Why should organizations include their suppliers in OpRes exercises?
Including suppliers in operational resilience exercises helps identify critical dependencies, potential risks, and gaps in lines of communication. These also require assessing the resilience of supplier operations, evaluating their business continuity plans, and identifying alternative suppliers or contingency plans in addition to joint exercising.
What to consider when developing OpRes exercises which include suppliers
Organizations should focus on the most critical third parties that provide essential goods or services, have a high dependency, or are in high-risk areas.
Organizations should also design test scenarios involving supplier-based disruptions (e.g., supplier failures, delays, extended technology disruptions, or data loss events that truly ‘stress test’ the provider’s response and recovery capabilities). Collaborate with suppliers to develop realistic scenarios and evaluate the effectiveness of joint response efforts to foster continuous improvement.
What outcomes can organizations expect?
Engaging suppliers in regular discussions, sharing relevant information, and involving them in operational resilience planning helps to establish a collaborative relationship. In some cases, contractual agreements may require a critical third party’s participation in joint testing of technology or supplier loss scenarios.
By involving suppliers in exercises, organizations and suppliers become better prepared to handle disruptions and have clearer lines of communication, leading to faster response times, reduced downtime, and minimized impact on operations.
Steve Richardson, Chief Resilience Innovation Officer, Fusion Risk Management