By Nancy Dragani
As 2016 winds down, it is natural to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in the past and where we are headed in the future. This year reinforced the threat of wildfires in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, brought severe storms and flooding to some of our communities and reminded us once again that winter can be a formidable foe. Yet despite these threats to our communities, one of our strengths as Americans is our ability to face misfortune and challenges, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to the business of living our lives.
While natural hazards are by their very nature unpredictable, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from past experience. It is how we know to be ready for subzero temperatures and snow storms in January and February, storms and flooding in the spring and summer, and wildfires potentially all year long.
For those living in this part of the country, the values of self-reliance and looking out for your neighbors have been instilled for generations. Today, they also serve as a cornerstone to building a culture of preparedness and readiness that serves all of our communities. That culture starts in the home and community. At home, simple things such as family fire drills or assembling a home preparedness kit can make your family better prepared for any disaster. Community events during National Preparedness Month in September brought communities big and small together to highlight actions that make us more resilient. Next April will bring another National Day of Action to culminate America’s PrepareAthon. You can learn more about these events and see how you can participate at community.fema.gov.
You can also become more prepared by ensuring that you and your family are aware of the hazards that can impact your home. Start by checking that smoke, radon and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are functioning properly. Consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio or adding the FEMA app to your smartphone to keep you notified of severe weather in your area. Put together a personal disaster plan, assemble a supply kit and create a family communication plan. If you are so inclined, join a Community Emergency Response Team or volunteer with an agency of your choosing. For more information on volunteer and training opportunities, contact your local or state emergency management agency.
We can’t prevent every disaster. But we can be better prepared when disaster strikes. Now is the time to make sure you and your community are ready.
Nancy Dragani serves as the Acting Administrator for FEMA Region 8, serving the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
About the Series
The scope and mandate for internal audit continues to evolve each year, as does the complexity of the business environment and speed of the changing risk landscape in which it must operate.
The fundamental goal of this exciting new series is to produce leading-edge books on critical subjects facing audit executives as well as internal and IT audit practitioners.
Key topics that will be addressed over the coming years include Audit Leadership, Cybersecurity, Strategic Risk Management, Auditing Various IT Activities and Processes, Audit Management, and Operational Auditing.
Partnership Enables Big Data Clients with Advanced GeoSpatial and Data Quality Capabilities
STAMFORD, Conn. – Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI), a global technology company that provides innovative products and solutions to power commerce, announced today that it has joined Hortonworks Partnerworks in the Modern Data Solutions (MDS) partner program to enhance data management and analytics for clients so that they may be able to leverage the power of a Big Data platform. Clients will now have access to data quality, advanced geospatial foundation and geo-enrichment capabilities that will result in faster, more scalable business insight.
Through the partnership Pitney Bowes will deploy its data quality and geospatial capabilities, which recently achieved Hortonworks Certification. These data quality and geospatial capabilities are critical in driving business transformation and outcomes in a data-driven world. Location-based data, in particular, plays an important role in how businesses understand their customers because it is one of the most consistent ways to link people, places and things.
Data storage and analytics are both equally critical to how businesses interpret this data. Traditional infrastructures are designed to analyze large quantities of data, on premise, through hardware devices. However, these infrastructures cannot handle the tremendous amounts of structured and unstructured data that today's consumers produce each day, both on and offline. Businesses that rely on traditional infrastructures are challenged to analyze data with speed and scale.
Hortonworks is a leading industry innovator, focused on creating, distributing and supporting enterprise-ready, open and connected data platforms, and modern data applications that deliver actionable intelligence from all data. Its connected data platforms, powered by open source technologies, are making it possible for clients to analyze mass amounts of structured and unstructured data, while Pitney Bowes adds the spatial and vertical market-specific data to allow customers to fully leverage the power of a Hortonworks Data Platform.
"Hortonworks is dedicated to expanding and empowering the modern data solution ecosystem, which ultimately accelerates adoption of connected data platforms," says Chris Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Global Channels & Alliances, Hortonworks. "We are pleased to welcome Pitney Bowes to the Partnerworks community and look forward to working with them to strengthen the role of connected data platforms for the enterprise."
