Companies enter into a clear area of risk if they take too long to decide even what sort of business continuity solution they want to implement according to new research published today.

Conducted by and including responses from almost 700 IT workers, managers and directors, the research found 35% of companies take more than six months to reach a decision about what level of business continuity solution they should have even before beginning implementation. And as many as a fifth of total respondents took a full year or more to reach this point.

Marathon Technologies, a Microsoft Windows software environment provider, commissioned the research to examine the state of business continuity preparedness in UK organisations. It also found 10% of companies had no sort of continuity solution in place at all, including basic data backup, and 89 respondents (13%) indicated that their companies had undertaken no planning, analysis or research to discover what continuity protection they needed.

Nick Turnbull, Marathon Technologies sales director for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region said: “What constantly surprises us is the fact that companies are willing to put their whole livelihood on the line because they believe ‘it will never happen to them’. It’s laudable that businesses go through a full analysis of their needs and their best suppliers, but this really should not be at the risk to their continuity. A year or even six months is too long to not be protected.”

He said businesses clearly need to speed up their assessment processes to make sure that they are in an optimum position faster when it comes to business continuity. “This sort of roulette is not feasible for any sort of business,” Turnbull added.

The Marathon research also showed that out of all the different levels of protection that it’s possible to implement, companies tended to go either all-out with a full business continuity solution or opted for the bare minimum in terms of basic data recovery (35% each). Much more rarely was the mid-ground option of high-availability considered when choosing protection (just 19% cent of respondents).

When procuring business continuity IT, cost was considered the most important factor by respondents. And almost a third of companies don’t undertake any sort of risk assessment before implementing their continuity solution. The research also found the public sector is the most diligent in protecting itself (where 70% either have full business continuity or high-availability solutions), while the tourist and services industry is the least diligent, with 72% either using just data recovery or no backup at all.