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Volume 29, Issue 5

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New Year's Resolutions

We are just a few days away from 2017, wondering what it will bring.  Everyone is deciding what their New Year's resolutions will be.  What will you do differently in your personal life?  And what changes are you going to make in your business and professional life?  This is the perfect time to reflect on what went well for your company this past year; and what was less than perfect. It is also the prime time to do some planning and preparation.

Incidents have a global impact.

One only needs to look back on 2016 to remember how many natural disasters occurred.  This was one of the deadliest Atlantic hurricane seasons since 2005, spanning all the way from mid-January to the end of November.  Out of 1,766 deaths this season, 1,659 were attributed to Hurricane Matthew alone.  There were also massive earthquakes in Ecuador, Italy and the Solomon Islands, and rampant wildfires in the Southeastern United States.  At first blush when these incidents are looked at separately, the impact might not be considered all that high.  However when you really think about the global impact of incidents like earthquakes, sudden flooding, snowstorms, power outages, fires, and hurricanes, you quickly realize how these seemingly isolated incidents resulted in real impacts on your bottom line.

The New Year is the time to start.

I suggest you take this week to get ready for the year ahead. Do a threat risk assessment.  Really look at the results of this process and consider how these threats will impact your business and bottom-line.  Next, take action.  Work with a proven leader in the industry to put together a business continuity plan. When done effectively, the creation and implementation of this plan doesn't have a big impact on the day-to-day operations of your business.  Ultimately you will have the peace of mind that your company and its assets are protected in the event of disaster.

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7 Steps to BIGLY build a business continuity management program

Effectively fulfilling your role as a business continuity executive means not only understanding your organization’s ability to remain resilience in the face of any disruptive event or disaster, but also proactively contributing, sanctioning and enforcing an effective business continuity program.  I put together a short outline of steps you should take as you build your business continuity management program.


1. Create your own unique ‘best fit’ framework for a sustainable resilience, continuity and disaster recovery program

The critical considerations of this framework include:

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3 Ways Your BCP Can Help You During The Holidays

Demonstrating return on investment is one of the main barriers to launching a new Business Continuity Plan (BCP) project. Many organizations have difficulty justifying the expense of building a BCP and funding it’s maintenance over time. A healthy organization that has never experienced an interruption may focus on the real possibility of a zero ROI. If an organization is able to dodge the proverbial bullet, it’s true, the project may never yield much return. However, even in the case of extreme luck, there are three distinct ways that a BCP helps you with non-emergency operations in your organization.

1 – Holiday Closures

With the holiday season upon us, business closures can be a difficult puzzle to solve. Whether in the manufacturing or service sector, it can be tough to determine how to shutdown and restart the business. Add in the need to share these impacts both inside and outside of the organization and this task can seem enormous. Thankfully, a solid BCP will give you the information you need to make this happen. The BCP tells you which critical processes need the most attention; it includes instructions for internal and external communications; and it lists all critical vendors, suppliers and customers that may need special attention. The BCP acts as a manual of steps for a short term holiday closure. The New Year will ring in the return to operations-as-usual.

One important item to note is that using the BCP in such closures serves as a plan exercise. This will help identify any pitfalls in the plan and inform the next iteration. Exercises ensure your plan becomes an even more robust and useful resource.

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Control in the Chaos

Emergency Management Market Skyrockets

When we heard the report based on new market research that the incident and emergency management market is projected to reach $114 billion by 2021, we weren’t surprised. But what people may not realize is why the market is exploding. The report notes the growth is due to “changing climatic conditions, increasing government regulations and norms, extensive usage of social media to spread information, and increased threats of terrorist attacks.”

Pretty sobering. Every one of those key drivers are out of our immediate control. We don’t like to feel out of control. In fact, the feeling of being out of control is a leading cause of anxiety and depression. It can lead us to act irrationally or at the very least, make us irritable. The truth is, we feel safe when we are in control.

An interesting study found climate change ranks among the top 20 greatest fears of U.S. adults and nearly 40 percent of people have anxiety about terrorism. These are serious numbers. So what can a company do to alleviate some of these fears?

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Mass Text Software Becoming Standard Protocol for Emergency Notifications

Key Drivers

I recently saw an article from Campus Safety magazine that discussed how college campuses are attempting to maximize the ROI of their alert systems. This isn’t a surprise, as it has become mandatory for schools to have some sort of mass communication system in place for emergencies. Sadly, school campuses from elementary through college have lost their sense of security after so many stories of campus violence. We’ve all mourned the tragedies of Sandy Hook, Columbine, and Virginia Tech. There have been 142 school shootings in the U.S. since 2013 and nearly every state has been affected.

On top of everything schools have to contend with each year , these horrific crimes have quickly placed campus security at the top of the priority list. The mass notification system market is responding and is expected to grow to nearly 10 billion USD by 2021, due in part to the growing demand for public safety and increased awareness for emergency communication solutions.

