Survey: S'pore firms show greater BCP awareness

Fewer enterprises in Singapore view business continuity planning as the IT department's responsibility but organizational readiness can be improved, new study reveals.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

More Singapore enterprises have a better understanding of business continuity planning (BCP) and no longer see it as the sole responsibility of the IT department, according to a new study released Wednesday.

The BCP Index Study 2010, conducted by Frost & Sullivan and commissioned by NCS, showed that half of the 165 companies surveyed considered BCP a standalone IT issue, compared to last year's figure of 64 percent.

Survey respondents came from a mix of small, midsize and large businesses. In the study, large enterprises were defined as companies with over 200 employees.

While the findings showed an increase in BCP awareness and readiness over 2009, businesses in the city-state still had room for improvement. Singapore companies scored 2.69 on the BCP index, way off the excellence rating of 4.0. The report set a target score of 3.0 for Singapore firms to reach by 2011.

The index takes into account two aspects: the existence of a BCP process framework and the actual BCP setup within the organization. When the individual aspects were weighted, Singapore companies scored 3.31 for BCP process frameworks, and 1.76 for BCP setup. This, said Frost & Sullivan in the report, indicated that organizations are "more advanced in their formulation of BCP process frameworks as compared to operationalizing these processes into their existing BCP operations".

According to the analyst firm, both public and private sectors in Singapore had fairly similar BCP indices. However, the public sector was found to have a better BCP setup whereas the private sector had better comprehensiveness in their existing BCP process frameworks.

In terms of industries, the banking, finance, insurance, real estate, hospitality, retail and civil services sectors displayed a higher level of BCP readiness, Frost & Sullivan added. It attributed this to a need for these industries to have quick response solutions during emergencies, due to their service-oriented nature and the existence of regulations.

Companies in the manufacturing, IT and telecommunications sectors, on the other hand, received a lower rating for their BCP readiness level.

The survey also showed that companies with BCP-certified teams had a BCP readiness level of 3.64 while those that did not had a score of 2.23.

Shanghai enterprises less BCP-ready
Over in Shanghai, where the same study was conducted, the 61 enterprises surveyed clocked a score of 1.87 on the BCP index. The gap between process adoption and actual setup was similarly wide in the Chinese city, the report reflected.

Frost & Sullivan concluded that the weaker score recorded in Shanghai was due to a lack of BCP standards and guidelines in the city, unlike in Singapore where standards such as the SS540 and SS507 are in place.

BCP crucial to mitigate losses from disruptions
The Frost & Sullivan report follows on the heels of recent outages suffered by two Singapore banks. These incidents, said NCS, served as a "wakeup call" for businesses in the country to minimize potential risks and emergencies from unforeseen situations with proper BCP.

In July, Singapore's largest banking network DBS Bank was hit with a seven-hour outage, while the United Overseas Bank (UOB) experienced a system slowdown on Sep. 13 which lasted just over 2 hours.

Foo Nian Chou, group general manager, infrastructure management and solutions at NCS, stressed the importance of BCP, in an era where communications permeate into "every aspect" of people's lives.

"It is critical that organizations are aware of the potential risks and understand that a continuity plan can protect their reputation and mitigate loses from unexpected disasters and disruptions," he said in a statement.

The study found that almost 60 percent of respondents had access to a disaster recovery center but these facilities could only cater to less than 5 percent of employees.

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