Pandemic and Business Continuity Planning – Where the Rubber Meets the Road


Learn more about business continuity planning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The past few weeks have presented all of us with a great deal of operational challenges that ultimately brought us back to our current Business Continuity Planning for guidance. As we reviewed those plans, we all quickly realized that there are gaps between how we handle a traditional disaster and the measures that are needed to be taken during a pandemic. With a traditional Business Continuity Plan we are planning for a natural, technical, malicious acts, and perhaps a terrorist related event with limited time duration within a defined geographical region. The nature of a pandemic is more widespread, occurs in multiple waves, and last months compared to a disaster that lasts on average 72 hours. Planning for a pandemic should have a customized approach based on not only the size and complexity of the company but multiple strategies to address the possible effects for each wave of the pandemic.

Preparation and Prevention

Pandemic planning requires preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of an organization’s operations being significantly affected. The primary concern is for the safety of employees and this can be accomplished with providing appropriate hygiene training. One area that is often overlooked is the coordination that may be needed with critical third-party service providers. Ongoing communication with suppliers and providers may assist in making some vital decisions on the next steps to be taken or if alternative sources are needed to support business services.

Similarities and Differences

The obvious difference with business continuity planning and pandemic planning is the procedures needed to perform critical operations if employees may be unavailable for prolonged periods or if the capability to perform operations remotely was never properly assessed. Business Continuity Planning typically address a minimal snapshot of organization closures with a limited remote workforce. As we all have discovered, the COVID-19 virus forced closures of all our company facilities and deploy a far larger percentage of employees to work remotely. With more users working remotely and connected from home networks, the risks significantly increase, and additional layers of security are needed. Although we all accepted the risk, as we look at  the possibility of extending the period of working because of imposed quarantines and discussions focused on Wave 2, it is of the utmost importance we review our current risks and be prepared to implement additional controls.

As we review the lessons learned from Wave 1, now is the time to evaluate remote workforce threats and the risks to your organization.

Contact SCA for more Information about Business Continuity Planning

If you’re business continuity or disaster recovery plan needs to be updated or you have questions about information and remote work security during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact Security Compliance Associates (SCA) today at 727-571-1141. You can also schedule a Remote Workforce Risk Assessment to ensure your remote employees are working safely and any sensitive data they may need to access is secure.