Squeezing Out ROI from Pinched Budgets

The drive to eke out as much ROI as possible from these communication tools is understandable given the strained resources of many schools. The article reminds us that email was the mainstay for all electronic communications prior to the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. Our culture has evolved significantly since then, thanks to millennials who have set the standard for instant, real-time communications. While email still may have its place, it isn’t considered fast or reliable enough for emergency notifications.

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Lessons Learned from Matthew's Aftermath

Hurricane Matthew, a category 5 hurricane that disrupted life along the Western Atlantic for nearly two weeks last month, is an unwelcome reminder of the importance of business continuity planning and preparedness. In any disaster, there are many lessons learned for all persons and organizations involved. Here we look to Matthews’ to highlight some lessons we can all take away to enhance business continuity planning for not just hurricanes, but disasters of any kind.

For those who didn’t follow the hurricane, it’s effects were great and widespread. Wind gusts up to 107 mph were measured at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Water levels rose up to eight feet above normal levels as a result of the storm surge. Some areas reported up to 14 inches of rainfall, furthering flood risks and concurrent impacts miles from the coastline.

If directly inside this impact zone, many immediate effects can inhibit your business operations:

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The Worst Advice We've Ever Heard About Incident Communications

Lessons from Ben

Benjamin Franklin was a great man who is known for his quotes and advice. Not only was he a founding father of our nation, but he launched the first library, the first hospital, and the first fire department. Those are but a few of his contributions to our society but even he understood the questionable value of advice from others when he said, “Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.”

Advice can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be highly beneficial. We often seek advice when we are struggling with a situation or want another perspective. On the other hand, we often detest advice when it’s given without requesting it, particularly when that advice is counter to what we think we know.

Ask 50 people for advice on virtually anything, personal or work-related, and you will likely receive 50 different suggestions. How should you roast a chicken? Just Google that one and see how many different sites pop up. I just did and a whopping 75,800,000 results are possible. “How should a company communicate with its employees?” The chicken just got cooked because nearly double the number of results were offered up. Astonishing.

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Take Advantage of Your Access to Disaster Recovery Journal

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Spring World 2017 Perks

You know the value of continuing your business continuity education. You know the benefits that networking can offer. You know how important it is to meet with and get demos from the leaders in technology, software and services. 

 

You know that there is no place other than DRJ Spring World 2017 where you can easily, efficiently and affordably do this in one location. You know that March 26 - 29, 2017 will have a lasting impact on your career and your company.

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Business Continuity. Resilience. Disaster Recovery

5 ways to be a business continuity ninja

You get it. You’re a business continuity manager.  You are ready for any disaster. You have ninja like reflexes. You can read minds. You own a magical crystal ball. You have the super power of continuity. You anticipate and avert crisis whenever possible.  Of course, this is not always the reality, but you do know how to expect the unexpected.

In too many cases demonstrated by recent history, the worst possible risks tend to be surprises that no one would have suspected as a possibility. Anticipation and foresight can be effective only in situations where we know with high probability the worst risks we face, and we can apply that knowledge to avoid or mitigate negative outcomes. Unfortunately without the help of the super powers and skills set listed above, avoidance and mitigation aren’t always possible. The recent events in NYC, NJ and Minnesota bring to mind the ever increasing need for business continuity and disaster recovery planning. The devastating attacks in Paris, Orlando, New York and across the world are also painful examples of such an unfathomable crisis.


1. Believe it could happen.

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Shaping the Future of Business Continuity

The theme for DRJ Spring World 2017 is: Shaping the Future of Business Continuity. What does this mean? What do you think of when you hear the word future? How can you be involved and make a difference in the future of business continuity?

 

Admittedly, this theme is a big one. It’s also vitally important. All of us are in the business of being ready, of being able to respond and react, of knowing how and what we’ll do in the face of interruption, and of being able to stay calm when faced with chaos. 

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Why Do So Many Emergency Communications Plans Fail?

When Was the Last Time You Practiced Your Plan?

Plenty of companies have some sort of emergency plan in place and even a few of those practice the plan on a regular basis with their employees. Yet, nearly 60 percent of American adults say they have never practiced what to do in a disaster at work, school, or home in the past year.

Even those companies who do have a plan in place often find their plan was completely insufficient in the event of an actual emergency. What is the problem? We all know it’s important but we mostly believe it won’t happen to us and if it did, we’d know what to do. That simply is not the case. As we’ve all been warned, “it’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.”

Critical events come in all forms: fire, natural disasters, power outages, IT outages, hazardous chemical spills, terrorism, work and school shootings, hostage situations, bomb threats, and structural failures. Did I leave anything out? Likely so. I list these not to scare, but to illustrate how many things could go wrong and why it’s so critical to have an emergency notification system in place, practiced, and understood.

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New York’s Surprising Mass Alert / The Future of Crisis Communication?

The digital manhunt for the suspect in the mid-September 2016 Chelsea district bombings in New York illustrates both the promise and challenges of advanced crisis communication and emergency alerting.

