Wuhan Coronavirus Shows Need to Include Pandemic Scenarios in Business Continuity Planning

February, 2020

The Wuhan coronavirus (nCoV2019) rampaging through China has led to a massive quarantine in that country, the temporary closure of hundreds of schools and businesses, and an extensive travel ban. This latest threat reminds us that most IT organizations have not incorporated countermeasures specifically to deal with pandemic scenarios.

This report outlines the ways in which pandemics are different from other disasters, and it suggests specific actions that IT risk managers should take to prepare for a potential pandemic. If adequately prepared, the IT organization can continue to support critical business functions, and it can provide solutions to help the organization as a whole get through a pandemic.

Figure 1 from the full report, Business Continuity under a Pandemic Scenaio, illustrates the primary differences between the threat of a natural disaster and the threat of a pandemic.

Fig1WuhanCronaRB 1030x687 - Wuhan Coronavirus Shows Need to Include Pandemic Scenarios in Business Continuity Planning

“The big difference between a pandemic and other types of disasters is that instead of taking out facilities or systems, pandemics are a threat to your people,” said Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics, based in Irvine, Calif. “Your systems will be fine, but a significant percentage of your people will be sick and unavailable to work. This puts a premium on countermeasures that you might not plan for if you are only thinking about disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or power outages.”

The full report lays out the characteristics of a pandemic that IT risk managers should understand in order to refine an IT disaster recovery plan in preparation for a possible pandemic. We also highlight practical actions that should be considered now to better prepare the organization for such an event.

Please note that the full report is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to preparing for a pandemic, but rather focuses on specific considerations from the perspective of the IT manager. There are many excellent resources available to assist organizations in business continuity planning for a pandemic, some of which are listed at the end of the full report.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Business Continuity under a Pandemic ScenarioThe full report is available at no charge for Avasant Research subscribers, or it may be purchased by non-subscribers directly from our website (click for pricing).