4 key areas of risk in 2017

4 key areas of risk in 2017

While building your organisation’s resilience, it makes sense to focus on the risk areas.

By Michael Davies, CEO, ContinuitySA

In my previous blog, I argued that an unpredictable risk landscape meant that building organisational resilience must be a key driver for all business continuity activities. That said, it remains good sense to focus especially on those areas which seem most likely to be the sources of risk in the coming year.

Based on our interaction with clients, our experience and a close reading of many research reports, the following areas should be very much on your radar for 2017:

  • Cyber risk. There is more data than ever. Storing and protecting it is critical from the legal and business points of view. Mobility and the Internet of Things is complicating the picture more than somewhat—both are creating a whole new quantum of vulnerability alongside their usefulness.
  • Civil unrest. Since 2014, the number of invocations by our clients owing to civil unrest and industrial action has risen significantly. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the biggest cause of invocations in 2016. It would be a brave executive who expressed any certainty about what the year ahead will hold, especially when it comes to student and service delivery protests.
  • Eskom seems to have made strides in the past year or so, with power outages relatively infrequent, but that could change if the economy picks up and demand improves. Meanwhile, many organisations have made themselves more resilient by installing generators. Similarly, it seems as though constraints on water supplies are likely to worsen, so a water tank could add a little extra resilience.
  • Crisis communications. In the connected world I have described, when a crisis does occur, the way an organisation responds will affect the success of its ultimate recovery. Crisis communications are particularly important, and very difficult to do right in the heat of the moment. Make sure your crisis response plan includes communications.

One final point: Research into enterprise resilience[1] shows that having the right kind of leadership is the highest priority to ensure resilience, but one-third of respondents say they lack those skills. Business continuity and resilience has become a specialist discipline, so making use of a specialist partner makes more and more sense to more and more organisations.

[1] Control Risks, The State of Enterprise Resilience Survey 2016/17.