In the first bulletin of 2023, Charlie discusses the potential issues that may arise this year and how organisations may be able to approach and deal with them.
I have been doing quite a lot of reading over the Christmas holiday and have got most of the way through the “Grey Rhino – How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore” book by Michele Wucker, and so there will shortly be a bulletin on some thoughts on, and from, the book. For the first bulletin of the year, I felt it should look forward to what I see are the issues for business continuity professionals over the next year. So, what do we have to look forward to (or not) over the next year?
1. Cyber attacks will continue unabated but perhaps aimed at less well-known organisations. The article I read this morning seems to confirm this. You can find this here. We need to continue to work with our IT Security and Cyber colleagues and play our part in preparedness by making sure there are cyber incident management plans in place, the plans are exercised, cyber response training is conducted, and our business continuity plans are up to date.
2. Weather extremes. We have already had the warmest new year in history in parts of Europe, showing the adverse impact of climate change and our weather continues to persist. We can expect more extreme weather over the next year, both hot and cold, dry and wet, as well as unseen weather, and its impact could take place in areas where they have not taken place before. We must be prepared for the unexpected.
3. Supply chain issues. These could range from spillovers from the Ukrainian war to further unrest in China and further escalation of the Taiwan / China confrontation. Volatility over the cost of fuel could make shipping more difficult to find and more expensive. If there is a global recession then suppliers could go out of business, especially those who have had to weather the increased costs of fuel, energy, and interest rates. Business continuity and procurement professionals should watch their supply chain and suppliers for any issues or indications of failure.
4. Global recession. Not to be too pessimistic, but it looks like the UK is heading towards a recession, and I saw an article which was either in the Economist or The Times newspaper, that a third of the world’s countries could fall into recession next year. As there seems to be a world recession every 10-15 years, this would fit the pattern. For me, it seems like the most resilient organisations are going to be able to survive or even thrive in this climate, and we can play an important part in making our organisations more resilient.
5. Strikes and labour issues. Presently, most strikes are by public sector workers which are affecting all our lives. If they get the increases in pay they want, then it may embolden other organisations’ staff to strike or employees will put pressure on their organisations to increase wages in line with others’ awards. The increase in the cost of living makes the reason for increased wages difficult to ignore. I suspect all of us in the business continuity profession would like a pay rise, but we may find ourselves developing plans for mitigating the impact of strikes by our suppliers on our own organisation, or even strikes by our own employees.
6. Power outages. The government has been warning us for some time about the possibility of power cuts or rota power cuts. If the government said we should prepare for them, then we should take their advice and make sure we are prepared and perhaps ensure that our key customers are prepared as well.
We need to review our organisation’s susceptibility to these risks and make sure that we have contingency plans in place, have exercises in some of them, and have horizon-scanning in place so that if some of them mature, we can recognise them early and then implement mitigation measures. I think the next year will be a difficult year for all organisations and as business continuity professionals, we should play our part in making sure that we are prepared to recognise them early and ensure we have plans in place for responding to and recovering from them.
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