Business Continuity Awareness Week 2018

Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW) 2018, with the theme “working together to improve organizational resilience”, ends today.  As usual there has been a busy programme of reports published, webinars hosted and live events around the globe; but what always interests us is the real business continuity stories going on around all this.

For some reason, BCAW usually sees a disproportionate number of incidents (apart from BCAW 2013 which was very quiet) – is this because all the resilience experts are busy attending seminars???  We may never see the likes of BCAW 2017, which kicked off as the WannaCry ransomware saga was still ongoing, again; but this year has nevertheless seen a range on interesting and thought-provoking stories.

Starting on a lighter note (unless you happen to be getting married in the near future), over the weekend 12/13th May users of the John Lewis wedding list service were unable to access the website.  Media reports state that this was because of a failure to renew the domain name, but it is not clear how this issue arose.  Anyway, everything was back up and running by Monday and the company has issued a very public apology.

More seriously though, on Tuesday Musgrave Group announced that it was recalling its “Daewoo” branded electric blankets because of a manufacturing defect which “…may cause the blanket to spark or go on fire.”  The averages success rate of electrical product recalls in the UK is only 10-20%: we can only hope that this one is more successful.

As the week progressed we returned to a familiar theme, data breaches, with a particularly serious example.  On Thursday the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had been fined £325 000 after they lost unencrypted DVDs containing recordings of police interviews.  The DVDs contained recordings of interviews with 15 victims of child sex abuse, to be used at trial.  Further aggravating what was already a very serious breach, the ICO highlighted the fact that this took place despite the CPS having been fined £200 000 in November 2015 for another breach.

Finally, and most disturbingly, were the stories in today’s news of the increased spread of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Hopefully the lessons identified from the devastating 2014-16 outbreak have been taken on board and will be applied to minimise the impact of this latest emergence.

So, just in the space of a week, we have seen examples of four of the most frequent forms of disruption – IT disruption, product quality issues, information security issues and natural disasters.  Clearly the importance of “working together to improve organizational resilience” has never been greater.

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