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Readers Note: This article was originally published in December of 2019 and before unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020.
The Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) recently released its 4th Annual BCM Trends and Predictions Report, which provides predictions for resilience trends in 2019/2020.
There are ten predictions in the report, but this article will explore 5 with the highest impacts. Business continuity planners must always be on the lookout for such trends to ensure that their plans stay effective over time.
1. 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 more significant 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 that may not employ adequate cyber protection. Even though cyber attacks are not a new concept, how 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 organization operating within the country, as it may lead to the publication of protected data or the disruption of critical services provided by government agencies.
2. Supply Chain disruptions
Supply chain disruptions are nothing new, and any Business Continuity Plans will undoubtedly consider them. 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 disruption will occur, affecting the supply of telecom components in Asia.
The result could be a severe adverse effect on the global cell phone market, but it may not be a very realistic business continuity planning consideration for most organizations.
This specific prediction may not be very pertinent, but the underlying cause should not be dismissed. The increased risk of cyber threats would affect not only the target but also any others who either import or export products and services from/to the organization disrupted by a cyber attack.
All organizations 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 2020 than in the past.
DRI predicts that terrorism may make a significant return to western targets in 2020. This could be a terrifying thought to both individuals and organizations. Unfortunately, terror attacks are impossible to predict or prevent accurately. The only track of action for organizations 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 organizations can do.
4. Pollution and Sustainability
The ideas of environmental consciousness and the reduction of pollution have become important topics recently, and they are likely to continue growing more popular in 2020. 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 organization.
Even though environmental issues are not likely to pose legal troubles in 2020, Business Continuity Management planning should reflect the potential impacts on the organization’s reputation.
5. 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 2020.
Another consideration is the fact that most countries are moving from rural to urban economies, which means weather events can affect more people and organizations than before. Many long-standing temperature and weather event records were broken around the world in 2019, and 2020 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 2020. Still, it does provide a good idea of the things organizational 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 future blog post will outline the process of assessing predictions made by the DRI (or other experts) and incorporating them into an organization’s BCM Program.
StratoGrid Advisory is a Business Continuity Management (BCM) Advisory firm in the Ottawa/Gatineau region that can provide you with the experience and knowledge needed to successfully implement a BCM Program in your organization.