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Few Mid-Sized Businesses Have Tested Their Continuity Plans, New Study Finds

By the DynaSis Team

Does your company have a business continuity plan? If so, do you test it? If you answered "Yes" to the first question and "No" to the second, you are in good company. A recent survey of mid-sized business owners and C-level executives, conducted by The Hartford financial services company, found that 59 percent of mid-sized businesses had formal, documented business continuity plans, but only 19 percent of them had tested those plans. Among the remainder, 33 percent had an informal, verbal plan and eight percent had no plan at all.

If you're one of those with an untested plan, don't think you're in much better shape than your less-prepared competitors. A separate study by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness (DRP) Council also found that the majority of businesses (of all sizes) fail to test their continuity plans. Of even greater concern, the DRP found, among those who do test their plans, most plans fail.

Failure during testing is unfortunate, but it's far better than the alternative. Many things can—and do—go wrong when continuity plans are finally put into action. Some breakdowns are unpredictable, but many are fully within the control of the business owner and his or her chief executives. Reasons for plan breakdowns include:

  • The plan is based on invalidated assumptions about processes, people and technology.
  • The plan is built on an inflexible scenario (e.g. No Access to Office). Disasters rarely follow an orderly flow.
  • The plan hasn't been adequately shared with personnel that have decision-making authority.
  • The plan is no longer current with the business model, organizational structure or other important aspect of business operations. Continuity plans should be updated yearly, at the minimum.
  • The "plan" is a borrowed document with a "Who to Call" list. It's amazing how many business owners adopt business continuity or disaster recovery plan "templates" with few to no changes, add their contact lists on top, and stow them in a drawer or on a shelf. That's a recipe for certain failure.
  • The plan has never been tested. As we mentioned earlier, the only way to determine whether or not a plan is functional is to test it. Testing explores the merits of the "how"—whether or not a document that appears sufficient is going to prove its mettle in action.

We understand that small and mid-sized businesses often operate in near "fire drill" mode, with something more important than continuity planning always on the horizon. Humans can do this because we innately have a high degree of risk tolerance, especially for threats we haven't experienced yet. That's what allowed us to seek out and settle new lands and create new civilizations. It's also what allows us to get into airplanes that rocket along at 600 miles an hour, miles off the ground.

However, the odds of crashing in an airplane are infinitesimal compared to those of experiencing a business disruption. Running a business without a well-documented, tested continuity plan is a risk no business owner should take.

About DynaSis

DynaSis is an Atlanta IT services and cloud computing provider for small and mid-sized businesses. All of our solutions focus on helping companies achieve the three fundamental IT necessities of the modern business—availability, security and mobility. We specialize in on-demand and on-premise managed IT services, managed cloud infrastructure, desktops and backups, and professional hardware and equipment installation. For more information about DynaSis’ IT support and services, visit

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