Business Resilience – are you prepared?

capsuleIn business today, there is no such thing as being over prepared.

An example of business resilience is the case of the Bankstown City Council Fire on 01 July 1997.   The council had no business continuity plan in place at the time and recovery from the fire was expected to take an extended period BUT the council’s response was organised, the staff were highly motivated and services were quickly restored.   A BC plan is not the sole key in the process of recovering from severe business disruption.    To create a resilient business environment requires effective and motivated leadership, devolved decision making, supportive external partners and a highly driven and effective work force.

Business Resilience is not a checklist or plan but it is a way that the business approaches business.   It is found in the businesses culture, in their leadership, in the business attitudes and most of all in the corporate values that flow through the whole business.

Being resilient can provide a business with a competitive advantage.   Following an interruption, a resilient business can:

·        Return to profitable business faster

·        Use the disruption to improve efficiency

·        Protect insurers by reducing insurance premiums

·        Reduce the exposure to uninsured losses

·        Enhance its reputation

·        And increase staff morale.

A decent resilience program can be used as a business development plan.

Resilient is something that comes about though good organisational leadership.    I was in the Navy in the 80’s and I had a supply officer (Brian) who had one of the best leadership profiles I have ever come across.  Brian’s attitude was that there were never any problems but there were challenges to resolve, by leading through example and delegating responsibility he had a group of people that would go to the wall for him but bring him back as well.   This attitude had the whole supply department on HMAS Swan willing and able to do anything to get the job done.

So staff in a resilient organisation will not only pull together to achieve the desired outcomes (one in, all in) but they also have predefined direction and a supportive network that allows for the right attitude.   The team will adapt quickly and with passion but will also try to predict future outcomes.

A resilient business will float to the top in times of adversity and to do that it needs to have a number of things in place prior to that resilience being needed.   The business needs to be

·        Adaptive.

·        The staff and management know what to do.

·        Willing to change and plans to do that.

·        Have a vision of adapting to situations.

·        Think outside the box.

·        Capitalise on adversity.

·        Respond rapidly to change.

So a Resilient business has a Chrystal Ball and it is functioning pretty well.    It is clear what and who is involved in the business and hire only those people who will fit the ethos and attitude of the business.

In a resilient business there are components that go forward to create a holistic approach to that resilience.   Parts of a business that will impact the resilience of the business are Risk management, Business Continuity, Physical and IT security, OH and S and HR   The resilience of a business is a jigsaw and the fitting together of different components enhances the resilience of the business.

The resilience of the business comes from the culture of the business and enables ideas and knowledge to be bought together, combined and acted on.

The challenges to a resilient business are the following:

·        Resistance to change in staff and management

·        The inability to recognise points of failure inside the business and acting on them

·        An understanding of the flow on effects from HR, Management and external forces.

·        The need for champions to change internal attitudes

·        Changing the idea of resilience from strategic to a component part of the business

·        Education at and for the business in the requirements of resilience.

Business resilience comes about through communication, collaboration and coordination within the business.   It is driven both from the top down through management requirements and reporting but also from the bottom up through staff involvement and changes to processes to better the business.   The coalface is still the area that will drive a business and the managerial support of that role will ensure a business is resilient and secure.

Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and author of the SME Digital Security Framework.   He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world.

Posted in IT Security, Managed Security Services, Managed Services.