One in two UK organisations are ill-equipped to deal with natural disasters, computer system failures and external threats, new figures from Symantec show.

According to the study, 91 per cent of IT companies carry out full scenario testing of their disaster recovery plans, yet nearly half of those tests fail.

Damage to the business brand and reputation is the most feared consequence of corporate disasters among IT professionals (69 per cent), the figures suggest.

This is closely followed by loss of customer loyalty, impact to their competitive standing (both 65 per cent) and data loss (64 per cent).

The annual report also found that half of organisations have had to execute their disaster recovery plans, while 44 per cent of those without a plan in place have experienced a major incident.

The top reason for IT organisations creating a disaster recovery plan was natural disasters, with 69 per cent of respondents citing this. Fear of virus attacks motivated more than half of those surveyed, with a third giving war and terrorism as their main reason.

The international study questioned IT managers in large organisations in the UK and US, as well as Europe, the Middle East and South Africa.