A history lesson.
Viral infections of pandemic proportions is nothing new. We only need to look in very recent history to examples such as SARS, MERS and now COVID-19. All to varying degress have caused unexpected death and global financial interruption and hardship. As we continue to globalization for almost everything, it can be predicted that there will be more events like this and unfortunately some could be considerably more dangerous than those we have already experienced. So, with that knowledge, organizations need to be ready. Be as ready as they are already prepared for the boring power failure, or the brief IP interruption. With that, all of your risks and threats need to be reviewed, assessed, and re-assessed as a matter of continuous and good practice. The risk of the pandemic and others is one driver for organizations to look to investing in staff, maintaining, or implementing new redundancies with an eye to be able to go back to remote work, management, and leadership more fluidly.
One understanding, or perhaps prediction for the COVID-19 infection is that it will move from pandemic to endemic. Meaning, like the common cold or seasonal flu, it will rear its ugly head once or twice a year making a global tour from region to region, then taking some time off to only do it again the following year.
Risk, Security and Business Continuity Plans should be updated as a result of the current event. But more than that, the teams working to piece all of this together need to be forward looking. What are the preventative measures that can be instituted now or be on the ready; flu shots for all staff, increasing or having on the ready additional preparedness measures (additional supplier agreements, additional site redundancies, increase in IT robustness and protection).
Agreements that are currently in place with vendors should be reviewed and perhaps re-written or amended to include possible requirements or procedures for the next endemic, epidemic or pandemic. This is done to alleviate strain on the customer vendor relationship as it relates to continuing business, and even payment or receiving interruptions.
Many organizations are transitioning to their recovery stages for their business whilst some may not leave their current state of response until, they are comfortable that the pandemic is actually over. Because of this many with mission critical functions will increase contingency planning and efforts not only for the next pandemic but that tomorrows next event.
Updates more probable.
Detailed and most likely more frequent reviewed and updating of risk, security, business continuity plans and disaster recovery plans is likely for many organizations for today forward. If we had to make a prediction it would be that the process of assessing, creating, training, testing and so on of plans and procedures will become more formalized in organized that perhaps it wasn’t before this event but in the same line of thinking they will become simple. This event put a great strain on many response teams. Those members are tired. The simplification will allow others that perhaps are not as qualified to step into roles and perform the necessary tasks and functions creating a more agile, flexible response team.
Contingency planning will take a hard look at their supply chain. Great consideration will be made to secondary, and tertiary supplies.
Plan on it being here for a while.
Many of the plans, policies and procedures reactively put in place to address this pandemic in those regions and areas greatly affected will to some varying degrees merge right into their operations in perpetuity. On the flip side, this should not be done without an assessment to determine the cost benefit analysis to the organization…and no it may not boil down just to dollars and cents.
We have experience millions and millions of individuals who had to turn on a dime and work remotely. We have seen the impacts globally on less commuting, from decreased environmental impact to increases in productivity. There are also the unforeseen disadvantages or the unseen impacts, and that is the health and mental well being of members of organizations.
A couple of ringers.
We are seeing an increase in specific talent acquisition efforts. Organizations are wanting to increase their depth of knowledge and specific skills as it relates to Risk and Security, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning. Not only is this a strategic move to hopefully ensure a greater resiliency plan moving forward but it speaks also to alleviating a strain on the organization as many are and have experienced during this current pandemic.
Tomorrow will allow us to review the lessons learned and move forward. Tomorrow will also test us in different ways not unlike this current pandemic but hopefully with not as much might.
We have been and will continue to assist organizations through this event and tomorrow’s events.
Plan the Work. Work the Plan.