedicated continuity team
- 40% of businesses don’t consider climate change as an issue for their business
Top Business Continuity Statistics in 2024
1. 90% Of Businesses Close Permanently If They Can’t Reopen Within 5 Days
Any break in continuity will affect a business.
It’s estimated that any continuity break will cost a business $10,000 an hour! That even applies to small businesses.
It’s not just the lost sales, it’s the knock-on effect of a loss of trust and how the lack of income affects the ability of the business to meet its other payment demands.
Large companies can lose as much as $5 million an hour!
Once you realize how quickly the costs add up, it’s easy to see that a business which doesn’t quickly reopen can close forever.
According to the latest reports, 90% of businesses which have experienced a breach in continuity will close permanently if they don’t manage to start trading again within five days of the continuity issue.
Put simply, the costs and damage to its reputation quickly overpower a small business’s ability to pay its bills.
Naturally, the longer recovery takes, the more likely it is that the business will close permanently.
2. 54% Of Businesses Have Already Experienced A Continuity Issue
Continuity issues aren’t new and they are not as rare as you may think.
There are many causes and not all are malicious, even a simple software update can go wrong and give a business issues.
A recent survey found that 54% of businesses have experienced an issue within the last five years that has caused a temporary closure.
The survey classified a break in continuity as one that lasted at least eight hours.
In other words, it could cause significant disruption and loss of income.
If the survey had shortened the break in continuity to four hours or under it’s estimated that 75% of businesses would report having experienced an issue.
3. 28% Of Data Breaches Occur To Small Businesses
Many small business owners assume continuity issues, especially those related to data breaches, are a problem only large companies have to deal with.
However, according to the latest research, 28% of data breaches occur to small businesses.
Worryingly, this percentage has been increasing as hackers find it easier to attack small businesses.
Approximately 43% of attacks were completed via web applications, highlighting how vulnerable applications linked to a business can be.
Naturally, 83% of attacks are financially motivated.
The majority of the remainder are either emotional attacks, such as revenge, or environmental concerns.
Hackers are finding small businesses have weaker cybersecurity, making them much easier targets.
The rewards are lower but they can target far more businesses in a short space of time.
4. Over 100,000 Businesses Closed During COVID-19
There are hundreds of potential continuity challenges every business faces daily.
These include weather damage to property or computers, and natural events such as earthquakes and hurricanes.
However, one event that caught most businesses by surprise was COVID-19.
The global pandemic forced people to stay at home, making it harder for almost all businesses to survive.
According to the official figures, over 100,000 small businesses in the US were forced to close their doors thanks to the pandemic.
The majority of them never reopened.
While a pandemic is not something most businesses plan for, it emphasizes the importance of planning for the unexpected.
Only businesses which adopt this approach are likely to survive any continuity issue.
Of course, for some businesses no level of planning would have helped, survival was effectively impossible.
5. Only 49% Of Businesses Have A Continuity Plan
A continuity plan takes time to create and needs to be constantly updated.
It involves looking at what your business needs to continue functioning, regardless of what event has happened.
The best approach isn’t to look at a specific event, such as a data loss, but to look at the worst possible scenario.
Once you highlight the issues the business will face you’ll be able to work out how you can survive if these issues occur.
The pandemic has helped businesses prepare.
More businesses than ever before have a continuity plan.
However, the latest studies show that 51% of businesses still don’t have a continuity plan in place.
In other words, over half of small businesses have no idea how to react if a disaster occurs.
6. 17% Of Attacks Happen From Inside The Business
All businesses, regardless of their size, should have dedicated IT staff.
These don’t have to be in-house but they do need to understand how hackers access systems and the best way to stop them.
Surveys show that 83% of attacks on small businesses are instigated by cybercriminals.
In many cases, they are simply looking for a way into your system.
If they find one, they’ll exploit it.
However, what is more worrying about this figure is that 17% of attacks are done by people working within the business.
Naturally, these attackers will find it easier to access data, they already have access rights.
It’s not always clear what motivates these attacks, which makes it harder to decide how likely they are to happen.
The key factor is that all businesses, particularly smaller businesses, need to be aware that internal threats are as serious as external ones.
You should be prepared for both.
It’s worth noting that 45% of all data breaches are a result of hacks.
That’s why all businesses should protect their data.
7. Three-Quarters Of Business Have Had Issues With Their Supply Chain
The supply chain is critical to most businesses.
It’s where you get your raw materials or products from which allows you to sell things to customers.
The supply chain also covers your running costs, which are essential to the upkeep of your business.
In the modern digital world, most businesses are connected.
For example, you probably don’t pick up the phone to order parts from your suppliers.
Instead, you can do it all online using their app.
In short, you’re connected to your suppliers via the internet.
You’ll even be connected to your energy supplier.
While this generally makes life easier, it does increase the risk of a cyberattack or other disaster affecting your business.
For example, a ransomware attack on your electrical supplier disrupts their ability to provide you with electricity.
That affects your ability to supply your customers and causes a break in your continuity of service.
It doesn’t matter if it’s ransomware, a natural disaster, or even a global pandemic, anything that affects your suppliers can affect you.
According to the latest research, 75% of businesses were affected in this way during the pandemic.
Worse, 90% of businesses believe that such disruptions are likely to increase and will cause long-lasting issues for them.
(Supply And Demand Chain Executive)
8. One-Third of Company Folders Have No Protection
Companies, especially smaller ones, will generally trust their staff.
In many cases, they operate more like a family than an employer and employees.
While this is good for morale and creating a productive atmosphere, it does have the potential to cause problems.
This level of trust means that many businesses don’t lock down access rights to the files and folders on the company systems.
A recent survey by Varonis found that 33% of business network folders don’t have security, allowing any employee with access to the system to read the files.
The survey also found that 66% of small businesses have over 1,000 files open to employees in this way.
That means anyone with access or who gains access can access confidential data and use it to harm the company.
All businesses should evaluate access needs and set folder rights accordingly, ensuring only those that need to can see or edit files.
9. 1% Of Hard Drives Failed In 2020
The fundamental backbone of business continuity is to have a complete backup of all your data.
Most businesses insist on backing up data weekly or even daily.
However, by itself, this isn’t enough! According to research, 1% of hard drives failed during 2020.
While that appears to be a low figure, it doesn’t help if your hard drive is one of the 1%.
When the hard drive fails your data is likely to be corrupted, meaning you’re unable to restore your data.
You may even find it fails mid-use, effectively disrupting your continuity.
A massive loss of data such as this could be disastrous for any business.
That’s why, you shouldn’t just back up your data, you should make sure one copy of the backed-up data is kept off-site at all times.
It won’t stop a break in continuity but it will allow you to start trading again in a matter of hours.
For most businesses it’s also a good idea to have a hard drive replacement plan, reducing the risk of it failing on you.
If you don’t think it will happen to you, then consider this: 45% of small businesses have experienced hardware failure within the last year.
10. The Average Small Business Suffers 16.2 Days Downtime After A Ransomware Attack
Ransomware is becoming one of the biggest issues for businesses across the globe.
A recent survey found that 20%, or one in five small businesses, have experienced a ransomware attack within the last year.
The survey found that businesses which were attacked experienced an average of 16.2 days of downtime.
As you’ll note from the previous statistics, any business which doesn’t reopen within 5 days is likely to close permanently.
In short, a ransomware attack can be the end of your business.
This is becoming increasingly likely as the number of ransomware attacks is increasing.
In addition, the amount of funds being asked for has nearly doubled in the last twelve months.
Having an up-to-date backup, off-network, and off-site, remains the best way to deal with ransomware attacks.
It does still take time to wipe servers, reinstall, and use your backup, but it’s significantly less time and cost than paying the ransomware.
11. 37% Of Small Businesses Have Suffered Cloud Data Loss
Storing data on the cloud is generally considered a good idea.
It’s seen as a safer option, easier to access from anywhere, and helps to ensure your business is prepared for continuity issues.
In fact, according to Comparitech, 84% of small b businesses already store data on the cloud and a further 8% intend to start doing so within the next twelve months.
However, it’s important not to rely just on the cloud.
According to the latest reports from Backupify, as many as 37% of small businesses lost data in the cloud within the last twelve months.
In short, the cloud is a good solution for small businesses, but you still need a cloud backup solution to ensure your data is always safe and accessible.
12. 18% Of Business Executives Have No Understanding Of Business Recovery
Having a business recovery and continuity plan is only the first step in getting your business back on its feet.
You also need to have the plan accessible and for management/business executives to both understand the plan, and know what they need to do.
The truth is, according to recent research, 18%, that’s around one in six, business executives have no understanding of the plan.
This doesn’t just mean they don’t know what to do when a continuity break happens.
It also means that they have unrealistic expectations.
The research shows that 24% of b business executives believe business data can be recovered in less than ten minutes.
A further 29% thought that data could be recovered in less than an hour, while just 17% said it would take around a day.
These estimates don’t match the actual amount of time it would take for a business to recover its data.
The bigger the gap between expected and realistic outcomes the harder it will be for IT professionals to deliver any results.
In short, business executives need to be made more aware of continuity plans and realistic outcomes.
13. 40% Of Small Businesses Are Spending More On Cybersecurity
On a positive note, research shows that businesses are paying attention to cybersecurity threats.
