KPMG survey reveals industry-specific business continuity plans needed in Australia

Published 12 July 2006

As Australia emerges as a leader in homeland security, KPMG suggests an issue the country may want work on: industry-specific business continuity plans

Financial services giant KPMG is pushing for more industry-specific business continuity plans in Australia based on recent survey results. The company’s offices in Singapore and the U.K. surveyed more than 180 companies in their respective regions about there plans in case of emergency. According to a Computerworld report, the results of the survey were shared with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) as well as the big four Australian banks. As a result of the findings KPMG is pushing Australian authorities to adopt industry-specific business continuity plans.

Richard Marrison, partner of KPMG Information Risk Management in Australia, said the survey found enterprises are still not factoring in the full picture when analyzing business continuity plans and also that more attention must be paid to the supply chain as it is a major factor whether businesses are successful. “Australian businesses need to understand the ultimate success of their business continuity is more dependent than ever on their peers and service providers like exchanges and regulators,” Marrison said. Marrison continues by addressing the notion that banks and other financial firms may very well be well equipped to handle a crisis, but other organizations which depend on them may not cope as well:

Financial organizations are considered the leaders in crisis and disaster simulation, yet testing of their contingency planning doesn’t often factor how other entities, which have a bearing on their business, will cope. Effective planning also depends on understanding how emergency services will respond and what their needs are to best handle an emergency.

Several other industry experts agree with the idea of implementing sector-specific plans, including James Turner. Turner, a security analyst with Frost and Sullivan, said specific plans will save companies time, but they to efficiently they must be reviewed by industry peers and formulated with the specific industry in mind. A “whole of industry” approach would be ideal, said Peter Voysey, business continuity and governance practice manager for the Kaz Group. Voysey, however, highlights the hardest part about implementing cross sector crisis management and business continuity plans is trying to get companies to work with each other rather than compete with each other.

Acting CEO of the Australian Bankers’ Association, Ian Gilbert, claims that cross-sectoral coordination is happening in Australia, and banks are leading the way.