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One year after blackout, 70% of Ontario businesses still unprepared

One year after the severe power failure that threw 50 million North Americans into darkness, only 30% of Ontario bu...

August 11, 2004  

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One year after the severe power failure that threw 50 million North Americans into darkness, only 30% of Ontario businesses have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place, according to a survey of Ontario businesses by two companies that provide disaster recovery and business continuity services.

The survey, commissioned by Fusepoint Managed Services and Agility Recovery Solutions, found that only about half (45%) of decision-makers in Ontario’s medium to large-sized businesses are confident that government leaders have taken the necessary steps to ensure another blackout or similar state of emergency will not occur.

Only a third (30%) of the organizations surveyed have a full-blown business continuity plan in place, while another 32% claim to have an “unofficial” plan.

“If another disaster strikes – and it will – Ontario businesses not only risk revenue loss, but also potential damage to their brand reputation and disruption of their services,” said Robert Offley, president and CEO of Fusepoint Managed Services.

“A business continuity plan isn’t an accessory – it’s an essential component of good corporate governance, and an ‘unofficial’ plan isn’t enough. Implementing a solid business continuity plan is not as expensive or as time-consuming as people may believe.”

The August 14 blackout cut power to 50 million people across North America, and resulted in 18.9 million lost work hours in Canada alone.

“Not every disaster affects most of North America,” said Bob Boyd, CEO of Agility Recovery Services. “A fire, a lightning strike or even a major theft can put a company out of business if they don’t have a solid plan in place.”

The survey found that 44% of business decision makers believed computer, Internet and web-site failure were the most critical impact of the blackout, while another 36% cited facility failures such as lights, elevators and air conditioning.

Though three-quarters claim to be better prepared than last year, and almost all (90%) of businesses believe they have an obligation to have a sound business continuity plan in place, nearly half (47%) agree that the cost and lack of internal resources have limited their ability to get a formal business continuity plan in place.

The online survey of 300 decision makers in mid-sized and large companies in Ontario was conducted between Aug. 3 and Aug. 8 by Leger Marketing.