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Business continuity plans must consider global repercussions

While continuity of operations planning often focuses on local risks, there is a global component that companies need to consider as well.
While continuity of operations planning often focuses on local risks, there is a global component that companies need to consider as well.

While continuity of operations planning often focuses on local risks – flooding, fires, severe weather and other natural disasters – there is a global component that companies need to consider as well. According to a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, international risks can have an impact on even small businesses due to the globalization of services and operations.

If a company has suppliers halfway across the globe, or stores its data in a cloud computing facility in India, a crisis there can have an immediate impact on workflow domestically.

"Enterprise resilience is not just about surviving in the present. It is about having the foresight, capability and agility to adapt and evolve. The relentless pressure on businesses to cut costs while enhancing their long-term prospects of survival means that agility can sometimes be at odds with the requirement for robust protection mechanisms," noted James Crask, senior manager at PwC. "For many, this can result in poorly considered investments in resilience. The 'buffers' that contribute to resilience are increasingly seen as an unnecessary expense and are removed to reduce costs."

The report, "Responding to Global Risks," examined the efforts businesses need to take to protect themselves from global incidents and strengthen their business continuity planning. By extending risk management and assessment to a planetary scale, businesses can take in the bigger picture and anticipate even little changes that could affect workflow. A power outage in Asia might not seem like a big deal, but when it affects a manufacturer who supplies a vendor that a small company purchases from, it could slow office operations down significantly two or three months down the road. By investing in the help of business continuity consultants, firms can take these issues into account and prepare for any eventuality.