38% report drop in share price and loss of $1.9 million annually due to business disruptions leading to stress-related illness

WAYNE, Pa.—June 19, 2019 – A study released today reveals the scale of the battle global business leaders face when business disruption hits, as a staggering 51% admit to suffering from stress-related illnesses and/or damage to their mental well-being in the aftermath of cyber attacks, IT outages or network failures.

With the C-suite inextricably tied up with a company’s brand identity, research from Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) highlights the extent to which senior executives are linked to their company’s resilience. The study of 851 C-suite respondents in companies with 500+ employees found 49% of CEOs have suffered from stress-related illnesses and/or damage to their mental well-being, rising to 56% among CIOs and CTOs.

One of the contributing factors to the stress-related illnesses and damage to business leaders’ mental well-being is the backlash they receive, both online and in person, following an incident. Almost half of respondents (45%) say they experience online or verbal abuse, and in some cases even physical threats. Moreover, a fifth (20%) say this criticism extends to their family and friends who also have received verbal and/or physical abuse.

The results demonstrate that an effective resilience strategy can have a real impact not only on the business and its operations, but also on the individuals in key leadership roles who are held accountable for it.

“This research has identified a new resilience imperative: the personal impact on the individuals involved,” says Kathy Schneider, Chief Marketing Officer at Sungard AS. “The lost business, costs to repair what is broken, and the reputational damage not only disrupt their organization, but their personal lives as well, in the form of stress-related illnesses or damage to their mental well-being. Boards within organizations must take a long hard look at their company’s approach to resilience today and ensure it meets the ever-changing array of challenges before them.”

Companies have long known the financial and reputational impact of crises, with 38% experiencing a decreased share price following business disruption, and this research has revealed the negative personal impact it can have on a firm’s leadership. Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents state that suffering cyberattacks, IT outages or network failures has resulted in a CEO departure.

Findings from the study also highlighted that U.S. companies are more likely to increase their technology business continuity investments than those in the U.K., as they expect business disruptions to have a larger financial impact:

  • 26% of U.S. companies expect business disruptions to cost over $3.8 million, compared to 15% in the U.K.
  • Just over 4 in 5 U.S. respondents (81%) agree that business continuity spending will increase in 2019, with just over 2 in 5 (42%) strongly agreeing, compared to 72% in the U.K., with just over a third (34%) strongly agreeing
  • In the U.S., over 4 in 5 respondents (84%) agree that business resilience will be a board priority in 2019, with just under half strongly agreeing (49%), compared to 72% in the U.K., with a third strongly agreeing (33%)

“No one wants to go through an IT outage on their watch.” continues Schneider. “Our study highlights the personal toll it takes on leaders and, in some cases, even their families. Companies need a resilience strategy that ensures they are agile, available and secure at all times to support the success of their business and the welfare of employees, which is an additional resilience imperative.”

About this research

This research of 851 C-suite respondents in companies with 500+ employees in the U.K., U.S. and Republic of Ireland was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Sungard Availability Services® in March 2019. View the report highlighting data for the U.K. and Republic of Ireland.

About Sungard Availability Services

Sungard Availability Services ("Sungard AS") is a leading provider of critical production and recovery services to global enterprise companies. Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe to understand their business needs and provide production and recovery services tailored to help them achieve their desired business outcomes. Leveraging more than 40 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help customers manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. To learn more, visit www.sungardas.com or call 1.888.748.9580. Connect with us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

Media Contact

Alison Brooker
Sungard Availability Services (America)
Tel: 610-745-2697 

Simon Skinner
Sungard Availability Services (EMEA)
Tel: +44 (0)7944 878 207

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