“Entering into a crisis is not the time to figure out what you want to be. You must already be a well-functioning organization prepared to rapidly mobilize your resources, take your losses, and survive another day for the good of all your stakeholders.” ¹
Presidia has had the pleasure of assisting large and small clients, from many different sectors, with emergency planning. In the course of hundreds of reviews and threat risk assessments, a pandemic was almost always identified as a viable threat to the organization under review. Often the answer to “are you prepared” was a simple yes and let’s move on. If we didn’t know it before, the global attention and strain caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has taught us how serious this issue can be.
COVID-19 is a true emergency that has touched virtually every business and Government department in Canada. Our emergency plans were in place (hopefully) and are now being tested. One of the questions that will surely come up during after-action reviews will be “did our plan go far enough?” Often, emergency plans can make the assumption that many external services, such as our supply chain will continue to be available. Recent events are testing that assumption.
When conducting our continuity and emergency planning it is important to consider the vital goods and services we need to continue our operations. Key areas of vulnerability could include, but are not limited to the following:
- Healthcare/Medical supplies
Protecting the resiliency of our supply chain requires several considerations when conducting business continuity planning:
Assessment of Current State: The vital supplies and current supply measures and routes should be mapped out. Weaknesses in the system that could be adversely affected by pandemics or other crises should be identified.
Develop Options: Backup options should be developed to support or replace the current supply chain in the event of failure. Ideally, several options should be identified and prioritized for each vital good or service.
Develop Data Monitoring Points: Key data points that could signal impending weakness or failure of the current supply chain should be identified. Data points should also be identified for backup options.
Once the crisis has hit and our continuity plan has been triggered our previously identified data points become key. At this point monitoring of the data points for both the current supply chain and backup options should be implemented. Monitoring will identify impending weakness or failure of the supply chain before it becomes critical allowing for preparation and implementation of a suitable backup option to occur.
Presidia Security Consulting, a member of the ADGA Group of Companies, has extensive experience conducting Business Continuity Planning, After-Action Reviews and Lessons Learned Reviews for large government departments and private businesses. Should you require further information or assistance we can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author, Stephen Moore, is Principal and Security Strategy lead at Presidia Security Consulting. He can be reached at email@example.com.