The Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) recently released its 4th Annual BCM Trends and Predictions Report, which provides predictions for resilience trends in 2019. There are 10 predictions in the report, but this article will explore 5 with highest impacts. Business continuity planners must always be on the lookout for such trends to ensure that their plans stay effective over time.
- Cyber Threats - Organizations of all types and sizes can be affected by cyber threats, even if they are not the direct target of an attack. Cyber attacks on business partners or even government agencies can often pose a much bigger risk than direct attacks. Cyber threats such as malware, ransomware and data breaches can lead to the destruction or leaking of sensitive information about an organization’s employees, customers, or intellectual property. Making matters worse is the fact that this sensitive information is usually shared in some capacity with other entities which may not employ effective cyber protections. Even though cyber attacks are not a new concept, the ways in which they are carried out always evolve and new vulnerabilities are discovered as soon as old ones are fixed.
The DRI predicts that a large-scale cyber attack will likely be carried out on the critical infrastructure of a G8 country. Such an attack would have a drastic effect on any organisation operating within the country, as it may lead to the publication of protected data or the disruption of critical services provided by government agencies.
- Supply Chain disruptions - Supply chain disruptions are nothing new, and any Business Continuity Plan will undoubtedly take them into consideration. However, the DRI predicts that there will be a higher chance of supply chain disruptions as a result of the previously mentioned cyber threats. The specific prediction made by DRI is that a disruption will occur affecting the supply of telecom components in Asia. This would have severe adverse effects on the global cell phone market, but it may not be a very realistic business continuity planning consideration for most organisations. This specific prediction may not be very pertinent, but the underlying cause should not be dismissed. The increased risk of cyber threats would not only affect the target but also any others who either import or export products and services from/to the target. All organisations depend on the products or services of others in some capacity and the effects of a large-scale cyber attack would be felt all around the world. Even though supply chain disruptions may not change in their nature, the probability of a disruption may be higher in 2019 than in the past.
- Terrorism - DRI predicts that terrorism may make a significant return to western targets in 2019. This is a very scary thought to both individuals and organisations. Unfortunately, terror attacks are impossible to accurately predict or prevent. The only track of action for organisations is to ensure that their emergency management plans and procedures are fully implemented and updated. This prediction highlights the importance of regular tests and exercises, because being prepared to respond in situations such as terror attacks is the best that organisations can do.
- Pollution and Sustainability - The ideas of environmental consciousness and reduction of pollution have become very hot topics recently and they are likely to continue becoming more popular in 2019. The DRI report predicts that there will be an increase in the pressures to reduce pollution, but that ultimately there will be little action. This would mean it’s unlikely that any governments would take drastic actions such as the introduction of new laws or regulations mandating more environmentally friendly business solutions. However, the opinions of the public on such issues should be considered when assessing risks to the reputation and goodwill of an organisation. Even though environmental issues are not likely to pose legal troubles in 2019, Business Continuity Management planning should reflect the potential impacts on the organisation’s reputation.
- Flooding and Extreme Weather - Climate change and an increase in extreme weather events both pose a big problem for business continuity planners. Floods and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and often more severe. Business continuity strategies must reflect these changes in both probability and severity as they are likely to continue rising in 2019. Another consideration is the fact that most countries are moving from rural to urban economies which means weather events can affect more people and organisations than before. Many long-standing temperature and weather event records have been broken around the world in 2018 and 2019 is likely to be no different. Failing to see changes in weather trends will undoubtedly lead to failures in business continuity planning.
This list does not encompass every trend we are likely to see in 2019, but it does provide a good idea of the things organisational business continuity planners should take into consideration. Being aware of these possibilities is vital, but we recognize that incorporating them into real business continuity plans is a different challenge in and of itself. Our next blog post will outline the process of assessing predictions made by the DRI (or other experts) and actually incorporating them into an organisation’s BCM Program.
StratoGrid Advisory is a Business Continuity Management and IT Advisory firm in Ottawa that can provide you with the experience and knowledge needed to successfully implement BCP Program in your organization.
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