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Tags >> Business Continuity Planning
Oct 14
2014

Should we be planning for an Ebola Pandemic and what should we plan for?

Posted by Lorna Leslie in Business Continuity Plans , Business Continuity Planning

Lorna Leslie

Charlie Maclean-Bristol, FBCI, discusses whether the time has come for business continuity managers to make contingency plans for an Ebola pandemic.

Spain is now dealing with the first case of direct infection of Ebola in Western Europe; the first Ebola death has occurred in the United States; and the World Health Organization has warned that ‘Ebola is now entrenched in the capital cities of all three worst-affected countries and is accelerating in almost all settings’. So has the time come for business continuity managers to make contingency plans for a possible future Ebola pandemic? I think the answer to this question is, yes, we should be.

I am not suggesting that you immediately go out to the supermarket and buy lots of tinned food and water, barricade the house, be prepared to operate on battery power and bottled gas and then lie low. 

What I am suggesting is that we should be quietly thinking about how a possible Ebola pandemic might affect our organization; thinking through what an Ebola plan might look like; and monitoring the situation to ensure that you are ready to react if the situation escalates further.

So what at this stage should business continuity managers be doing?

1. One of the first tasks we should be doing as business continuity people is looking at what our possible exposure to Ebola is. What is our staff exposure to the disease, do we have staff travelling in areas, which have had cases of Ebola? As the disease spreads further, which most commentators are saying that it will do, then cases of Ebola may arise in a variety of places. We may have to react quickly if our staff are in the same area or they may be stranded by a country travel ban. 

2. What is our supply chain exposure to the disease and does it involve West Africa? Again, like staff travelling, as the disease spreads and turns up in expected areas then it may affect our supply chain. 

3. If the disease was to take hold in our country how would it affect our organization and would it create more work for us or less? If we work in an organization that would be responding to a pandemic (for example healthcare services) or are a supplier to such an organization, then it is likely our workload will increase. If our organization supplies essential services or part of the country’s ‘critical infrastructure’ such as power, food, water, etc. then we will be under a lot of pressure from government to keep working. Whilst if our organization does not supply something critical then we can perhaps temporarily close down our organization without a major impact beyond our own employees. Any contingency planning should reflect how it affects the individual organization!

4. Once we understand our exposure, then we should be engaging with senior managers in our organization and discussing our organization’s exposure and what action we should be taking at the moment. It we have no exposure then perhaps we should be agreeing to continue to monitor the situation. We may want to agree at this stage what sort of events might trigger further action. If we have a larger exposure then perhaps we should start some contingency planning and engaging with those parts of the business or people who may be at risk.

5. I think at this stage it is very important that we are not seen to panic or to overreact, as this might undermine any other contingency planning for other events; may undermine the credibility of the individuals involved in contingency planning; and may undermine any further escalation within the organization if this is required. Especially if there is a risk to our organization, some measured communication to staff informing them of appropriate risk reduction measures to take, any travel bans and what to do if they think they have been in contact with someone with the disease may help reassure them that you are thinking about the risk and taking appropriate action.

6. It may be appropriate for your organization to carry out some contingency planning to cover scenarios such as loss of a key supplier; if a staff member becomes infected; or if parts of your organization were quarantined. This may involve dusting off influenza pandemic plans and other contingency plans and seeing how appropriate they are in response to Ebola and amending the plans accordingly. I suspect if there was a full pandemic, government would in the main very much dictate the response and precautions to be taken by businesses and individuals.

7. I think, in the end, if we do nothing else we should monitor the situation on a day by day basis; so that we can react quickly if Ebola might, or is likely to, have an impact on our organization. 


The author
Charlie Maclean-Bristol, FBCI, FEPS, Director of Training, PlanB Consulting. PlanB Consulting is able to provide continuity planning risk assessments, advice and contingency plans for any organization that has an exposure to Ebola risk. www.planbconsulting.co.uk

Aug 27
2014

Here are few tips to keeping your BC plan and program healthy!

Posted by Linda Laun in DR , Disaster Recovery , Business Continuity Planning , Business Continuity Management , Business Continuity

Linda Laun

Food is a universal language. So is man’s need to survive. Whether in the business world or the kitchen we need a simple recipe for business continuity success.  In this four part series I’ll introduce you to the four basic courses necessary when cooking up an appetizing and rewarding business continuity program. This week the focus is on doing what’s good for us…exercising and eating our veggies!