Pitney Bowes' spatial analytics solutions are utilized across many verticals including insurance, financial services, telecommunications and retail, with many applying these analytics across massive, global data sets. Insurance firms rely on Pitney Bowes' spatial capabilities to better understand risk profiles by geography. Financial services firms leverage spatial analytics to optimize branch and ATM locations. Telecommunications providers and retailers use spatial data to better understand their subscribers and customers to present the most attractive offers to them. Additionally, analytics for the Internet of Things (IoT) require location attributes in order to fully address asset management use cases.
"Our partnership is extremely beneficial for Pitney Bowes and Hortonworks clients because it's one that will enable our clients to get tremendous business value out of their Big Data investments through geospatial analytics," says Roger Pilc, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, Pitney Bowes. "By making our solutions available through one of the market's most respected big data providers, we're making it easy for partners and clients to derive meaningful insight, quickly and at scale."
Pitney Bowes Big Data solutions enable end users to quickly visualize patterns and relationships, inform interpretation and decision making, and generate richer insights and a faster return-of-investment. With data quality and geospatial analytics embedded directly into Big Data applications, it's easy to keep pace with the extraordinary speed and scale required. Clients can expedite insights, bread down data silos, boost accuracy and precision with geospatial and geo-enrichment capabilities, and link information across and with datasets like never before.
Currently, the Pitney Bowes capabilities offered through Hortonworks include Spectrum Geocoding for Big Data, Spectrum Location Intelligence for Big Data, Spectrum Data Quality for Big Data and the Spectrum Technology Platform. These offerings enable clients to work with structured and unstructured data to extract insights that can be applied for better outcomes.
About Pitney Bowes
Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI) is a global technology company offering innovative products and solutions that enable commerce in the areas of customer information management, location intelligence, customer engagement, shipping and mailing, and global ecommerce. More than 1.5 million clients in approximately 100 countries around the world rely on products, solutions and services from Pitney Bowes. For additional information, visit Pitney Bowes at www.pitneybowes.com.
The Business Continuity Institute
2016 was another busy year for the Business Continuity Institute, beginning with the announcement of our exciting new partnership with Regus, a partnership that increases the value we offer our members by providing even greater benefits such as improved access to their worldwide facilities.
The first of many research reports to be published throughout the year was our annual Horizon Scan Report, a report that highlighted just how significant the digital threat can be as cyber attacks and data breaches filled the top two spots yet again. It also revealed that physical threats like terrorism are a growing concern, a concern that is unlikely to go away any time soon.
Demonstrating the truly global nature of the Institute, the BCI launched a new Chapter in February when the India Chapter was formed after much hard work by the Forums we already had in India. This brings the total number of Chapters to ten, not to mention over 60 Regional Forums that exist across the world.
With so much discussion being on organizational resilience in recent years, debate has focused on how it relates to the established business continuity management discipline. The BCI therefore decided to release a position statement noting that business continuity provides principles and practices that are an essential contributor for any organization seeking to develop and enhance its resilience capabilities.
During the first half of the year, much of the media was filled with stories about Brexit and the inconceivable possibility that the United Kingdom could vote to leave the European Union. Before the referendum took place, the BCI hosted a discussion forum where experts in the field of economics, human resources, supply chain and crisis management offered their views on the potential implications. An edition of the Working Papers Series was also published on horizon scanning post-Brexit. In the end the vote was in favour of leaving the EU so it will be very interesting to see what the challenges of Brexit will be from a business continuity perspective over the next few years.
In May we hosted our annual awareness week which was themed on return on investment and was designed to demonstrate the value of business continuity, and not just the obvious benefits that business continuity has in the event of a disruption. The report we produced highlighted that effective business continuity can result in savings and efficiencies within an organization, it can lead to reduced insurance premiums and can support contract negotiations. In 2017 (15th to 19th May) the theme for Business Continuity Awareness Week is cyber resilience so make sure you get involved and play yourpart in raising awareness of your industry.
