Common business risks

Disaster can affect different parts of your business, including your:

  • people
  • processes
  • premises
  • providers
  • profiles
  • performance.

To mitigate the risk of a disaster having significant or long-term effects on your business, make sure your disaster response plan considers each of these elements.

Ask yourself the questions in the following lists to evaluate how prepared your business is for disaster.

People risk

  • What changes of roles and responsibilities might be required should some staff no longer be able to work?
  • What levels of awareness and education about the plan or contingencies do particular staff require?
  • What is the likely availability of people (existing and/or replacement staff) to keep the business going during or after a disaster?
  • What might be the emotional impact of the disaster on your staff members? What support processes might you have to access in the recovery phase?
  • What might your people need for their own home situations to recover from a disaster?

Process risk

  • What organisational processes (for example, manufacturing, sales, delivery, financial or IT) do you run and what changes might you have to make to them in a post-disaster situation?
  • How would your internal and external communications be affected and what non-traditional communication methods might you require to stay connected?
  • What formalised planning have you done, where is it stored and who knows about it if it's required?

Premises risk

  • What might the impact be on buildings and facilities for staff, customers and suppliers?
  • What alternative buildings or facilities could you use as a backup or in an emergency?
  • How can you minimise the impact of potential disaster with security, sprinkler and other risk minimisation actions?

Provider risk

  • How could you protect an ongoing supply chain (purchased goods or raw materials) if your or your supplier was affected by a disaster?
  • Who are your contractors or the people you outsource work to? Do you have a complete list of their contact details?
  • Who provides your communication, sanitation and other essential services? Do you have a list of their contact details?
  • Are all your lists backed up with copies held somewhere offsite?
  • In the event of a disaster, what alternative sources do you have to supply the services your business requires?

Profile risk

  • How might your brand, image and reputation in the marketplace be affected after a disaster? What elements do you need to protect and how would you do that?
  • How would you prepare for a heightened awareness of your brand or market profile in a post-disaster situation?

Performance risk

  • How long would it take you to re-establish accepted benchmarking standards post-disaster?
  • How would you evaluate and audit your post-disaster recovery processes to check on their relevance or effectiveness?