With the increasing number of threats that face businesses today, smart business owners understand the need for and implement a Business Continuity Plan which will limit the damage, loss or interference with key business functions. The plan should cover:
- Man-made disasters
- Natural disasters
- Emergencies such as IT infrastructure failure
- Economic Crisis ‚Äì stock market crash
- Civil unrest or military action
Two IT industry leaders, Apple and Microsoft, report risk and threat factors to the SEC on their quarterly 10-Q filings. Thus, gone are the days of business owners only monitoring operations during the normal business day; the 9 to 5 operating day is long gone when it comes to assessing threats. And the idea that planning ahead for your own retirement means arranging your successor and tidying up you funeral plans are long gone.
The stability or instability in key global economies has a direct impact on the success or financial setbacks of both companies. Instability in global economies causes consumers to become reluctant to spend their disposable income of software and hardware products.
Apple and Microsoft outsource many key operations to third-parties. A good example is Apple. Apple is dependent on outsourced suppliers, in Asia, for: product components, manufacturing, final product assembly, logistics and transit services. Apple created a hands-off approach to product production and ultimately product availability through its distribution channels.
There are problems with this business practice. Considering the instability around the world, dependence on third-parties to secure goods and services needed to manufacture and distribute a product is risky due to:
- Geo-Political climate
- Labour laws
- Environmental issues
- Public health concerns
- Military actions
- Weather conditions
- Natural disasters
Interestingly, Apple and Microsoft have operations in Silicon Valley, which runs along a major fault line; thus, increasing the eventuality of a major earthquake. Microsoft is challenged by weather that affects heating and cooling of critical infrastructure components and the threat of cyber-attacks are always present.
Apple and Microsoft both employee teams of risk analysts. This is a vital function in the course of normal business,in order to ensure that the company is prepared to respond in the event of a real disaster. Employees are trained and practice procedures to implement each company’s respective Business Continuity Plan.