Monday, December 5, 2011

Are you prepared?

Does your company have a comprehensive business continuity plan? Do you even need one? While I was sceptical about the value when I first participated in the Sarbanes Oxley audit, I quickly became a believer. By going through and dissecting the process, I quickly realized that the company was inadvertently exposed to many unknown risks; upon analysis many of them were very simple to fix with little or no cost.

While you may not be mandated by legislation to implement such a contingency plan in your organization, it is worthwhile to look at all your processes to find gaps and opportunities for improvement.

So whether you already have a plan in place or are considering how to get started, here are some tips on the types of risks you should consider:
  • Personnel Risk. It is important that companies apply due diligence to the screening and selection of their employees through reliable background investigations. This is especially important for management roles or those positions with access to sensitive information.
  • Competitive Risk. Business activities are at risk if companies are not cognizant of how competition is strategizing commercial activities, placing them at a commercial disadvantage. Investigative services and analysis can provide companies with advice and guidance on how to compete in their markets.
  • Due Diligence Risk. A company must be confident that its client, partner, or subcontractor is appropriate in terms of closing deals involving legal, liability, or capital investments. Investigative services can ensure that companies are reputable and appropriate to engage with.
  • Reputation Risk. Brands and reputations underpin the status and reliability image of a business; therefore, damage to either brands or a company’s reputation can undermine its commercial productivity.
  • Information Risk. Information technology (IT) enhances commercial productivity; however, it also leaves companies vulnerable to data theft or loss. Industrial, criminal, government, or terrorist espionage has serious implications for businesses, and IT must be physically and technologically protected.
  • Intellectual Property Risk. Commercial espionage or organized crime poses a serious threat to established products as well as emerging markets. Intellectual property is subject to theft or replication, which would undermine the value of the producer’s performance.
  • Physical Risk. Crime, insurgency, terrorism, civil unrest, and natural disasters are unpredictable and have significant impacts on companies and individuals. Risk mitigation, contingency planning, and crisis planning can be used to offset the spectrum of risks facing a company.
  • Political Risk. Political instabilities have considerable impacts on global companies, as well as those operating within their parent country. The analysis and assessment of opaque and uncertain political environments will aid clients in complex political environments.
Remember, these risks do not have to be real to impact the business, all risks perceived or real should be considered when you plan for contingencies.

To find out how the EDGE program can help you to develop your business continuity plan contact us now.

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