When a cyberattack leaves a company’s data exposed or a flood blocks access to the office or a network outage prevents consumers from making purchases, that’s only the beginning. The true impact of a disaster continues to reverberate for companies who aren’t prepared.
Disasters can have lasting impacts on company leadership in particular. The value of resilience goes beyond simply keeping your systems up and running — it can make a difference in the C-suite’s ability to make strategic decisions.
But while every business would be wise to pursue a resilience strategy, there are several obstacles they’ll have to overcome on that journey.
We asked 500 C-Suite respondents in U.S. companies with 500+ employees about the aftermath of a disaster, and about both the impact of those disasters and what they’re doing to prevent them moving forward. Here’s what they said.
How crises impact the C-suite
When asked how crises affect their role, nearly a third of C-suite respondents (32%) said they spend more time focusing on disaster recovery (DR) processes. While that is encouraging, it’s also surprising that the number is so low.
The company has just experienced a disaster, and more than two-thirds of respondents don’t expect to spend more time on DR. This can be a strategic mistake that leaves these companies open to other incidents.
Even for those who will spend more time focused on DR, several obstacles stand between them and resilience. We’ll talk more about what they face below.
A number of respondents also noted that a disaster impacts their ability to achieve business goals. Some 30% said it was more difficult to make strategic decisions, while 29% reported it would be more difficult to meet short-term business results and 22% said it would be more difficult to provide clear direction for their company.
A quarter of respondents admitted the disaster would damage their reputation, and the same number thought they could lose their job if they didn’t demonstrate resilience.
In some of the more concerning numbers, 20% of respondents said they receive backlash over social media in the wake of a disaster, while 16% said that family and/or friends could receive physical or digital backlash.
A number of respondents are taking steps to mitigate these possibilities by avoiding disasters, but it’s not always smooth sailing.
Obstacles to guarding your business’s reputation
A vast majority of respondents agreed on the importance of resilience: 84% said that a business's credibility and reputation is directly tied to its ability to be resilient.
How are they pursuing that resilience? Business continuity planning is one avenue. Some 81% of respondents said they agree that business continuity spending will increase in 2019. That’s great to hear. Except that 75% of respondents also agreed that budget constraints will increase in 2019.
With three-quarters of respondents expecting budget constraints, the number who are actually able to significantly increase business continuity spending could be more limited, depending on the organisation’s priorities.
Another area where businesses anticipate investment is in talent. Some 82% agreed that business continuity recruitment would increase in 2019. But 77% also agree that accessing the right skills will be a challenge in 2019. Despite the appetite for recruiting, a business continuity skills gap could prevent some of these organisations from finding, recruiting and retaining the talent they need to truly become resilient.
Facing the challenges of resilience
Resilience can improve your business’s reputation and credibility, but it’s not always easy to achieve. With tightening budgets and talent shortages, some organisations can find themselves stuck. One option is to engage a partner that already has the skills you need or could help determine the best use of limited budget to ensure you can endure a disaster with minimal disruption.
That way the C-suite and your organisation can avoid the consequences of a disaster, from impaired strategic planning to online abuse to job loss and reputational damage. More and more, the benefits of resilience go beyond DR and business continuity to affect the entire trajectory of your business.