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UK SMEs urged to address vulnerabilities against disasters
To help tackle the potentially devastating consequences of a lack of business resilience, Business in the Community, founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, is today launching a tool for businesses to check their robustness in the face of a crisis.
Small and medium businesses make up 99.9% of all businesses in the UK, and employ 16.1 million people, or 60% of the country’s private employment. Launching to coincide with Responsible Business Week 2018, Business in the Community – The Prince’s Responsible Business Network – is challenging SMEs across the UK to test their resilience and preparedness in the face of an emergency.
The simple online test, called ‘Would You Be Ready?’, asks business leaders an array of questions to assess their preparedness, and provides advice on how businesses should be safeguarding their assets. The test focuses on three of the biggest issues that could affect businesses: cyber-attacks, civil unrest and floods.
The campaign addresses a real issue of business complacency, which has been highlighted in multiple independent reports in recent months: almost half (43%) of British SMEs admit to having no business continuity, disaster recovery or crisis management plans in place, despite almost the same number of UK businesses (46%) suffering at least one cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months.
Joey Tabone, Resilience Director, said: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy, and the impact that an issue or crisis could have on a small or medium business is significant, with potentially life-changing consequences for owners and employees, as well as having a negative effect on the economy.
“We are urging SME owners across the UK to take the test and use BITC’s free advice to scrutinise their own business practices to ensure they’re protected against future incidents that could put their business, and their livelihoods, in jeopardy”.
Cockermouth Toy Shop owner Jonty Chippendale learned the impact of a lack of preparedness when his business was hit by flooding in both 2009 and 2015. As a result, he has successfully lobbied for flood defences, as well as implementing his own resilience plan. He commented: “Global warming means that another flood is inevitable and it would be poor business not to prepare as best as we can. Flood defence is increasingly about self-reliance, especially given the level of resource increasingly required to address flooding in the UK.”
“I think the toolkit is a great idea. It will help businesses to recognise their weaknesses and become better prepared before the worst happens. It’s often not on people’s radar until they’re directly affected themselves, but we should all be talking about resilience. It’s as important to a business as hiring good staff and paying taxes.”
Business in the Community is made up of a collaboration of private and public businesses and figures. Gareth Hemming, director of SME, commercial insurance at Aviva, who have backed the campaign, said: “Major events like civil unrest and floods can have a devastating impact on trading for any business – as the UK’s largest insurer we are on hand to support our business customers by helping them get back on their feet quickly. However, paramount to the business owner is being able to avoid such events in the first place, or the very least, manage a crisis and resilience planning plays an important role here. Our aim, in a nutshell, is to help businesses keep on trading, and we are supporting the campaign because we believe, like BITC, that encouraging more businesses to be crisis-ready will help achieve that.”
The ‘Would You Be Ready?’ campaign is backed by the government’s National Cyber Security Centre, as well as Barclays, who have reported that 95% of UK business leaders consider cyber security to be very or quite important to their business, and yet 45% do not have a formal cyber security strategy.
To take the test and for advice on increasing the resilience of SMEs, visit: https://www.tradingforgood.co.uk/would-you-be-ready/
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