Conference Board notes disconnect between C-level and continuity efforts

Published 8 November 2006

The most influential executives are the least supportive, while the most supportive are the least influential; Conference Board cites metrics as a major area for improvement

Let us hope continuity of business will remain a viable enterprise, for if not the survey and polling industry is certain to go bankrupt. Continuity, unlike other homeland security sectors, does not rely as much on impressive new technology as it does a shift in attitudes and priorities, and so we often report on what “they” are saying out there rather than what it is they are actually doing. Take as an example the latest numbers from New York City-based Conference Board, the business membership and research group.

A survey of 213 senior executives not directly involved in security affairs at their respective companies found a “strong disconnect between the level of support for security initiatives and the level of influence over security policy within the companies surveyed. In general, the most supportive executives were not the most influential, and the most influential executives (senior C-suite managers) were not the most supportive.” The problem, it seems, is that while most senior executives have little day-to-day responsibility for security issues, security “is an area with a lot of dotted-line relationships” — meaning that executives often have to be involved despite their lack of authority over the matter.

One other concern: few metrics exist with which to judge the effectiveness of continuity regimes, and those that do rarely meet the high standards which business executives demand from other company projects. “Unfortunately, the measures available for analyzing the effectiveness of corporate security tend to be much less sophisticated than those that have been developed for other corporate functions such as finance, human resources, and information technology,” says Thomas Cavanagh of the Conference Board. The most helpful metrics were the cost of business interruption, cited by 64 percent of executives; vulnerability assessments (60 percent); and benchmarking against industry standards (49 percent).

-read more at the Conference Board Web site ; see this news release