BCI Horizon Scan Report 2021 available: identifies emerging risks for 2021

Published: Thursday, 25 March 2021 11:05

The BCI has published its annual Horizon Scan Report, sponsored this year by BSI. The Horizon Scan Report 2021 identifies emerging risks as identified by business continuity professionals around the world.

Key findings include:

The COVID-19 pandemic was more disruptive to organizations than any incident noted previously in the Horizon Scan report. 
Non-occupational disease earned a risk score of 18.6 in the risk index for 2020, the highest risk score ever noted in the BCI Horizon Scan reports. One of the primary reasons for disruption was the lack of preparedness by organizations: non-occupational disease was second from last in the list of  concerns for 2020 in last year’s Horizon Scan report.

The secondary impacts of COVID-19 also pushed other categories up the table for events occurring last year
Health incidents, another category which was deemed a low risk for 2020, finished the year as the second largest disruptor. Many of these health incidents were not from pathological causes, but from mental health difficulties experienced by staff as a result of COVID-19. Cyber attacks and IT/telecom outages also caused high levels of disruption in 2020 as a result of elevated cyber-crime.

COVID-19’s legacy has meant practitioners are considering new risks in 2021.
Whilst non-occupational disease receives the highest risk score for 2021, COVID-19 has made organizations consider new risks in the year ahead. Political risks and violence has returned to the top 10 in the risk index for the first time in three years, and continued disruption to IT and telecoms service is predicted, particularly as new tools and technology are implemented in the wake of the pandemic.

Climate risk is now the primary medium- to long-term risk for many organizations
With organizations suffering increasing incidents of extreme weather coupled with new laws and regulations requiring organizations to reach certain targets, climate risk was identified by interviewees as being of highest concern over the medium to long term.

The number of organizations performing longer-term trend analysis has risen to an all-time  high of 81.3 percent - with over half now carrying it out on a centralized basis
Respondents reported that COVID-19 had been the precipitator to introducing a more structured, centralized analysis programme into their organizations. Frequently, this drive has come from management who have been more demanding of outputs of trend analysis due to heightened  levels of uncertainty.

Certification to ISO 22301 fell slightly during 2020, but its use as a framework increased
Many organizations said delayed or missed recertification appointments in 2020 had resulted in their certification lapsing, but hoped to do so before the six month grace period expired. There was, however, an uptick in the number of organizations adopting the standard as a framework during the year, suggesting the impact of the pandemic was causing them to re-evaluate the effectiveness of their business continuity programmes. For those who have had certification lapse recently or have one that is about to expire, contacting the certification provider to discuss options would be advisable.

Obtain the report