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Fail to prepare, prepare to fail: the inconvenient necessity of a pandemic business continuity plan

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail: the inconvenient necessity of a pandemic business continuity plan Image

By David Jemmett

David Jemmett CEO of Cerberus Sentinel (now CISO Global), explains what a pandemic business continuity plan is and what it should include

The strongest businesses are the ones who have wide-ranging plans in place for every eventuality. While companies typically avoid assuming the worst, planning for the worst can help a business survive a major crisis. Covid-19 by every measure constitutes a major business crisis, one for which many companies have found themselves woefully unprepared. This article outlines the elements of a pandemic business continuity plan so you can draft one for your company.

Why is a specific pandemic plan needed? 

Traditional business continuity planning is standard practice for most companies. Such plans cover the internal and external aspects that impact their business activities. External aspects are things that are beyond their control: economic downturns, political instability / changes in government, or a natural disaster. Internal aspects are things that happen inside the company: public relations nightmares, loss of funding, a disgruntled customer or employee.

The PBCP is entirely different, it focuses solely on mitigating the impact of a health pandemic, something that traditional continuity plans may only mention in passing. Due to the unpredictable and potentially devastating nature of a pandemic, traditional day-to-day business continuity plans will not be effective enough due to their lack of specific detail. Therefore, it is crucial that you create and maintain a plan focused specifically on the threat of a pandemic; a plan that will ensure the health and safety of your business and your staff. This plan should be developed in conjunction with up-to-date guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO).

What should your plan contain?

Your PBCP is organized into 5 phases, each with 4 key steps:

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