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What Business Threats are on the Horizon?

Category - Business, General
by Lisa Eifert on August 1st, 2016

Recently the Business Continuity Institute, in conjunction with BSI, a business consulting organization, released a report summarizing the threats that business professionals are most concerned about. The 2016 Horizon Scan Report makes it clear that the landscape of threats is constantly changing.  Do your concerns match this year’s list?

Cyber threat the top concern

Cyber threats are now the top concern facing businesses, up from second place one year ago. Businesses fear that the internet will be used for malicious attacks on their enterprise. 85 percent of businesses surveyed said that they were concerned to very concerned about the threat of cyber-attacks. With so many cyber-attacks threatening businesses, it is no wonder that many are concerned about this issue.

Businesses fear terrorism

The 10th concern in the 2015 Horizon Scan, terrorism is now the 4th largest concern. 55 percent of businesses reported concern over terrorism and 19 percent of businesses reported extreme concern. The Paris terror attacks occurred during the survey period, which may have accounted for some of the fears regarding terrorism.

Supply chain disruptions a continued concern

For the second year, disruptions to the supply chain are in the top 10 reported threats. 56 percent of organizations have no insurance to cover disruptions to the supply chain. A single incident could cause a loss of more than $1 million, so there is a real financial risk associated with this threat.

The good news here is that 18 percent of retail businesses successfully used business continuity plans to get through a disruption in the supply chain. By putting plans in place, your business can cope with disruptions to the supply chain and minimize the negative impact.

Social media an area of worry

63 percent of businesses report worry over how social media will be used within their organization. This may be due to gaffes that have occurred at businesses, or fear that a faux pas will affect the company’s reputation in a negative manner. Fears over social media are easy to combat through employee education, training, and a social media strategy guide.

Concern growing over new regulations

An emerging threat this year is growing business concern over new regulations that could impact the business model. 55 percent of businesses surveyed worried about regulatory scrutiny and new regulations. This may be a particular area of concern for SMBs, who have fewer resources to put in place to meet new regulations than large firms.

Weather still an area of worry

Climate change is causing unpredictable weather patterns. This is keeping adverse weather an issue for businesses, who worry about the effects that a flood, hurricane, blizzard, fire, or other weather incident could cause. Coming in at number 8 this year, weather also connects to other concerns. A weather incident in another geographical area could affect your supply chain, causing a disruption.

Businesses scared of skills, personnel loss

Businesses worry increasingly about a skills and labor shortage caused by key employees leaving the organization. Strong succession planning can prevent a skills gap from arising when critical staff members leave without passing on need-to-know information. This worry is back in the top 10, coming in at number 9. The renewed worry showcases a need for businesses to revisit hiring, retention, and succession practices.

More spending on continuity, but challenges remain

Business continuity spending is up, especially among small businesses. 24 percent of businesses report greater continuity spending, which represents a 1 percent uptick. In sectors where budgets are tight—including education and health care—it may be difficult to justify increased spending. Thus, challenges still remain around business continuity investments.

One-quarter of organizations surveyed take no actions whatsoever regarding long-term trend analysis. Let us state, it is key to plan for the long term to position your business for success in the event of a disaster. If your business does not perform any long-term analysis, now is the time to start.

As this year’s report makes clear, the landscape of threats is constantly changing. Smart businesses will be prepared, including having a plan and a platform for communicating in any situation, no matter the threat.