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Business continuity: Nine disruptions that could derail your business

Hurricane 1Even ten years ago, you could be forgiven for believing (unless you were subject to regulations requiring it) that a BC plan was an extravagance that only a few of the biggest organizations needed.

However, in this age of persistent cyber-threats, freak weather events that aren’t such a rare occurrence anymore, active shooters and more… Business continuity plans are becoming an imperative for nearly every company in business today.

But when you’re the one in charge of BC planning—either because it’s always been your responsibility (or perhaps because you came to work one day and found out it was now your job)—how do you know what scenarios to plan for?

To get your imagination going, and your team’s, consider these scenarios. Some risks are more pressing than others, but sometimes less-than-likely risks lead to the costliest and most challenging issues in the real world.

Network failure

You can’t serve your customers for most of a busy weekday, so they start calling your competitors. What do you do to regain business continuity?

Website crash

Your company’s storefront is down. Orders are lost and customers lose access to services on your site. How long can you afford to let the site stay offline?

Weather event

A massive storm dumps three months of rain in a day. Severe flooding washes out roads and blocks access to your facility, meaning that employees can’t come to work. How will this affect your business?

Transformer blowout

The utility has a failure in your area and power is out for hours. Your offices are dark and your manufacturing floor is idle. What will you do?

Security breach

Hackers compromise your network, crack your customer database, and steal the identities of 40,000 customers. How will you repair the damage?

Careless construction

Workers cut the fiber optic cable around the corner, severing your phone and Internet access. Service won’t be restored for two days. What now?

Nature’s fury

A powerful earthquake strikes in the middle of the day. There is structural damage to your facility. What actions will you take?


A virulent flu strain has gripped the city and is sickening thousands. How will you maintain operations in the face of mass absenteeism?

Air accident

The CEO and two vice-presidents are tragically killed in an airline accident after a conference. How will you handle the short- and long-term implications?

One of the most dramatic cases for business continuity planning lies in the aftermath of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. As many as 44% of the businesses housed in the buildings temporarily ceased operations—and 150 of the 350 businesses affected closed their doors for good.

With a well-formulated and tested business continuity plan, however, some of those businesses may have been able to survive.

There are no shortcuts, though; you must invest time and resources to identify and analyze your processes to prioritize resources and strategies for their recovery. To learn how, download the Definitive Guide to Business Continuity Planning.