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Weathering the storm and mending the roof

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Gillian Roche-Saunders talks to Sophie Myers about business resilience and managing risk in tempestuous times - an excerpt from the CISI's publication,The Review.

"The Covid-19 crisis has tested businesses’ continuity planning to the limit. How well prepared have firms been for such an event, and how will their operations change in future as a result?

With most countries around the world still in various stages of lockdown, and only a handful of regions beginning to emerge and resume economic activity at the time of writing, it’s impossible to predict what the long-term impact of the pandemic on the global economy will be, or what ‘normal’ might look like in a post-Covid-19 world. What lessons have businesses taken from the current crisis, and how might their business continuity planning be adjusted in future?

“Most firms had considered operational resilience from both a premises and an infrastructure perspective and many previously felt confident in their business continuity planning because of that,” says Gillian Roche-Saunders MCSI, a partner at Adempi Associates, a London-based compliance consultancy.

“We have seen the most revision in the people aspect of continuity planning. Even those plans that covered key-person risk were mainly focused on the absence of certain senior managers or deal makers in the firm. What if all the senior managers are ill at the same time? What if key knowledge is temporarily missing in an entire department?”

However, as Gillian points out, contingency planning that protects the loss of knowledge when a key individual leaves the firm or is indisposed is less applicable to the Covid-19 challenge, which has raised the possibility of a high volume of people being away at the same time."

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