How Planning Ahead Can Reduce Business Risks from System Failures and Breaches

Anushil Kumar
Oct 4 · 3 min read
How Planning Ahead Can Reduce Business Risks from System Failures and Breaches

System failures and breaches can have devastating financial impacts on companies, with the average breach in 2018 costing nearly $4 million according to the Ponemon Institute. When it’s a small business that gets hit by one, it’s more likely than not to be out of business within six months.

Failures can be just as or even more devastating; just ask Delta Air Lines, which lost an estimated $100 million in revenue in August 2016 after malfunctioning data center equipment started a fire that knocked out all its systems. The airline was forced to cancel 2,300 flights as a result.

Aside from the monetary loss, failures and breaches can also negatively affect a company’s reputation with customers and other companies, which could adversely affect its business performance long after the initial damage is done.

Anushil Kumar, the Vice President of Strategy, Enterprise Architecture and Digital Innovation for global beer and wine giant Constellation Brands, says that it’s nearly impossible to plan for every contingency or prevent every possible crisis. That’s why it’s vital that companies have a plan in place for dealing with worst-case scenarios like failures or breaches.

Anushil Kumar shares tips for how to go about it and why doing so could prevent a catastrophic scenario.

Don’t Fall Victim to the Blame Game

The sooner potential failures or breaches are detected and mobilized against, the faster they’re able to be dealt with and the more likely a company is to limit the damage caused. This requires employees being willing to step forward and report issues without fear of reprisal.

Employers may believe that playing the blame game when mistakes are made or issues arise will boost accountability and lead to better performance, but it also creates a culture of fear where employees may prefer to hide or paper-over issues for as long as possible so as to avoid blame. This can make it harder to nip them in the bud before they get out of control.

Employees Should Know Their Roles During a Crisis

Surprisingly, only slightly more than half of businesses have a plan in place for dealing with a crisis, which means their employees also don’t have a plan. When a crisis does occur, panic and bedlam can sweep across such unprepared teams like wildfire says Anushil Kumar, limiting their effectiveness in responding to it and possibly exacerbating the threat.

When employees know what is expected of them during failures or breaches and especially if they’ve already simulated such occurrences, they’re more likely to remain a calm and focused unit that can better manage the problem.

Have Processes in Place for Dealing with the Crisis

Employees can be further aided by having firm processes to consult like checklists that guide them through the steps necessary to contain and respond to the issue. These should include not only the management of the issue itself, but how the issue is communicated to the public. Anushil Kumar notes that rushing out inaccurate or conflicting statements can reflect very poorly on a company, affecting future business long after the crisis has been resolved.

Anushil Kumar

Written by

Anushil is currently working for Constellation Brands, headquartered in San Francisco, CA. He is the VP of strategy, enterprise architecture and innovation.

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