Storms, floods, fires – league table highlights biggest threats to business continuity in 2016 so far

A street in York in the aftermath of a stom. Storm Desmond caused around 16,000 homes to be flooded in December 2015.

Whether it was a fire that brought a halt to a bustling city centre, structural damage to a bridge that diverted 80,000 commuters daily or a 106-mph storm that disrupted 130 flights, the last 12 months had its share of incidents that kept businesses on their toes and put their revenue at risk.

As part of the Business Continuity Institute’s Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW) 2016, managed service provider IT Specialists (ITS) has put together research highlighting some of the biggest threats to business continuity over the last 12 months.

BCAW, which is 16-20 May, is intended to raise awareness about business continuity and resilience following both high-profile and smaller incidents that threaten businesses. As a managed service provider, ITS offers a number of services that protect its clients in the face of major upheaval, including business continuity, IT support, field service and outsourced service desk.

It compiled this research to help businesses understand the types of incidents that could affect them. Without a thorough business continuity programme, there is a risk of negative consequences such as lost inventory, reduced productivity due to employees being unable to work remotely, property damage and the all-important revenue loss.

ITS’ goal is to help businesses mitigate the impact of business interruptions with its business continuity solutions, which include BlackVault Managed Recovery Platform, a fully managed disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) platform utilising a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

“Investing in forward planning can save valuable time, protect the organisation’s revenue and preserve its customer base,” said Matt Kingswood, UK head of ITS. “We urge businesses to formulate a business continuity programme to identify inefficient processes that cost the organisation money on a daily basis and can prove a barrier to disaster recovery.”

An infographic entitled “Top 10 Business Continuity Disasters” which illustrates the research can be viewed here.

Top 10 business continuity disasters

The fire in Holborn in April 2015 blazed for 36 hours, and was caused by an underground electrical fault.

1. Holborn Fire – 09/04/2015
Cause: Underground electrical fault
Burned for 36 hours
5,000 people evacuated
3,000 properties left without power

2. Kennington Floods – 29/06/2015
Cause: Burst water main
Water 0.5 m deep on road
10 fire engines and 72 firefighters needed
15 properties affected

3. Royal Berkshire Hospital Power Cut and Flood – 31/07/2015
Cause: Burst underground pipe
A&E closed to all but critical patients
2nd small fire in coronary care unit – patients moved
Fire crews from 3 separate stations pumped water for 3+ hours
Medical staff worked through night using backup generators

4. Heathrow Airport Power Cut – 04/08/2015
Cause: Issue with power supplier
3,000-4,000 people without bags
50 British Airways flights left behind cases and other equipment
Power out 3 hours

5. Hampton-in-Arden Fire – 26/09/2015
Cause: Accidental fire
Factory supplies 25% of UK’s toffee apples
Gas cylinders and oil drums on-site meant neighbours also at risk
5 fire crews and 25-30 firefighters worked 2 hours

6. Storm Abigail – 12/11/2015
Cause: Extratropical cyclone
84 mph gusts
20,000 properties affected
Ferry services cancelled and schools shut

7. Forth Road Bridge Closure – 04/12/2015
Cause: Crack in truss under carriageway
80,000 vehicles diverted daily for 19 days
ScotRail added 6,500 train seats, 33 buses and 11,000 seats on key commuter services
£1.4 bn replacement bridge

8. Storm Desmond – 05/12/2015
Cause: Extratropical cyclone
Wind speeds up to 81 mph and severe rain
60,000+ homes without power
1,000+ people evacuated from homes

9. Storm Katie – 28/03/2016
Cause: Extratropical cyclone
Winds of up to 106 mph
130 flights diverted
200,000+ homes without power

10. Saltley Recycling Site Fire – 29/03/2016
Cause: Accidental fire
800 tonnes of metal and plastic ablaze
100+ firefighters tackled fire
Power supplies to 4,000 homes cut off