The Future of COVID-19: Predictions Are Hard, Preparing Is Easy

Trying to predict the next twist in the COVID-19 pandemic is a fool’s errand, but no matter what happens, you should retain your pandemic skills. 

We’re all past trying to predict the next twist in the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of, here are the steps you should take to be ready no matter what the future holds. 

 

 

Sometimes we at MHA are asked by our clients or others how the COVID  pandemic is likely to play out in 2022. This question might seem like a difficult one to answer. In fact, it is easy. The answer is, no one knows. Not even Dr. Fauci, Dr. Gupta, or Dr. Birx know.  

The situation is too complex, too unprecedented, and too dependent on a large number of unpredictable variables. Some of these variables are scientific and medical. Some are human and societal. 

We now have many tools available to fight the virus. To what extent will those tools be adopted? Nobody knows. How will the virus behave in the environment we create? Nobody knows. What will the societal impacts be? Nobody knows.  

The lack of a clear, easy glide path out of the crisis definitely qualifies as bad news. 

However, there is good news here for business continuity management (BCM) professionals.  

The good news is, we don’t have to know how the future will play out in order to do our jobs and protect our organizations. What we have to do is clear-cut, straightforward, and well-known. 

We should make every effort to retain our pandemic survival skills, as I discussed last time. 

We should be prepared to pivot quickly back to remote work, if necessary.  

We should identify our critical vendors and resources and figure out how we would carry on without them, in case the ripple effects of the pandemic (i.e., the supply chain crunch) knock them out. 

We should be ready to modify our workstream on the fly, in case a new phase of the pandemic makes it necessary.  

Basically, we should be ready, as ever, for impacts to our critical facilities, people, technology, and suppliers, regardless of the cause.  

We should remember that the pandemic might melt away—and that some new threat that currently seems far-fetched might rise up to threaten our mission-critical operations. 

We should, as ever, be prepared to deal with ransomware attacks, which are growing in frequency and severity.  (See “Pay Up or Else”: How to Be Ready for a Ransomware Attack.) 

In other words, rather than worrying about what the pandemic will do, we should stick to our game plan as BCM professionals. 

Our game plan is, we don’t focus on causes, we focus on impacts. We make preparations so that our organizations can continue to carry out, or quickly resume, their key functions no matter what critical facilities, people, technology, or vendors we lose.  

We use reason to determine our risk tolerance (at least senior management does, or should), and we craft our risk mitigation strategies accordingly.  

We do not trust to dumb luck to protect our organizations and stakeholders. Neither do we sit around waiting on the whims of the pandemic before we decide which way to jump.  

We take the initiative, stick to our game plan, trust to reason, and follow our training. 

Sometimes the best solutions are ones we already know how to implement. Often what’s needed is not wholesale changes, only a bit of adjustment.  

By doing what we know should be done—and not putting off the basic preparation and continued planning—we can ensure that no matter what happens with COVID-19, or what else 2022 throws at us, our organizations will remain capable of carrying out their mission-critical operations. 

 

Further Reading

For more information on planning for a pandemic and other hot topics in BC and IT/disaster recovery, check out these recent posts from MHA Consulting and BCMMETRICS: 

About
Richard Long
Richard Long is one of MHA’s practice team leaders for Technology and Disaster Recovery related engagements. He has been responsible for the successful execution of MHA business continuity and disaster recovery engagements in industries such as Energy & Utilities, Government Services, Healthcare, Insurance, Risk Management, Travel & Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Education. Prior to joining MHA, Richard held Senior IT Director positions at PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) and Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT) and has been a senior leader across all disciplines of IT. He has successfully led international and domestic disaster recovery, technology assessment, crisis management and risk mitigation engagements.
pandemic survival skills