Kuniyuki is an independent consultant with 15 years of experience in business continuity management and corporate risk management consulting in Japan. He is a member of the BCI since 2008 and he holds FBCI professional credential in business continuity. He provides consulting service for various industries. He is especially an expert for business continuity of manufacturing companies. He was then awarded “BCM Consultant of the Year” at BCI Asia Business Continuity Awards 2013 and “Continuity and Resilience Industry Personality 2018” at BCI Asia Awards 2018. To promote the art and science of business continuity, he provides various seminars and workshops related to business continuity, disaster recovery, and emergency preparedness in Japan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and England. He has experience as a business continuity manager for manufacturing companies, and as an IT system administrator for an auto manufacturer.
- According to your experience, how has the business continuity and resilience community changed in the last few years?
As for my personal perspective, the Japanese business continuity and resilience community has made a greater use of IT infrastructure to accommodate those who needed to work from home. Needless to say, because of that we were forced to recur to online meetings instead of business trips. Nowadays, it is quite common in Japan to operate online exercises for incident management and disaster response.
Additionally, cyber threats have become a more popular topic in the business continuity industry in Japan. Professionals were not very interested in cyber security in the past, since it was out of their main scope of action. However, when some ransomware cases brought business interruptions to Japanese companies, then cyber threats became recognized as one of the major issues related to business continuity.
- What role has business continuity played in Japan since the Covid-19 breakout? Could you provide some further examples from the countries where you currently operate?
The Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry of Japan issued a guideline for companies against pandemic in 2009 after H1N1 influenza pandemic; however, most people in Japan forgot it in these ten years, since there was not such a severe impact caused by H1N1.
On the other hand, experienced business continuity practitioners still remember it, because it was a very hot topic at that time, as practitioners were trying to figure out how business continuity works in a disease outbreak, as in the case of SARS in 2005.
Therefore, at the beginning of the COVID-19 breakout, business continuity practitioners delivered articles and seminars to brush up the guidelines and remind the Japanese industry to get prepared.
- As climate change intensifies, natural disasters are an increasing concern. How can business continuity help in this sense?
I believe business continuity would help find effective ways to adapt to climate change.
Large scale disasters which would be caused by natural hazard might affect entire organizations. However, it would be very difficult to protect the whole organization against severe disasters intensified by climate change. So, we should consider an effective business continuity strategy with the protection of essential assets to deliver prioritised products or services.
This is one of the basic ways of thinking in traditional business continuity: not to protect everything, but prioritized products and services. It makes business continuity more effective and optimized to the organisation. Such methodology should become more and more important to tackle with large scale disasters which might be intensified by climate change.
As a technical example, the business impact analysis and risk (and threat) assessment, which are built-in the process of business continuity management, would provide useful outputs to align business continuity arrangements to climate change. For your information, BSI provides a guide to adapt to climate change with business continuity management.
- How can we improve our efforts in spreading awareness on business continuity and resilience?
I think we should leverage on many lessons learned from real cases, and I believe that post-incident reviews (or after action reviews) would bring many findings and lessons learned which are useful for raising awareness. However, I do not think post-incident reviews are actually carried out for all cases of incident in the world. As far as I know, it was not performed well for past incidents in Japan for corporate, regional, and nation-wide cases. My proposal to the professional community would be to always perform post-incident reviews and then to distribute the reports among the industry to provide useful lessons learned and raise awareness.
- Do you have any advice for up and coming professionals?
I would like to stress that it is vital for us to build inter-disciplinary networks to address various threats and complex situations. In other words, we should be a hub for various knowledge and information related to organizational resilience. It shall work as a hub for collaborative work for several projects for preparedness and incident response. It would also have a positive effect on career development.
- Other comments you may wish to add?
There are so many discussions in the business continuity industry around “resilience” as a wider concept. However, it does not mean that business continuity management would be useless or outdated. Business continuity management is still essential as a practical methodology to support and maintain organisational resilience. Therefore, we should distinguish a wider concept of resilience from the practical methodology of business continuity and continue to discuss how to implement it.
Author: Gianluca Riglietti
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