While smaller businesses often don't think twice about geopolitical impact on their operations, they might need to start as various global situations escalate. Beyond conflict in Africa and the Middle East, more firms are seeing their workflows affected by disputes in the Ukraine, Russia and Asia. Supply chains are going international, and many companies are outsourcing their data center needs to Europe, India and other parts of Asia, spreading their influence but also increasing the likelihood of an international incident having an impact on their operations.
As such, continuity of operations planning needs to begin taking geopolitical climates into consideration.
"These risks are continuing to grow in this new era of political uncertainty," Andrew Coburn, director of the Centre for Risk Studies Advisory Board at Cambridge Judge Business School, told Continuity Central. "Businesses should reappraise their readiness to manage possible disruption to their activities from armed conflicts in different parts of the globe."
The center recently published a report, Global Risks 2015 Report, which identified more than 100 potential country-to-country conflicts, all with the potential to cause an interruption to business operations anywhere in the world.
Another example is the growing regional conflict between China and Japan, which, if it continues to grow, could cause major disruptions to the global economy, potentially resulting in a greater financial crisis than in 2008. While most risk areas were located in Middle East and Central and Eastern Africa, Eastern Europe, India, parts of Latin America and Southeast Asia were all high-risk locations as well, according to the report.
Any company with supply chain vendors or partners located across the globe, or outsourced data center operations, needs to carefully consider the geopolitical climate as part of their business continuity plan.