By Gamal Newry
From time to time, companies experience events that disrupt business and their ability to provide service, consequently impeding revenue streams. The challenge is knowing when, and which, events will occur. If they were known then risk management would not be such a daunting task.
Such incidents can range from power outages to industrial action, prank bomb scares and air system contamination. Whatever the event, and whenever it occurs, best practice suggests that the business, in the first instance, takes steps to protect the assets. Then, it moves to prevent the event occurring, while also preparingh for the inevitable. It will then be in a position to respond to the incident and, finally, there is the ability to recover from the event.
The ability of your company to efficiently and effectively transition from one step to the other is called ‘Organisation Resilience’. The question for your consideration is: How resilient is your business? Is your organisation ready to manage the diverse incidents and events that can disrupt your business? Let’s take a closer look at the criteria mentioned above.
- Asset Protection
From fortifying the location to surveillance systems and pass codes, this speaks to both physical and electronic applications designed to safeguard the actual item of value. Not just a glass window, but hurricane impact windows. For our purpose this phase also speaks to company policy regarding culture and behaviour.
- Steps to Prevent the Occurrence
How secure is your business? If you are a follower of my articles, you will understand that we are speaking about a multi-layered approach to protection. Not just the guard at the door, but what the guard is doing while at the door, plus the strength of your firewall. The action of asset protection is to reduce, delay, deter and eliminate, where possible, the opportunity for disruptive events.
- Prepare for the Inevitable
The reality is that no matter how good your efforts are, ‘Murphy’s Law’ will come about. Thus likelihood must be balanced against consequence and the resulting impacts. This raises questions about how much should be spent on fire suppression systems versus training on how to use it.
- Incident Response
This component is directly proportional to preparedness, with heavy emphasis placed on training and awareness. The respondents must know their role and what is required of them. During response, it is important not to forget the role of the public, so communications is key. An educated public leads to the next level.
- Event Recovery
This is the availability of applicable resources to facilitate the timely, and realistic, recovery of primary operations and services. The impact of the event will likely determine your ability to recover critical functions. Recovery should not be confused with business resumption, as normality usually takes a longer period and may not be within a company’s control.
What has been discussed thus far is a management system designed to help a company become resilient or improve upon their current status. Based on my experience, fundamental to all systems are the operators. As I write this, note the world is glued to TV watching the unfolding events surrounding the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing.
NB: Gamal Newry is the president of Preventative Measures, a loss prevention and asset protection training and consulting company, specialising in policy and procedure development, business security reviews and audits, and emergency and crisis management. Comments can be sent to PO Box N-3154 Nassau, Bahamas, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.preventativemeasures.org