How to ensure risk and business continuity management add value
Too many companies see risk management and business continuity management as compliance issues, something they need to do to keep both shareholders and regulators happy. A much better approach, says ContinuitySA Advisory Manager, Junita van der Colff, is to view risk and business continuity management positively, undertaking them in such a way as to add value to the organisation.
"Businesses face a growing number of new and unexpected risks. To enhance their sustainability and grow value, companies must be able to identify and prevent or mitigate risk, and to recover from a catastrophic event. In this context, enterprise risk management and business continuity management emerge as hugely valuable programmes, and should be treated as such," Van der Colff told an international audience as part of ContinuitySA's contribution to Business Continuity Awareness Week.
Van der Colff further explained the uncertainty created by risk also creates opportunities for new ways to achieve the corporate objectives.
She advises businesses to consider their risk and resilience strategies in the light of the following three drivers:
Ensure the organisation is sustainable. Although environmental issues are important, they are only one facet of sustainability, Van der Colff warns. Other facets would include the society in which the organisation exists, and the economy: people, planet and profit, in a phrase. In these days of consumer activism and social media, an organisation's stakeholder grouping is very wide - a significant risk and also an opportunity.
"Is the organisation investing to ensure that it will have the skills it needs in 10 years' time? Is it prepared to deal with intermittent power or water supply? Does it have the financial muscle to withstand periods of low economic growth or instability?" says Van der Colff.
Create enterprise growth and value. There are a number of considerations here, not all of them able to be quantified, but nonetheless contributors to value. The financial value of a company is positively impacted by its ability to avoid risk or recover from a catastrophe. The organisation's reputation, similarly, has a tremendous value that can be devastated by an organisation's poor handling of an event, or its failure to engage properly with stakeholders via social media. Proper risk and business continuity management can help to protect the organisation's most valuable assets, its people, especially in terms of institutional memory and innovative leaders and thinkers. Risk and business continuity management can also help to ensure an organisation keeps its technology, infrastructure and assets protected and up to date.
Protect the organisation. Cyber attack is an increasingly important item on the board agenda as business continues to digitise; similarly, social media, climate change and regulatory change all constitute threats globally. Proper risk and business continuity management enhance an organisation's ability to mitigate the risks they pose, or to recover from events if they do occur.
In summary, Van der Colff says effective risk management and resilience add value by providing information for better decision-making, promoting proactive behaviour and minimising the impact if something goes wrong.
"Perhaps the main value that risk and business continuity management add is the way in which they build up stakeholder trust, giving the organisation its 'social licence to operate' and ensuring it will have a sympathetic audience in the event of something going wrong," she concludes.
ContinuitySA is Africa's leading provider of business continuity management and related services. The company boasts some of the continent's most highly skilled and qualified business continuity and disaster management experts who help companies, organisations and government departments of all sizes prepare for and deal with all eventualities. These include potential threats, events, incidences and unforeseen or sudden disruptions due to human error or natural events.
ContinuitySA also provides a variety of hosting solutions, ranging from co-located to fully managed virtualised environments, with their primary focus being to ensure its clients are able to address the resilience and recoverability of their IT services. These hosting services are complemented by managed backup and recovery services, virtual server replication and high availability solutions to satisfy any level of continuity requirement.
ContinuitySA operates the largest recovery facilities in southern Africa. It has a number of recovery centres in southern Africa with over 20 000 square metres of recovery facilities in Midrand, Gauteng. Smaller sites have been located in Cape Town, Gaborone, Botswana and Mozambique, and a joint venture has been established in Mauritius.
ContinuitySA. Our business is keeping you in business. Additional information about ContinuitySA can be found at www.continuitysa.com.