Business Continuity Risk Assessment

Preparing for Threats through Risk Assessment

A successful business continuity plan involves preparing for the unexpected.  No one ever wants to overindulge in negativity, yet it is only practical to be realistic in this day and age of untimely disasters.  A major part of any disaster recovery plan is carrying out a business continuity risk assessment to consider all  potential risks the business will be exposed to in the event of a disaster or other emergency situations.  It is a must to consider all types of probable incidents via a business continuity risk assessment as well as the impact each could have on the organization’s ability to perform normal business operations.  This can be a very complex task but the information in this article will provide some insight and guidance for what needs to be considered.

The Threat List

Risk assessment is all about discovering and analyzing the array of disruptive situations that can possibly affect day-to-day business operations.  Some of the potential events include:

Environmental Disasters

  • Flood
  • Blizzard
  • Freezing conditions
  • Electrical storms
  • Tornado
  • Hurricane
  • Earthquake
  • Drought
  • Fire
  • Landslides
  • Environmental hazards
  • Tsunami

Deliberate or Organized Disruption

  • Act of sabotage
  • Act of terrorism
  • Act of war
  • Theft
  • Arson

Disruption of Utilities

  • Power failure
  • Loss of water supply
  • Loss of gas supply
  • Loss of communications services
  • Loss of drainage
  • Loss of waste removal supply
  • Hardware and System Failure
  • Air conditional failure
  • Ventilation control failure
  • Production line failure
  • IT hardware failure

Security Breach or Compromise of Business Information

  • Malware infection
  • Network attacks
  • Theft of data
  • Unintentional disclosure of sensitive information

Other Probable Emergency Incidents

  • Violence in the workplace
  • Neighborhood hazards
  • Public transportation disruption
  • Employee morale
  • Legal disputes
  • Negative publicity
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Health and safety regulations

Believe it or not, this list is far from complete as there is much more that needs to be considered.  However, it should give you a good idea of the wide range of potential threats your business may encounter.  A positive aspect is that there are a number of tools and services available to properly assist with risk assessment and its role in your disaster recovery plan.  Several professional consultants and organizations can aid your project by employing various strategies that are in line with local and international standards.

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