Significant increase in flooding and denial of access situations, finds study

A report into the major causes of business disruptions found that hardware failures remained the biggest cause of disruption.

Hardware failures accounted for 35 % of disaster declarations in 2007, down from 45 % in 2006. The second most common cause of concern was once again power-related disruptions, which were responsible for 22 % of the total (down from 31 % in 2006).

The findings emerged from a customer study by SunGard Availability Services, a business continuity provider.

SunGard said the most notable trend within this year's results was the significant rise in the number of invocations caused by flooding and denial of access situations, explained by the widespread summer floods across the UK which severely affected several regions.

Keith Tilley, executive vice president for UK and Europe, SunGard Availability Services, said: “Hardware failure can be potentially devastating in terms of business impact, but is relatively straightforward to plan around. The fact that it remains the number one reason for invocation indicates that our message - information availability should be considered at the highest levels of the organisation - has not yet got through. Protecting an organisation’s most critical information is an important duty of directors."

Tilley continued: "From SunGard's perspective, we were able to maintain our 100 % invocation success rate despite the heavy flooding and power failures that occurred across many parts of the UK’s business areas. This shows our customers that we can continue to function under the most testing of circumstances.”

'Denial of access' related invocations increased three-fold in 2007 compared to the previous year, accounting for seven percent of the total number of customer invocations. A further 5 % of invocations were due to data corruption. ‘

Other invocations in 2007 included; customers being unable to access their building due to the collapse of a building; customers requiring alternative workspace due to denial of access and environmental restrictions caused by a local outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease and bomb alerts. The latter caused two SunGard customers to invoke their continuity and recovery plans which are put in place to help organisations continue normal operations in the event of disruptions to their business.