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Risk management & business technology resiliency - What's changed since 2009

The aftermath of the financial crisis and big corporate blunders further emphasised the value of risk management

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Take a second to think back to the year 2009. The US was in the thick of the financial crisis; companies were slashing budgets, and the unemployment rate was in double-digits. And do you remember a little thing called the “swine flu”? The World Health Organisation (WHO) deemed the H1N1 strain of the swine flu influenza a global pandemic in June 2009. These were just some of the events top of mind for much of the nation and the broader global community three years ago.

2009 was also the year that the annual Forrester And Disaster Recovery Journal (DRJ) Survey focused on the role of risk management in business technology (BT) resiliency and crisis communications programs. Needless to say, the survey was fairly timely. Forrester found risk management was becoming a more common practice for business continuity teams, but that there was still more room for further collaboration with their risk management counterparts.

Fast forward three years, and the 2012 Forrester/DRJ survey is again focusing on the role of risk management in BT resiliency and crisis communications (you can take the 2012 survey by clicking here). A lot has changed since 2009 with a number of new events, technologies, and organisational challenges currently plaguing business continuity and risk management professionals.

More specifically, three major trends have likely affected the market since 2009:

  1. The aftermath of the financial crisis and big corporate blunders further emphasised the value of risk management. Events such as the BP oil spill and the Toyota recall are just two of the largest events that have taken place in the last three years. Couple these with new government regulations such as the Dodd-Frank Act and other news events like J.P. Morgan’s $5.8 billion trading loss, and you can see why it’s important for companies to follow risk management best practices - and the potential high costs of ignoring them.

  2. The frequency of natural disasters kept BT resiliency and crisis communications top of mind. The destructive course of Hurricane Sandy is affecting millions living in the US along the East Coast, with its full impact still to be determined; current estimates project the damage could cost upwards of an estimated $20 billion in insured losses and $50 billion in economic losses. Last year, Hurricane Irene caused about $4.3 billion in losses, and was one of just 14 storms where costs were estimated to be at least $1 billion. And let’s not forget about the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster (set off by an earthquake and ensuing tsunami) - both of which had catastrophic consequences in their respective regions.

  3. Social media established itself as a valuable business technology. Using both internal, enterprise social networks such as Chatter and Yammer, and public social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, companies, employees, and consumers alike use social media for a variety of business and personal purposes. Crisis communications teams use social media to disseminate critical crisis information and instructions, and employees and the rest of the population use social media to gather information about crisis updates, public service announcements, etc. For example, as Hurricane Sandy rolled through New York City, the New York Fire Department used its Twitter account to help relay information to dispatchers for people in distress who couldn’t reach jammed emergency lines.

We are very interested to see what the results of this year’s Forrester/DRJ survey have in store for us, and we’d love for you to participate. If you’re a business continuity or risk management professional, please take the survey by following the link here. We look forward to hearing from you!

Guest post from Researcher Nick Hayes (@nickhayes10)

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