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All Eyes on Cyber

by Brian Sims
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

The large-scale cyber attacks that occurred last year have served to reaffirm the need for fashioning cyber-resilient organisations. That’s according to the Business Continuity Institute’s (BCI) Horizon Scan 2018, released in association with the BSI. For the second year in succession, the threat posed by data breaches has been ranked second.

The BCI’s Horizon Scan assesses the business preparedness of 657 organisations worldwide and shows that 53% of business continuity and resilience professionals are ‘extremely concerned’ about the possibility of a cyber attack. Meanwhile, 42% are worried about the possibility of a data breach, with 36% concerned about unplanned IT or telecommunications outages.

Physical security challenges also remain a major concern for organisations, with 18% of businesses questioned identifying any interruption to utility supplies and adverse weather as being severe threats. There’s an intrinsic connection between these two concerns, as severe weather events – such as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey – often damage infrastructure and utility services. This unavoidable chain reaction reinforces the importance of workplace recovery plans designed to help organisations become better prepared for crises, in turn ensuring the safety of their staff and the stability of operations.

The BCI’s report suggests that professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits that business continuity brings to their organisations. The use of ISO 22301 for business continuity is certainly burgeoning, as is the investment made into detailed business continuity management programmes.

Moreover, the results of the study suggest that there’s a positive correlation between the amount of time spent by organisations in adopting and embedding business continuity management arrangements and the likelihood of businesses to keep investing in them. No less than 86% of organisations who’ve had business continuity plans in place for five years or more stated that they will either increase or maintain their investment in this area. The BCI’s report proposes that this could be due to the fact that professionals are beginning to see a return on investment from their business continuity planning.

Howard Kerr, CEO at the BSI, informed Risk UK: “With the stakes continuing to rise as the development of more sophisticated smart technologies gathers pace, organisations simply cannot afford to be complacent. They may well be cognisant of the importance of business continuity, but it’s not just this that will build their organisational resilience. A much more holistic approach is required. One that’s focused on understanding all strengths and vulnerabilities.”

Terrorism and/or gun violence appear to be a growing concern for many business continuity professionals who should also determine to remain vigilant about natural catastrophes and pandemics that could occur in the short term and might well exert a highly disruptive impact.

Positively, organisations do seem to be heading in the right direction in terms of preparedness. Detailed business continuity arrangements now exhibit consistent growth. A win-win scenario.

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