By Max Clarke

With Europe’s airports on high alert yet again because of the Icelandic ash cloud, online accounting provider E-conomic has warned of the importance of having business continuity plans in place.

“Research from the Chartered Management Institute has revealed that despite 20% of businesses having reported major disruption during the last volcanic ash cloud, less than half of private sector organisations have a business continuity plan in place,” said Anders Bjornsbo, E-conomic’s UK Operations Director.

The answer, according to Bjornsbo is the other type of cloud where data is stored online ‘in the cloud’ giving businesses the ability to access it at any time — and crucially from anywhere with an internet browser.

“Take accounting for example. While many businesses may be using the trusty accounting software package they have always used, the cloud option allows access to real time information — any time — anywhere. So if you are stuck in an airport or your travel plans are disrupted, as long as you have an internet browser — a laptop, netbook or Smartphone for example, your data can be accessed from anywhere. Think how useful that can be when the world grinds to a halt because of ash clouds or bad weather.”

When asked which disruptions would have a major impact on the costs and revenues of their organisation, the CMI research found 71% highlighted loss of IT as the top disruption, and that over 40% were concerned about the risk of malicious cyber attacks.

“Cloud based options mitigate a lot of this risk”, says Bjornsbo. If there’s a flood —and your records and servers are destroyed or maybe, as we have heard so many times before, your server goes down - the cloud option means that you have everything backed up virtually and it’s instantly accessible”.