The BCI has launched the BCI Horizon Scan Report 2023, an annual publication that examines the top causes of disruption over the past year and looks ahead to how organizations perceive the main risks faced in 2024.
Based on a survey, The Horizon Scan finds that the top ten risks for organizations in 2024 are:
- Cyber attacks
- Extreme weather events (e.g. floods, storms, freeze, etc.)
- IT and telecom outage
- Increased cost of living
- Interruption to energy supply
- Supply chain disruption
- Natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.)
- Data breaches
- Critical infrastructure failure
- Introduction of new technology (IoT, AI, Big data)
The top risks are calculated by assessing the likely impact of a threat multiplied by an assessment of the likelihood of a threat becoming an actual incident or crisis.
The report finds that the risk of pandemic has fallen to 21st position in the perceived risks for 2024, out of 28 identified groups of organizational threats.
The Horizon Scan Report 2023 is sponsored by Noggin.
Resilience Forward comment:
The 2024 risk level associated with pandemic threats in the Horizon Scan Report is concerning, given the huge impacts that COVID-19 had on global economies and directly on many organizations. The UK National Risk Register 2023 highlights pandemic as having a catastrophic impact and rates it as the most likely of the five threats in that category, so it is clearly being taken seriously in national contexts.
The low level of risk given to pandemic in the Horizon Scan Report could be partly due to a feeling that the lessons learned from the COVID-19 response and the large step forward in vaccine technologies will place society in a good position for responding to a future COVID-style respiratory virus. But this may be wishful thinking. While these developments might help the response to a future pandemic to be more agile, there will inevitably be a period of time when impacts are high, particularly if the pandemic vector has a much more lethal payload than COVID did.
One of the key lessons from the COVID-19 response was that for many organizations pandemic plans were not fit for purpose and some business continuity strategies were not suitable for such a wide-ranging and long-lasting crisis. Big improvements have been made in these areas – but these need constant attention to maintain. Practitioners taking their eye off the pandemic ball now risks a rapid decline in response capabilities.
However tempting it is to breathe a sigh of relief that COVID-19 has, essentially, passed, the pandemic risk has not gone away – and will never do so.