Operational Resilience and Impact Tolerance in a post-coronavirus world, Chris Crowther

In early December 2019 the Bank of England, Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority published six consultation papers (CP) on operational resilience and impact tolerance. The papers set out a series of proposed rules and policy statements which are expected to make their way into confirmed policy by the second half of 2021. This was around the same time as the C-19 strain of coronavirus was wreaking havoc in Wuhan and was about to change our world and appreciation of resilience.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that many businesses have been able to pivot from being office-based to supporting staff working full time at home. However, the home environment is not the same as an office environment. As the lockdown is extended business leaders need to think about how to maintain long-term productivity and staff wellbeing. This demands an appropriate organisational culture and resilient mindset.

For many organisations, getting laptops to everyone and moving to Cloud suites was the first step.  Home-working software also exceeded expectations, including office, collaboration, virtual desktop, remote access and security.  Some organisations have found they are able to get by without the need for physical PCs deploying virtual desktops to staff to enable them to work remotely. In summary, it is necessary to understand the needs and expanse of your digital and physical footprint.

Shifting Resilience & Sliding Productivity

Resilience has shifted from centralised offices to numerous home-offices. Furthermore, working from home shifts information assurance and business resilience from the responsibility of the CIO to remote workers themselves. Some firms have modified their websites to give easily accessible and understood instructions to users on what to do.

A study measuring the hours worked on work computers and applications in major European countries between 24 February to 26 March 2020 has reported that Europe has seen a decline in productivity.  The Global Remote Work Productivity Tracker found that in the UK, people were using work applications 20% less than if they were in an office. Germany and France both experienced a 55% decline, Spain a 33% decline, and Italy a 70% decline. These falls risk an increase in worker surveillance, so organisations need to be clear on their in-place controls and defences and the associated cost-benefit analysis.

Digital collaboration

With more dispersed teams, businesses are finding it increasingly important to remain digitally connected.  Data from Slack illustrates how London-based workers are making greater use of the Slack service – usage data between February 17-21 and March 16-20 increased by 27%. While, almost overnight, Zoom has become a household name for video conferencing.  This suggests that staff and organisations are figuring out how to use technologies that support remote working.

Long-term prospects

This week will likely witness the UK Govt laying out its C-19 Restart Exit Strategy – it is a good time for organisations to reflect on what they ought to do to avoid the chaos and uncertainty in future. This will require a detailed examination of fit-for-purpose response frameworks.

The first phase was about getting people working but this is not a sustainable position – particularly from a health and safety, and productivity perspective. Home bandwidth is also contentious. There are reports of a 5.3% decrease in internet speed in Europe and Amazon and Facebook have fallen by over 50%. These shifts are unsustainable.

One of the long-term impacts of coronavirus is likely to be a sense of home-working empowerment.  This paradigm shift provides a unique opportunity for organisations to re-evaluate their resilience and impact tolerance. At a tactical level, organisations ought to consider how to resource a sustainable home-working environment with suitable social channels and a regular communications routine to avoid isolation syndrome.

From an enterprise perspective, it makes more sense to evaluate these shifts and changes through a maturity framework that focuses on your organisation’s digital and physical infrastructure and estate; the suite of in-place controls and defences that protect those estates; the robustness and effectiveness of your organisation’s response frameworks especially its supply chain; and, most importantly, a resilient organisational culture and mindset.

Over the past 18 months, Spectra Analytics, working with Perimeter Group to develop a leading-edge Operational Resilience and Impact Tolerance Maturity Assessment, known as ORBITT, to help Enterprises effectively manage the risk of resilience challenges like global pandemics.

Find out more about ORBITT here: ORBITT Brochure

Contact Chris Crowther (chris.crowther@spectraanalytics.com) for more information.