While BCAW demonstrated the return on investment of business continuity, we also used the opportunity to demonstrate the return on investment of business continuity certification when we launched our first ever Salary Benchmarking Report, a report which revealed that those who had achieved one of the world’s leading credentials in business continuity earned more than their non-certified colleagues by up to 30%. A good a reason as any to study for your CBCI!
Partnering with Regus in order to improve the benefits we offer our members wasn’t the only partnership we announced during the year. In July we formed a new partnership with the Disaster Recovery Information Exchange that will improve access to networking opportunities to members across Canada.
Among a number of new research reports we published during the year was our Cyber Resilience Report, a topic that is clearly of great importance to business continuity professionals given the findings of our Horizon Scan Report. This report revealed that two thirds of organizations had experienced at least one cyber security incident during the previous year, and that 15% had experienced at least ten.
Our BCI World Conference in November was another great success with many visitors exploring the exhibition hall while delegates were captivated by Michele Wucker’s grey rhinos, Lewis Dartnell’s experiments and former New York Senator Michael Balboni’s insight into the US Presidential Election, an event that could also pose challenges to organizations over the coming years from a business continuity perspective.
BCI World wasn’t the only conference hosted by the Institute during the year. Following on from the inaugural BCI Middle East Conference in 2015, the BCI hosted a Netherlands and Belgium Conferencein May and an Africa Conference in September, not to mention the Australasian Chapter’s hugely successful Australasia Summit.
At BCI World we published our annual Supply Chain Resilience Report, which showed that one in three organizations had experienced cumulative losses of over €1 million during the previous year as a result of supply chain disruptions. We also published our first ever Workplace Recovery Report which revealed a disconnect between business continuity professionals and end users when it comes to workplace recovery. It is a busy time of year for our research department as this was followed soon after by our Emergency Communications Report which demonstrated why it is important to have arrangements in place to communicate with staff, particularly when those staff are geographically dispersed and often in high-risk countries.
In addition to all the research reports published during the year our research department had been busy with other projects such as the Working Paper Series which has seen four new editions on digital business continuity, Brexit, pandemic transmission speeds and desktop exercises. The research department has also been supporting the 20/20 Think Tank in its publications with papers on responding to the resilience challenge and the changing resilience landscape.
Throughout the year there has been lots to celebrate with eight award ceremonies taking place in North America, Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and India before culminating in the final ceremony for the Global Awards held at a Gala Dinner following day one of the BCI World Conference. Congratulations once again to all those who won an award during the year, it was truly a tremendous achievement.
At the end of the year we said farewell to our outgoing Executive Director – Lorraine Darke – who had been at the Institute for 12 years, and in recognition of her achievements at the BCI she was awarded an Honorary Masters degree by Bucks New University. As a result of Lorraine’s departure, we welcomed in our new Executive Director – David Thorp – who joins the BCI from the Security Institute.
We also said farewell to David James-Brown FBCI whose two years as Chairman of the Institute came to an end. Of course it wasn’t a complete farewell as David will still have a very active role within the Institute. James McAlister FBCI became the new Chairman of the Institute, and Tim Janes Hon. FBCI was elected by his fellow members of the Global Membership Council to be the new Vice Chair.
As the above has shown, it was a very busy year for the BCI with plenty going on, but 2017 is destined to be busier still. With a new Executive Director and a new Chairman in place, both keen to make their mark, we can expect even more output from the BCI in order to better serve our members and the entire business continuity and resilience community.
This perspective provides an overview of the Business Continuity Institute’s Professional Practice 6 (PP6) – Validation, which is the professional practice that “confirms that the Business Continuity Management (BCM) program meets the objectives set in the Business Continuity Policy and that the organization’s BCM program is fit for purpose”. Business continuity practitioners should perform validation activities after documenting response and recovery plans for their organizations (for more on planning, read our perspective on PP5 – Implementation).
PP6 addresses three activities specific to the validation of BCM program assumptions. First, PP6 provides guidance regarding the development and execution of an exercise program, which validates the business continuity requirements gathered during the business impact analysis (BIA) and the strategies documented in the organization’s business continuity plans. Second and third, PP6 covers the principles and techniques necessary for performing both program maintenance activities and program reviews to identify improvement opportunities and increase organizational resilience. Let’s take a closer look at each activity.