Of course, it’s hard not to when cybersecurity issues are constantly in the news.
A recent report by Datto found that 40% of small businesses have, or are, increasing their spend on cybersecurity.
The same survey found that 6% of small businesses are actually decreasing their cybersecurity budget.
These are the ones most likely to face issues as hackers exploit any gap in security.
These figures do indicate that roughly half of all small businesses are simply maintaining their current approach to cybersecurity.
It’s impossible to say if the current approach will work for each business.
It depends on how effective their current cybersecurity process is.
14. The Biggest Perceived Threat To Business Is Phishing Emails
In a recent survey by Datto it was found that 37% of IT managers felt that phishing emails were their biggest security concern.
Phishing emails can be sent to any employee and, if the employee uses the associated link, the hackers can easily find a way into the business systems.
It’s an exceptionally effective approach as many employees aren’t aware of the risks or aren’t concerned by them.
The next most serious threat, according to IT managers, is malicious websites and ads.
An impressive 27% of IT managers felt this is a serious threat.
Respondents also felt that poor user practices and weak passwords, alongside poor access management, were serious problems that needed to be tackled.
It’s worth noting that the survey found 74% of data breaches happen because of an error by someone human.
In other words, humans allow hackers in via the above techniques simply because the employees aren’t aware of the risks.
15. 72% Of Business Have Recovered data In The Last Year
According to the latest research by Acronis, 72% of businesses have needed to restore all or some of their data during the last twelve months.
In fact, the study found that a third of respondents had restored data on more than one occasion.
The study didn’t identify the reasons for data restoration.
However, it perfectly highlights the importance of a good backup procedure and how it makes a big difference to the continuity of the business.
According to research by Mercer, only 49% of businesses have a continuity plan, which means roughly 171 million US companies aren’t prepared for a continuity break.
That’s a serious issue for those companies and potentially the wider economy.
16. Only 14% Of Businesses Have A Dedicated Continuity Team
Small businesses with very few employees will understandably find it hard to have a team, or even a member of staff, dedicated to continuity.
These businesses should have an employee responsible for continuity.
All other businesses should have a team, no matter how small, to envision all possible continuity issues and prepare for them.
It may seem extreme, but the alternative is severe disruption, closure, and possibly business failure.
Despite the seriousness of the issue, a recent study found that just 14% of businesses have a dedicated team.
The survey did find that 25% of businesses had a team of one to handle continuity issues.
It’s difficult to know if this is enough as it depends on the size and complexity of the business.
However, you should note that 75% of businesses have no plans to change their continuity team.
17. 40% Of Businesses Don’t Consider Climate Change As An Issue For Their Business
Businesses and individuals have become more aware of climate change and the issues the planet is facing.
However, despite this increased awareness, many people, including businesses, still feel it is an issue which doesn’t directly affect them.
The truth is that climate change is driving all the extreme weather events, these are events which are happening with increasing frequency.
Every extreme weather event has the power to disrupt the supply chain, destroy data, and effectively cause a continuity break.
In short, it’s time all businesses started to plan for them.
Creating A Continuity Plan
No matter how small, or large, your business is, you need to take steps today to create your own continuity plan.
It’s not as complicated as you may think. Start by identifying the biggest risks.
That’s anything which could happen, no matter how likely or not, and would disrupt your ability to provide your service or product to customers.
This includes extreme weather events, hardware failure, and cybersecurity issues.
You should then decide how each of the risks will affect your business.
That means looking at the specific issues, such as a struggle to get supplies or an inability to deliver goods to customers.
Once you’ve worked this out you can look at solutions to solve the issue if the incident happens.
You’ll find there is always a contingency possibility.
Having decided how to handle each risk you should test out your solution.
Imagine the defined risk has happened and try your solution.
If it works then it should become part of your business continuity plan.
If not, you’ll have to come up with a different solution.
Finally, make sure you review the risks and your proposed plan regularly.
This includes re-testing to ensure your solution is still viable/the best option.
It’s best to have a member of staff, or even a team, responsible for business continuity.
They should provide updated reports on risks and continuity plans at least twice a year.
That ensures it stays up to date, which can make a big difference to the chances of your b business surviving an issue.
The above business continuity statistics illustrate that an increasing number of businesses are taking continuity threats seriously and trying to develop continuity/recovery programs.
However, there are still plenty of businesses which feel they are unlikely to face continuity issues and aren’t doing enough to prepare for them.
Of course, many things can disrupt your business, from a main supplier going out of business to an extreme weather event.
Not being ready for this increases the amount it will cost your business.
Remember, any business that doesn’t reopen within 5 days of a continuity break will likely stay closed permanently.
A continuity plan is the difference between surviving an issue and your business failing.
In short, you need to create and implement a business continuity plan today.
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