The unprecedented scale of interdependence and connectivity of the world has forced governments, businesses and individuals to operate in a permanent flux.
International political instability, cyber attacks and terrorism are at the top of the list of external forces that are affecting Australian businesses, regardless of where the event originates or plays out. Take the cyber attack on shipping giant Maersk in 2017, when for two weeks malware disrupted access to the computers that staff used to run its shipping terminals. The world’s supply chain was instantly halted and at the mercy of one company’s cyber posture and resilience.
In many cases, these events are almost impossible to anticipate. The damage they cause is even more unpredictable, as the financial costs potentially could be compounded by long-term damage to a business’s ability to function.
However, there are a number of measures an organisation can take to ensure it’s in the best possible position to mitigate any long-lasting effects.
Identify and mitigate threats
The first step is to identify potential threats. In today’s fluctuating business environment, it’s essential for business leaders to arm themselves with the knowledge of the potential threats their organisations face and the impacts on business operations that those threats, if realised, might cause.
Second, individuals must be responsible for monitoring these potential threats. With many unforeseen parties and factors involved, it is essential for a business to ensure clear lines of reporting, delegation and managerial oversight. These individuals should also be capable of devising a response plan no matter what the threat is and asking questions: Is this threat manageable? Is there more that could be done today to lessen the effects in the future?
Third, businesses need to consider a broader response framework to identify, assess, monitor and plan for the impact of threats. Regular reviews, consultations, information sharing and updates are essential to ensure the process runs as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. These steps can help ensure organisations are prepared on the day of a potential threat or crisis. Loss of revenue, public and employer liability, or evacuating an office or factory can all present serious business continuity challenges.
Teams must commit to the process
Finally, businesses are made of people. It’s the people that must commit to the process and own the response. It can be tempting when dealing with the day-to-day pressures of a job to deprioritise a task such as this.
“Businesses are made of people. It’s the people that must commit to the process and own the response.”
After all, there are only so many hours in the day and working on tasks with an impending deadline will inevitably be viewed as more vital than planning for an event that may never occur. Strong leadership and commitment is key.
Aon is constantly researching these threats and assisting businesses to navigate through uncertain times by providing business continuity and crisis management consulting and insurance as well as other specialist solutions.
The information contained on this website is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice (personal or otherwise) because your personal needs, objectives and financial situation have not been considered. So before deciding whether a particular product is right for you, please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or contact us at Aon Risk Services Australia Limited to speak to an adviser.
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call the Aon team on 1800 688 582.