Top crises businesses faced in the past year

  • February 27, 2018
  • Business continuity

The crises that businesses and organisations faced over the past year were many and varied.

Kestrel Director, Sandra Pedersen, says companies today are faced with so many different potential threats and issues that it’s impossible to plan for every single scenario.

“Over the past 12 months we’ve seen companies deal with everything from cyber-attacks, to significant power outages, to a major pipeline leak to a false missile attack alarm in Hawaii and many other issues in between.

“With an infinite number of things that can go wrong, the companies that cope well are the ones that have sound crisis management structures and processes in place.  Processes that are flexible enough to help manage whatever situation presents itself.”

Sandra says that when Kestrel plans a crisis exercise for a company, it looks at current known threats and the type of issues relevant to that industry and shapes a scenario to reflect a realistic risk.

With plenty of examples from around the globe during 2017 and early 2018, Kestrel has compiled a list of some of the issues companies faced, the impact and the learnings from this.

Month Event Impact Learning Link to article on line
March Protesters


Decontamination process causing interruption to business as usual.

Possible physical and mental impacts to staff involved

Welfare of staff.

Interruption to business as usual.

Read more



March Third party disruption caused by human error



Major multi-national cloud provider outage caused disruption around the world due to human error


NB: this organisation also had a major outage in 2016 due to a storm which caused damage to a substation and affected customers around the world

Don’t rely solely on the cloud – third party failures can affect business operations. Read more



May Wannacry Cyber attack


Major disruption to UK National Health system.


Hospitals and doctor’s surgeries had to cancel appointments.

Utility providers were also impacted throughout Europe.

Read more
May Outside impacts


Scaffolding collapse possible injuries to public and staff, as well as damage to neighbouring buildings Reputational and financial impacts. Read more


June Specialised equipment failure


Baggage handling failure caused major delays at large airport


Reputational and financial impacts. Reliance on specialised equipment with no backup. Read more
June IT failure caused by third party failure


Major IT failure for major airline causing disruption to thousands of passengers Reputational, financial.  This incident escalated due to poor media response and company spokesperson. Read more


June Petya Cyber Attack


Disruption to organisation through customers being impacted by cyber attack Third party disruption creates disruption to business as usual. Read more


July Fire in building


Fire in computer server room cut access to electronically stored patient records. Reputational risk and disruptions for patients. Read more



Sept Failure of critical infrastructure


Major pipeline leak caused major disruption to airport and airlines Reputational and financial impacts for all involved.


Read more



Oct Cyber attack


Overseas hackers forget smiley face (Cyber) on invoice payment email which vigilant staff identified Excellent awareness by staff prevents cyber-attack. Read more



Nov Failure of internal building infrastructure


Sprinkler failure in building causes damage to equipment and furnishings. Impacts on business as usual and highlights that you can’t be complacent even when you are in new premises. Read more
Jan 2018 Major exercise failure due to human error


Worker sent text message alert out to Hawaii residents warning of incoming missile attack in error causing terror and panic within the community. Creates reputational risk and highlights the importance of having controls in place during simulated exercises. Read more