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Ready For A Pandemic? IBM Tool Measures Preparedness

The service will provide an independent review of an organization's pandemic response plans based on best practices, government guidelines, and the IBM crisis team's experience.
Small businesses can measure their preparedness for a pandemic with a new tool from IBM.

IBM announced its creation of a Contingency Planning Assessment to help companies plan for the worst. The service, announced Tuesday, will provide an independent review of an organization's pandemic response plans based on best practices, government guidelines and the IBM crisis team's experience. It helps identify gaps and develop action plans.

If a pandemic strikes, up to 40 percent of a business' staff could be absent for two weeks or longer, according to the U.S. Pandemic Implementation Plan. The government could order non-essential employees to stay home and infrastructure, supplies and transportation could be disrupted. According to the Lowy Institute for International Policy, a pandemic could reduce economic output by up to 12 percent, or $4.4 trillion.

"Business risk management is all about preparing for exposure to risk – and a pandemic is like any other major risk," Phillipe Jarre, vice president of IBM Global Business Continuity and Resiliency Services, said. "It is critical for organizations to understand how they could be impacted, to consider different options to keep employees working safely, and to ensure continued connections with suppliers and customers. Any investments made now will only serve to benefit the competitiveness of the business in the future."

IBM's Contingency Planning Assessment will review plans for communication, education, human resources, monitoring, mitigation, access to healthcare, supply chain impact, government interface, crisis and continuity, business function and location-specific impact, resource tracking, technologyand workplace infrastructure and security.

The review addresses overall disaster preparedness, which can be applied to all types of emergencies.

The assessment service will be available sometime in June, and prices will range from $10,000 to $150,000, depending on the size and complexity of an organization.

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