The crippling of the Wall Street Journal, United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange web and trading sites earlier this month suggests a coordinated cyber attack. Even if hackers were not involved, all these institutions need to know what to do in case of such an attack. They should all have run what-if scenarios or war games to stress-test their resiliency in advance.
My guess is that if I had the opportunity to speak with each institution immediately following their forced tech shutdown last week, each C-suite exec from the CIO to the CEO would have said they were prepared. They have likely run such scenarios – maybe.
Scenario planning may have helped the Journal, United, or the NYSE to cope with their disruptions. Here are more reasons to run a war game or scenario-planning exercise for your business.
- You need to understand how your rival or rival will attempt to shape a market
- A regulatory shift or change can alter the competitive rules. How will you and your competitors likely behave in this new market climate?
- How will a rival react to your introducing a new product or vice versa?
- If an entrant or a substitute offering enters the market what does that do to your strategy?
- What will the market look like in the not too distant future?
- Who will the customers be in that market or what services or products will they demand?
- How do we prepare for any number of possible and very disruptive market conditions? How do we alter our strategy today in order to become more resilient if and when any of these scenarios come to pass?
No one wants to think about cyber attacks, just as we don’t want to consider that our markets and even our competitive set may change over time. But cyber attacks are our new reality and our markets do change. Just ask the auto companies, airlines and pharmaceutical companies.
It’s our job to prepare for these changes. Running a war game or a scenario planning exercise is a small but potent investment to ensure our companies are ready.