Best Practice Guide
The state of business continuity management in the age of Covid-19
In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, it seems business continuity plans (BCPs), processes, and programs have never been in greater demand, as the C-suite wakes up to the need to adequately prepare for continuity events that could impact prioritized activities. But before business continuity managers get too confident in their ability to build sustainable programs going forward, they need to take a trip down memory lane, because we’ve been here before.
Both the 11 September 2001 terror attacks and late 2000’s financial crisis spurred similar upticks in the popularity of business continuity management systems (BCMS). After both crises, federal, state, and local governments even went so far as to put new statutes on the books, mandating a base-level of business resilience among organisations operating in their jurisdictions – we can expect something similar coming out of this present public health crisis.
Despite those previous measures, the interest in business continuity management soon waned. Indeed, by the time Covid-19 came along, an alarming number of companies were unprepared, with some surveys pointing to majorities of up to 70 percent of companies lacking pre-existing disaster or crisis plans - and that was even after close shaves with the SARS outbreak (2003), Swine Flu (2009), and Ebola (2014).
Other surveys put the percentage of companies with a business continuity plan (BCP) at the outset of the pandemic closer to 65 percent. But just below that top line, the numbers were troubling. Of the organizations that had BCPs, only 22 percent had plans that covered contingencies for more than two months, while the plurality, 48 percent, had BCPs that only covered two to three weeks-worth of emergency operations.
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