Are you prepared for multinational risks? A test for your organisational resilience programme.


  • Author Dr Mpho Modisane
  • Published December 6, 2021
  • Word count 893

In recent years, many more organizations have established Business Continuity Management Plans (BCP’s) which define the different processes of avoiding and recovering from potential disasters to their business. With the number one goal of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) serving to allow for continuation of operations while recovering from a disaster, the key component of the success of BCP’s relies on the organization’s resilience programme.

Resilience Defined: The Business Continuity Institute defines Resilience as the adaptive capacity of an organization in a complex changing environment. Resilience is the more mature aspect of recovering from disaster which is the ability of an organization to uphold its functions regardless of drastic changes in the internal and external environment. Therefore, in their quest to achieve greater maturity in response to and recovering from disasters, an organization must consider a tailor-made resilience program to enable continuation of business under adverse circumstances.

Resilience Statistics: In their annual Africa Resilience Survey, Ernst and Young (EY) discovered that although the majority of African organizations have good BCPs; they in addition require a matured resilience programme to reduce the likelihood of exposure and recover from disruptive events when they happen. The conclusions from the survey indicate that approximately 72% [Level 2 – Level 5] of the respondents reported that their resilience programme can assist in recovering business operations after a disaster. Of that number, 5% is certifiable and 28% can recover all critical functions within approved Recovery Time Objectives. Only 28% either cannot recover operations or the respondents do not know the maturity level of the programme.

Over 64% of the aggregated participants have indicated an alignment of their companies BCM resilience solutions, to international best practices, i.e. ISO 22301, ISO 22316, BS 65000, ISO 27031, the Business Continuity Institute Good Practice Guidelines 2013 and/or COBIT. Of the 64%, approximately 10% have specified that their companies are aligned to BS 65000 i.e. a Guidance document on organisational resilience.

The EY Survey further rated the resilience maturity of the sampled organizations in line with international standards on a five-point scale, with five being the most mature level:

Maturity Level: Organization Activity

Level 5 Certifiable Programme

Level 4 Can recover all critical functions with approved recovery time objective

Level 3 Can recover some critical functions with approved recovery time objective

Level 2 Can recover limited business processes via information and undocumented processes

Level 1 Cannot recover from or survive a disruption (programme does not exist)

With the survey having revealed that 5% of the sampled organizations have reached level 5, 28% level 4, 24% level 3, 15% level 2 and 10% level 1 maturity of business resilience. The remaining 18% of the respondents indicated the level of resilience as unknown. What this indicates is that although 72% of the respondents reported that their resilience programme can assist in recovering business after a disaster, only 5% have their risk management sources spread beyond the scope of traditional risk methods.

The need to be multinationally resilient: The complication with any organization operating multinationally is that the nature of disasters become foreign, away from the home country. The best assurance any organization can get against unknown material disruptive events is to align with international standards both at policy level and implementation. A multinationally resilient organization can reduce their vulnerability through adopting a resilience programme which gives them the opportunity to recover all critical functions within the approved Recovery Time Objectives.

As a risk professional have you considered that:

• Business Continuity Management and Resilience are a subset of Risk Management, both disciplines are a critical part of mitigation of certain risks, is the value of risk management tested whenever any of these risks materialize?

• Sooner or later your business could grow multinationally. At some point in your business there’s contact with global customers or business partners. Have you considered your organization’s exposures as a result of these relationships?

• Your employees might travel outside your home country exposing them to multinational risks. Have you added an emergency repatriation plan in your resilience programme?

• Some of your business recovery sites are sitting elsewhere in the world. Have you considered resilience backup if a disaster hits your recovery site?

• For a multinational business, what infrastructure challenges in the other country, similar to the local water and electricity challenges experienced in South Africa, could impact on overall business continuity?

• For a multinational business, given the rise of cyber risk which holds no political boundaries, has the business considered the impact of system failure (DRP) and the link to their cyber risk management controls?

• Is your business focusing on generic disaster scenarios or specific scenarios which may have a higher probability of occurrence such as power outages (local), political unrest depending on the economic state of the foreign country?

Take the organisational resilience programme test below:

Rate your Organization: Yes/No

Level 1 Cannot recover from or survive a disruption (resilience programme does not exist)

Level 2 Can recover limited business processes via information and undocumented processes

Level 3 Can recover some functions with approved recovery time objective

Level 4 Can recover all critical function with approved recovery time objective

Level 5 Has a Certifiable Programme Organisational Resilience Programme (in line with BS 65000)

The most responsible decision of any organization would be to be aligned with international business resilience standards and formally adopt these as part of the risk management and business continuity program, because in spite of everything we are all part of the global world.


EY, Africa Resilience Survey

Written by Ms. Mpho Modisane (IRMSA CRM Prac.)

Mpho Modisane is a certified risk management practitioner.

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Article comments

Thabo P
Thabo P · 5 months ago
Very insightful content that challenges the reader.

Theo Nkomo
Theo Nkomo · 5 months ago
Wow what a great article Mpho I cannot wait to see more of your work.

Lerato · 5 months ago
Your article is significant, best wishes for the future.

Simphiwe Shange
Simphiwe Shange · 5 months ago
Great article Mpho and the criticality moving our organisation towards resilience can not be stressed enough, and the continuity capabilities should be taken serious at all spheres of the organisation.