The 80% Myth

Successful businesses expect the unexpected and plan for it. Disruptions to an organization’s business can result in the risk of data loss, revenue loss, and failure to deliver services as normal or in extreme cases, failure to deliver services at all. Business continuity management, BCM does exactly what it says: it helps organizations prepare for as well as recover from a wide range of unexpected incidents and business interruptions.

The Business Continuity Institute, BCI re-emphasizes this as: “Business Continuity is about taking responsibility for your business and enabling it to stay on course whatever storms it is forced to weather. It is about keeping calm and carrying on”. A popular statistic published by the Gartner Group suggests that; “70% of companies that experienced a major disaster without first putting in place a BCM or Contingency filed for bankruptcy within 2 years!”. Other bodies and organizations such as IBM and the National Archives & Records Administration in Washington also conducted similar research in the same domain ending up with statistics always in the range of 70-90% of businesses affected by a major incident closing down within 18 months.

In 2008, Continuity Central published an article by Mel Gosling entitled ‘The 80 percent myth…” which looked at the business continuity profession’s “very own urban legend: the 80 percent statistic”. This is the often-repeated statistic that “80% of businesses affected by a major incident close within 18 months”; the source of which has always been elusive.A lot of businesses, both large and small have saved time and money with the implementation of a BCM system that has been effective in restoring business activities, getting them back up and running quickly and in good time after a disruption. Some even owe their survival despite disruption to an effective BCM implementation.


References –

  • Moving from BS 25999-2 to ISO 22301; The new international standard for business continuity management systems; Extract from ‘The Route Map to Business Continuity Management: Meeting the Requirements of ISO 22301’ by John Sharp
  • Beyond recovery: The broader benefits of Business Continuity Management; A BSI whitepaper for business
  • Business continuity statistics: where myth meets fact;
edemThe 80% Myth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *