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Navigating a Crisis - Part II

06/07/2009


Enhance the Risk Management Process through Threat and Vulnerability Assessments

Before a disaster occurs, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) can help to plan the recovery of internal functions, customer interfaces, company reputation, and brand by aligning the strategic, operational, and tactical plans. This ensures the organization achieves its corporate objectives and business goals. In order to do so, an organization must incorporate both business response and business recovery components into continuity plans that help respond efficiently to an extreme event. The traditional risk management process that most companies are accustomed to lacks the application of an effective threat vulnerability risk assessment.

This process appeared sufficient; however, recent experience with disruptive events has shown that many organizations do not have adequate threat and vulnerability analysis or crisis management capabilities. As a result, many have not been able to survive, or at the very least maintain market share or customer confidence. The traditional risk management approach failed to predict emerging threats, effectively understanding how those threats were controlled by the organization, as well as how they could affect the strategic objectives of the organization.

Failure to plan, train, and test preparedness for the possibility of crisis situations can result in:

  • serious injuries;
  • loss of vital information; 
  • destruction of property and facilities; 
  • litigation; 
  • lost market share; and 
  • a damaged corporate reputation.

These could all result in long-term effects on the financial and business health of the organization.

To effectively manage risk, the risk management process must include provisions to assess (or at least consider) threat. This includes the protection the organization currently employs to deter, deny, detect, disrupt and/or devalue the threat – simply stated – the organization’s vulnerability. Although the mitigation options continue to be on an “all hazards” approach, threats are often identified through coordinated action planning, as well as scenario testing. If you identify and document exactly what you want your business to achieve, then you can also begin to identify the possible vulnerabilities that could undermine your ability to succeed.

Planning for the unexpected then becomes less about planning for an event or crisis and more about finding ways to ensure that the critical parts of your business needed to achieve your goals are protected.

For more information on how to help your business weather the economic storm, please contact me or your local MNP advisor.