Tackling global infrastructure risks

31 Jul 2008

Most organisations look at globalisation as an opportunity to innovate, reduce cost and access new markets. It's easy, however, to overlook the fact that new areas of operation bring with them often uncharted risks. How can firms ensure that expansion does not open the back door to unforeseen risks‾

Raising questions

A recent International Herald Tribune article reported how the theft of one laptop exposed the details of a billion dollar energy field classified as an official Brazilian state secret. The price of a simple, yet secure, encryption service or network based alternative suddenly looked insignificant in comparison.

The theft reinforces the fact that expansion brings new risks because, a global infrastructure is only as strong as the weakest link.

Oil and gas, as just one example, is increasingly reliant upon research data transported to and from locations with scant infrastructure. Planning for continuity in new risk landscapes means organisations must take steps to secure, service and support operations far from the relative safety of the corporate headquarters.

Planning experts

Security is not the only issue. New geographies mean unfamiliar natural emergencies, such as the 2006 Taiwanese earthquake, and new business continuity concerns. The whole issue of service support is crucial to any business relevant to any company operating in disaster-prone regions.

So how might this all work‾ BT's recent look at the future of the pharmaceutical industry explores long-term scenarios for value chains in the industry.

New globally distributed business models will have to be adopted, often, again, encompassing far-flung places. Architecting the resilience necessary to cope with natural disasters is one essential aspect in such a worldwide manufacturing environment. The simple fact is that there's no point in having watertight security at home but soft spots abroad.

In any industry, planning for risk management in a global network environment needs to effectively address all such not-so-obvious issues alongside a host of more common considerations. Global business means risks are no longer local.

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