By Yusra Sarkar
Ask anyone a year ago for the necessity of thinking about having the plans in place to ensure business continuity in the event of country-wide shutdowns, quarantines and international travel restrictions, and it would have seemed excessive in the scope of what was normal at the time. While crisis or disaster planning is always good sense, planning for such widespread disruption to daily life is more the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters, rather than a reality any of us expected.
And yet, here we are, seeing these situations unfold in various countries. Most travel within the whole of Italy is suspended, including international flights to and from the country. Global supply chains have experienced significant disruption as workers were quarantined in China for much of February. The offices of some household name companies in London have been closed for deep cleaning as workers fall ill. And among the fallout, global stock markets plunged, posting their sharpest falls since the 2008 financial crisis.
As the world adapts to a situation that changes almost hour by hour, businesses like ours are rightly being asked to provide more explicit insights into their business continuity and crisis planning processes. What happens if staff have to stay at home: do they have remote access? What cyber security measures are in place for home working systems? What happens if our clients need signatures and there’s no one at the office?
Where smaller firms are more heavily reliant on fewer people, ZEDRA’s risk is mitigated by the size of the workforce and the stringent processes in place since our inception to be able to ensure business continuity.
With several decades experience in the industry, over the course of their careers, ZEDRA’s senior team has seen all sorts of unexpected situations arise which have affected both the companies we have worked for, the business interests of our clients and day-to-day client servicing. These experiences actively pushed us to prioritise business continuity planning (including having relevant IT infrastructure and remote working capabilities in place) long before we’ve been faced with potentially needing to use them.
This means that while we didn’t plan our business continuity protocols for a scenario similar to the one the world is currently experiencing, we’ve always had the ability to continue ‘business as usual’ even in completely unpreceded situations. Going one step further than simply ensuring the basics of our operations can be covered or planning for specific scenarios that only affected certain areas, we invested in crisis planning that would allow our teams to operate remotely for a considerable stretch of time.
We continue to follow news and government advice closely and liaise closely with our clients in case developments have a direct impact on them. We also welcome any questions about our business continuity measures, or if you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach your usual ZEDRA contacts.