Since the term was coined, most businesses have focused their business continuity planning around the probabilities of catastrophic system outages, terrorist threats and cybercrime.
Few could have foreseen that a global pandemic would threaten the continuity of their business or anticipate the wholesale changes they would be forced to make to sustain that business. We asked Shane Ross (Head of Risk) and Fiona Linton (Information Security Manager) how e.surv has adapted its business continuity planning in recent months and how it will inform our future continuity plans.
Shane: While stringent and prescriptive, our business continuity plans must afford us the flexibility to adapt to sizeable changes in the commercial landscape; changes we are often required to make at pace. For some time, e.surv has followed the principles of ISO22301 – the recognised standard of business continuity planning – which can be applied to a broad range of crises and scenarios. Pandemic is one such crisis and while the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, SARS and Swine Flu have presented similar challenges in recent years.
Shane: Fortunately, e.surv had the foresight to invest in business continuity training for its senior team and line management community in recent months – foresight that paid dividends during pre-lockdown planning, the implementation of lockdown working arrangements, and post-lockdown recovery as we applied a series of Business Continuity frameworks to structure our response.
It’s important to understand that business continuity is not just about survival. It’s about resilience and adaptability, supporting people, changing environments, new ideas, innovation, working together, and looking after our environment.
How will COVID-19 change our future planning? Shane: Quite frankly, it won’t. Provided all the relevant and qualified stakeholders are engaged from the beginning of invocation, all businesses have the capability to make informed decisions. In the wake of COVID-19, it has never been more important to make decisions that protect people, protect the NHS, and protect our planet.