Business Continuity

What lessons can be learned from the Games?

28th August 2012

The London 2012 Olympic Games were more successful than any of us dared hope, not only in terms of the UK’s medal haul but also in terms of safety. While the threat level was upgraded to “severe” during the competition period, meaning attack was highly likely, the efforts made by the country’s armed forces and security services meant that, fortunately, the Games passed without incident.

While it’s tempting to breathe a collective sigh of relief, it would be dangerous to let our guard down. Risks of all types are a constant and knowing that the unprecedented security measures are likely to be relaxed in the event’s aftermath, terrorists may yet decide to strike when we are more vulnerable.

With the Paralympic Games now on the horizon, a report, ‘Counter Terrorism in an Olympic Year’ from the respected Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), warns, “The authorities have done a good job preparing to keep the Olympics secure but new counter terrorism problems will persist long after the Games have closed.”

Keeping your business operating as usual while your country is staging the world’s biggest sporting event with the attendant risks of disruption, infrastructure strain, absenteeism and supply chain failure that entails should be considered a mammoth achievement. It’s vital not to miss the opportunity to identify the things that went well, the other things that didn’t go quite so well, any holes in your plan and things that, with the benefit of hindsight, you’d do differently in the future. That’s why Step 9 of SunGard Availability Services ten-step Guide to Becoming Games Ready advises, “Stand down from the state of high alert and ensure you capture any issues/opportunities the Games afforded you.”

Why not organise a post-Games debrief while events are still fresh in your mind, and explore the lessons learned and how they can be used to refine your business continuity management systems?

For ideas, you could also see what other firms feel about how to become more resilient in the face of any disruption, and the commercial benefits they believe they’ll see. The ‘film of the book’ is also available here.

Piper-Anna Shields has worked within the business continuity management (BCM) and Information Availability (IA) industry since 1995. She has a wide appreciation of the issues surrounding BCM and IA and how they enable organisations to take a holistic and strategic approach towards achieving organisational resilience, continuity and availability, including the latest evolution into Cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service solutions. Piper’s knowledge of the issues surrounding IA has been used to promote the need for continuity and availability solutions to broadcast and broadsheet media, as well as within many trade and technical publications and forums. Piper also co-authored the chapters on ICT Continuity for Wylie’s ‘The Definitive Handbook of Business Continuity Management, edition 3’and Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery for IT and Communications in edition 2.


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