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

Your people keep your business functioning. Consider how you can prepare your staff to respond to disaster, and ask yourself what you might do if your staff are unable to work:

  • 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 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

Your processes and way of operating might need to change following certain disasters or crisis events. Document your plans and inform the relevant people:

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

Premises risk

Some disasters might prevent you from being able to use your usual premises:

  • 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

Your business likely depends on providers such as suppliers or contractors to function effectively. It's important that you think about what you might do if a disaster or crisis event affects you or someone else in your supply chain:

  • How could you protect an ongoing supply chain (purchased goods or raw materials) if you or your supplier was affected by a disaster?
  • In the event of a disaster, what alternative sources do you have to supply the services your business requires?
  • 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?

Profile risk

Some disasters can affect how people view your brand and reputation – for example, in the event of a data breach.

To mitigate this risk, think about how your brand, image and reputation in the marketplace might be affected after a disaster:

  • What elements of your brand 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

Some disasters can have long-term effects on your business performance:

  • 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?