Businesses are being urged to improve their plans for coping with an emergency such as a terrorist attack or natural disaster.
The CBI's warning follows the Buncefield fire in December
Employers' organisation the CBI said safeguarding staff and assets should be at the top of every company's list of New Year's resolutions.
It said proper planning for a disaster could save lives and businesses.
The warning follows the Buncefield oil depot blaze, in Herts, which devastated a number of neighbouring businesses.
A series of explosions and fires ripped through the depot, in Hemel Hempstead, and neighbouring properties on 11 December.
CBI Director General Sir Digby Jones said "everyone in business" should be "re-assessing their business risk".
The CBI, with the help of security and defence specialists QinetiQ and drawing on MI5 advice, has produced a number of tips on continuity and security planning.
They focus on protecting workplaces, staff and intellectual property, such as through ensuring entry and exits points to premises are controlled.
Sir Digby said: "In a year that has seen mainland terrorism, a major incident at the UK's fifth largest oil and petrol distribution depot and natural disasters too numerous to mention across the globe, everyone in business needs to spend some time this January re-assessing their business risk.
"In the immediate aftermath of any form of incident, continuity planning becomes something of a buzz word but it is increasingly clear that many firms still don't have the necessary plans in place."
Sir Digby, who said it was a "miracle" that the Buncefield blaze did not claim any lives, went on: "Please - take a long, hard look at how you safeguard your workplace and employees.
"Having the right plan and the right people in the right places can ensure that your business survives no matter what.
"It is a vital self-help insurance policy that everyone in business must have."