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Operational Resilience and COVID-19

At this unsettling time globally, detailed planning across all activities is essential to allow us to sensibly tackle the challenges we face.  We always need to quickly analyse a changing mix of emerging risk factors, possibilities and probabilities.  Think big; start small; and start now.

We face a rapidly evolving and challenging situation being caused by the COVID-19 virus, a type of coronavirus.  This COVID-19 virus was declared by the World Health Organisation to be a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

This situation is another example of the continuing need for people and businesses to operate with permanent readiness to achieve what is often called “operational resilience”.

Detailed UK government advice is being updated frequently.  Businesses are receiving guidance on topics including what to do about any suspected exposures to COVID-19 among employees or clients, deep cleaning of offices, rubbish disposal and continency plans for all or some employees to work at home.

The UK Government has now moved its four-stage reaction strategy from “containment” to “delay”.  More control measures will be introduced as COVID-19 increases its predicted severity and impact over the next few months.  Such measures may include increased social distancing, cancellation of public events, staggered commuting times and self-isolation.

Explanation of operational resilience

All firms need a resilient approach to operational risk management that includes preventative measures and the capabilities – people, processes, technology and culture – to adapt and recover when things go wrong.

Operational resilience refers to the ability of firms, people and whole industry sectors to prevent, respond to, recover and learn from operational disruptions.  It remains vital for individual firms to assess their own capability and capacity for operational resilience so that they are well-placed for operational success with mitigation strategies.

Operational resilience is much broader than only IT-related risks and it requires far wider consideration across ALL business activities about how the continuity of the services that firms provide might be maintained regardless of the cause of disruption.

Actions and information

Take actions to build an effective framework to identify risks, protecting whatever is important to you.  Set minimum expectations for controls and capabilities.  Accept that, at some time, some or all critical systems and processes will fail.

We recently wrote for our clients an eight-page White Paper as an introduction to operational resilience including relevant specialist consultancy services that can help to build a robust and effective framework.

 

If you are interested to learn more about operational resilience, that document is found here: