The Perils of Not Having Business Continuity Management Plans

This module has covered the need for business continuity management as a paradigm to be followed by corporates. This article looks at the pitfalls of not having adequate business continuity management plans in place. First, let us consider the case of Sony where the customer data from its website was hacked. This incident was to do with the large scale theft of customer credit card data and personal identity information that led to widespread outrage from the customers and industry watchdogs. Since Sony did not have an adequate continuity plan in place to tackle the fallout from this incident, many customers simply shifted from Sony to other gaming companies for their needs. Indeed, this is an illustrative example of not having proper business continuity plans in place.

Second, the fallout from the worst industrial disaster of the 20th century, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy is mainly because the company did not have a foolproof business continuity plan that would have taken care of the cleanup of the site and the subsequent rehabilitation of the victims. This has meant that the company has suffered in the public eye and its image has taken a beating.

Indeed, the Dow Company that now owns the facility is being pilloried for its lack of proper continuity management in the site where the plant is relocated. Hence, the lesson for corporates is clear: be attentive to the needs of the communities that live next to your facilities and have adequate plans in place to take care of the continuity management in case of disasters.

Third, the Japanese Tsunami of March 2011 has laid bare the disaster preparedness of TEPCO or the utility that owns the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor. Even one year after the incident, proper clean up and disposal of radioactive waste is still a cause for concern leading to many experts calling for TEPCO to give up its rights over the plant and ensure that some other competent agency would take over the continuity management of the reactor. All these examples illustrate the need for adequate planning and oversight in case of disasters. Though the Sony incident was given as an example, the other two incidents are noteworthy since they involve the loss of human lives and hence are more urgent and necessary.

The point here is that business continuity management does not stop once the disaster has abated and the emergency over. Instead, there is more work to be done and only when the entire process is taken care of, can corporates breathe easy and congratulate themselves for doing a great job. The role of the media is especially important since they monitor the progress of the aftermath of the disaster and in these days of 24/7 news coverage and internet, it is difficult for companies to get away with excuses. In conclusion, the real test of character for corporates is when the disasters and the responses to such disasters are met forcefully and comprehensively and the way in which companies respond to emergencies show the mettle of the corporates.


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