A record level of organisations worldwide are now carrying out a long-term risk analysis following the outbreak of COVID-19, new research by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) has found.
The 2021 BCI Horizon Scan Report – which summarises the biggest challenges businesses have faced over the last 12 months – shows that a record 81% of organisations are now performing longer-term trend risk analysis.
The findings also show that threats that were previously considered a low risk have move higher up the corporate agenda, with non-occupational disease now the top challenge facing businesses.
Non-occupational disease was near the bottom of the list of concerns facing organisations last year, with the COVID-19 crisis also heightening various other risks.
Health incidents were reported as the second most common source of disruption over the last year, while cyber attacks and IT outages were fourth and fifth respectively as criminals looked to exploit vulnerabilities while more people worked from home.
Looking ahead to this year, the report also highlights how COVID-19 has seen political risks and violence returning to the top 10 list of potential challenges for the first time in three years.
“The intensity and speed at which COVID-19 travelled through the globe in 2020 caught most organisations by surprise,” said Rachael Elliott, head of thought leadership at the BCI.
“It was those organisations who adopted exemplary horizon scanning techniques coupled with agile and adaptive resilience strategies who were able to weather the storm most effectively.
“Encouragingly, many organisations have already learnt from errors made and have adopted a more intensive and collaborative view to risk planning in 2021.”
Despite the changing risk landscape, climate change continues to feature high on the corporate agenda, reported as the highest concern over the medium-to-long-term, with more incidents of extreme weather expected, along with more governments setting environmental targets.
COVID-19 has also accelerated the introduction of a more structured and centralised risk analysis programme, with managers largely driving the change. The BCI said that this is positive news for business continuity and investments in the year ahead.
“Management have become more engaged as a result, and are already pushing for more resource to be available, funds being made available to purchase new tools, and seeking to align or certify to international standards for the first time,” Elliott continued.
“2020 will always be remembered as the ‘year of the pandemic’, but it is also the year that looks to have provided positive change in the resilience industry.”
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings