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Review Continuity Plans to Deal with the Threat of Ebola

Get the facts. Understand the risks. Make a plan.


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Your Challenge

  • The latest outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is the largest and most complex since the virus was discovered in 1976.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the actual number of cases may be as high as 21,000. Without additional interventions or changes in community behavior, the CDC projects approximately 550,000 Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone by January 20, 2015, or 1.4 million if we correct for underreporting.
  • The challenge is that much of the information available in the media is unreliable or exaggerated.
  • Organizations need to make and review business continuity plans without overacting, and take a levelheaded risk management approach towards tackling their potential exposure to Ebola.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Make and review business continuity plans given the EVD outbreak, without overreacting.
  • EVD is not the next H1N1. It is less contagious, less deadly, and less disruptive than influenza, which affects organizations worldwide each year.
  • Use this opportunity to review business continuity plans. You may be better prepared than you know. Most organizations who prepared business continuity plans for the 2003 SARS pandemic or the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and who do not have contact with West African states, likely just need to review and refresh their business continuity plans with a short section on EVD.

Impact and Result

  • Use this opportunity to review your pandemic continuity plans in time for flu season.
  • Ask key questions to determine whether you are ready to deal with the EVD outbreak.

Research & Tools

1. Do you understand the disease?

Understanding the disease will help you scale your response objectively.

2. Are you comfortable discussing the risk of EVD with your team?

Demonstrating credible concern for your employees will mitigate the impact of the outbreak on your organization.

3. Which processes do you need to maintain to meet critical organizational goals?

Assessing which organizational goals are critical will help you determine which employees and functions you cannot do without.

4. Do you have a list of designates to replace employees in key positions if they are unavailable?

Identifying designates for key roles will help you mitigate the risk of the EVD outbreak on business continuity.

5. Do your critical vendors and partners have business continuity plans of their own?

Reviewing the business continuity plans of critical vendors and partners will help you identify potential points of failure in your supply chain.

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