May 08
2014

Why Plan? A Closer Look at Business Continuity

Posted by Courtney Bowers in Disaster Recovery , Business Continuity Planning , Business Continuity , Avalution Blogs

Courtney Bowers

By Ross Ladley, Avalution Consulting
Originally posted on Avalution Consulting’s Business Continuity Blog

Business continuity is an often talked about risk management practice, especially with what appears to be an ever increasing number of serious disasters, including Superstorm Sandy, the California wildfires, and the Japanese Tsunami – and that’s only natural disasters! Disruptive incidents can stem from major events such as these, but they can also originate from events that are far less visible and widespread, including sprinkler malfunctions, power outages, supply shortages, and an IT disruption.

Feb 20
2014

Ski boots and celery

Posted by Andy Osborne in Business Continuity Plans , Business Continuity Planning , Awareness

Andy Osborne

By Andy Osborne, Acumen.  
Originally posted on Oz's Business Continuity Blog.

I love skiing. It’s right up there on my list of top ten favourite things (I’ll keep the other nine and their relative positions to myself for now, on the grounds that divulging them may incriminate me).

Nov 19
2013

Combatting the Annual Disaster to Your Bottom Line – “Holiday Presenteeism” – by Keeping Your Employees Focused During the Festivities

Posted by Fred Rogers in Disaster Recovery Tools , Disaster Recovery Planning , Calamity , Business Continuity Planning

Fred Rogers

Nov 13
2013

Delving into the depths

Posted by Andy Osborne in Business Continuity Plans , Business Continuity Planning , Business Continuity Management , Business Continuity

Andy Osborne

By Andy Osborne, Acumen.    
Originally posted on Oz's Business Continuity Blog

Following the recent departure of number one son to Manchester (see “University challenge”), on Sunday afternoon I decided to address a small issue that's been troubling me for a while. For several years, in fact. When I say troubling, I mean causing my blood to simmer gently on a pretty much permanent basis, and to boil over about once a week, often punctuated by the phrase "...and tidy your @*~%#& bedroom!"

Jun 18
2013

Your business DNA: Do you have an inherited disease?

Posted by Jarrett F Potts in tape backups , STORServer , software , save money , Not just IT , IT , DR Test , DR , Disaster Recovery Planning , Business Continuity Planning , Business Continuity

Jarrett F Potts

You are an administrator of your company’s IT infrastructure. Before you came along, it was someone else’s job, but you inherited their mess. While another person built the infrastructure, it is now your responsibility to manage everything that happens within it. 

 

May 14
2013

Scalability–You grow, it grows!

Posted by Jarrett F Potts in DR , Disaster Recovery , Data Backups , Cloud , Business Continuity Planning , Business Continuity

Jarrett F Potts

When keeping pace with growing data, a major concern for IT organizations, in terms of both storage and data protection is how the data protection solution will handle the growth.

Apr 22
2013

Let's have some fun?

Posted by Jarrett F Potts in Testing , STORServer , STORServer , DR Test , Disaster Recovery Planning , Disaster Recovery , Disaster Recovery , Business Continuity Planning

Jarrett F Potts

So you have planned.  You have a strategy.  You are ready.

Are you really?

Feb 05
2013

SUPER BOWL AND YOUR BUSINESS

Posted by Skip Williams in Paying for Preparedness , KingsBridge , Emeregency Management , DRP , DR , Disaster Recovery Planning , Disaster Recovery , Business Continuity Program , Business Continuity Planning , Business Continuity Development , Business Continuity , BCP

Skip Williams

How does watching football on Sunday translate into to-do’s for Monday?  More than 100 million people watched the Super Bowl on Feb 3rd, they were expecting a great game and some good entertainment.  What they got was almost a disaster for CBS.  In the recovery planning business, we are always trying to minimize the likelihood of an incident becoming a disaster.  CBS did an excellent job of this on Sunday.

When the power went out in half of the Superdome and the game was stopped unexpectedly, CBS did a good job of keeping people entertained for the 34-minute delay.  While they likely didn’t plan for the lights going out in half of the building, they did have a contingency plan for the power going out and as a result were able to keep most fans watching the commercials and the announcers.  The numbers aren’t available yet, but they might have sold more commercials because of the extra prime-time viewership the “abnormality” created.