Business Continuity Plan: before and after COVID-19

The current pandemic situation caused by the infamous COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) is impacting all areas of society: the first and most important, that of public health and the individual’s inherent primary survival instinct. Probably, the second concern is the economic impact that, as a worker or as an entrepreneur, the epidemic is causing in the operations and forecasts of companies and corporations of any sector and nature.

But the world does not stop … and organizations cannot afford to stop their business operations either!

Ilustración 1: Fuente Ejército de Tierra

We have all seen it. Overnight, and for a period of time still unknown, organizations from various sectors have been forced to send home the bulk of their employees to connect to corporate information processing resources with the purpose of maintaining minimum levels of business operations during this transitional period.

And the first question that arises is: were all the organizations prepared to adopt this strategy of continuity of their operations? Did they adopt the model when the health circumstances advised it or, on the contrary, did it take them a few more days than was recommended so as to hastily supply the resources and technical solutions necessary to face this new scenario? Beyond the often experimental formulas for teleworking for some employees on certain days of the week, were laptops, remote access infrastructure, virtual meeting rooms, etc., ready for the entire workforce?

On the other hand, it is evident that the elderly are at the center of the threat posed by the spread of the virus, but neither do the younger sectors of the working population escape its devastating consequences: are organizations prepared to face the unforeseen temporary absence of a certain number of key profiles in their operations without undermining the proper performance of the corporation?

Will there still be entities with an old Business Continuity Plan that has been forgotten for some years in some bookstore or in some resource of the corporate network, but that was never tested? Or, more worrying still, will there be organizations that have never considered the need to design and implement such a plan?

The answer to both questions can be intuited, but, for those organizations that did see the importance of having this capability to ensure the continuity of their business operations, another disturbing question remains: when analyzing the risks in the planning phase of the business continuity management system, were contagious diseases, pandemics or epidemics considered a relevant risk?

Certainly, this crisis is demonstrating how life can change from one day to the next and how a threat that, a few weeks ago, was perceived as something distant focused on the far east, has moved its epicenter to the heart of European society and the business world, jumping borders and continents in a way never seen before.

But even these critical times are opportunities for business leaders determined to ensure the resilience and future of their organizations. After ensuring the health of our employees, as the essential raw material for our organizations, it is time to review the status of our Business Continuity Plan and update it according to a scenario that, perhaps, few could have imagined as probable.

It is time to become aware of the new risks and to make profound decisions, because this pandemic represents a before and after.

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