New York City, State, and Federal agencies investigating the attacks moved rapidly to reach out to the public, using a variety of means. The result was that almost anyone at risk had the possibility of receiving notification on how to protect themselves, and the public was successfully recruited to help find the perpetrator.

One of the methods used to alert the public immediately became controversial. An alert went out over the federal government's Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, delivering a brief message listing the name of the suspect, his gender, and his age. Recipients were instructed to turn to other "media" for his picture, and call 911 if the suspect was seen.

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Cyber Resilience - Risk Management Evolves

 

The development of modern cloud-based mobile applications has changed much of the IT landscape. New methods of application development (Agile & DevOps) have driven organizational change and brought IT to the forefront of new digital business models. Hyper-connected, massively distributed Cloud applications are also driving changes in traditional IT methods for business continuity and security - two primary functions missioned to manage IT risk.

Protecting information systems and ensuring their availability has been the province of the business continuity management (BCM) function. On the other hand, access control, privacy, and identity management have been handled by IT security. Historically separate, both functions play an important role in managing operational risk.  As cloud and mobile applications evolve several factors suggest the need for a new approach to manage IT risk:

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Be Involved With DRJ Spring World 2017

 

Do you have a first-hand experience with resilience management or business continuity that others can benefit from? Do you have insights into the future of business continuity? Have you tested and developed new methodologies for disaster recovery? Have you been directly involved in ensuring that your company has a tested and proven business continuity plan? Do you have key insights and experiences that you wish you didn’t have to learn the hard way?

 

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Staring Down the Bogeyman

It hardly seems possible that fifteen years have passed since 9/11.  So much has changed, in particular our communications technology, nowhere better seen than in the Politco Magazine article that taps the recollections of those with President Bush on that day, titled “We’re the Only Plane in the Sky.” Though the fine line between security and surveillance in the name of counter-terrorism is tested regularly, information sharing among government agencies and the private sector has never been higher. Sometimes in fact I feel like we suffer from an over-abundance of information that is not properly sorted and weighted. 

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 and the fifth time I have used a September column to reflect upon how well we have done with the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report. First, however, it should be noted that the government finally released the missing 20+ pages of the report, and both sides of Congress have passed a bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabian entities.  Though it would upend some aspects of international law, it is to be hoped that the president will sign the bill.  It’s clear now that there are thousands more pages of reports from government agencies that are still classified and that would shed further light on the situation, despite diplomatic complications that might ensue, especially since Saudi–financed Madrassa schools continue to train terrorists.

Though Congress passed legislation in 2002 that identified and consolidated 22 different agencies into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that department still has to appear and provide briefings to nearly 100 different Congressional committees.  Recent increased interest in cyber-terrorism has increased the amount of time the FBI spends in front of Congress, but not reduced the load of requests made of senior DHS officials, in part because DHS’s scope, which includes all forms of terrorism as well as natural disasters.  Isn’t it about time to streamline such reporting down to a reasonable number of  DHS committees in the House and Senate? 

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KingsBridge Disaster Recovery to Launch Shield 2.0 at DRJ Fall World

KingsBridge Disaster Recovery announces its signature Shield software, a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning tool, has undergone a complete redevelopment and will be available to new users starting this month. Shield has always strived to make planning simple, but now The Plan Builder is taking it to the next level following more than a year of planning, development and testing while always keeping “faster", “easier", “intuitive" at the core of their design decisions.  The KingsBridge team is excited to release this new and improved product to build better recovery plans faster.  With the mantra of “The Plan Builder”, Shield 2.0 gives users the ability to build a first draft of the plan right out of the box saving precious time and resources. KingsBridge understands that many Business Continuity project managers have conflicting priorities and tight deadlines. To answer the call for an easy to use, easy to manage plan, Shield 2.0 has enhanced capabilities for managing data and documents with easier navigation. And users couldn’t be happier. Here is what customers have to say about Shield 2.0;

 

  • Ease of use; the application isn’t too complex allowing users to access it only once or twice a year without the need for retraining.

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10 Business Continuity Concepts Every Newbie Needs to Know

It doesn’t matter if you call it business continuity, organizational resilience, risk management, disaster recovery or continuity of operations, there are some important terms, every beginner needs to know to have a sustainable program.  Here is my take on some of these common BC terms.  Consider it a BC beginner’s cheat sheet!


THE BUSINESS CONTINUITY NEWBIE CHEAT SHEET

1. Business Impact Analysis

Define, measure & assess the financial, customer, regulatory and/or reputational impacts & determine an optimal Recovery Time Objective (RTO). You will most likely determine that the cost of not having organizational resilience is very high.

 

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Evolving Cyber Resiliency for enhanced business protection

 

Firms have embraced the growing demand in dealing with a cyberattack, be it ransom or malware, a virus, or a Trojan horse.  Each of these with the intention of disrupting or destroying the very data, infrastructure, or networks that comprise the ability to transact business.  Much attention and focus has been placed on addressing this challenge as more complete, enterprise wide protection strategies are designed to fight against a potential disruption. 

 

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Don't Miss Our Post-Conference Courses

One of the best ways to get the most out of your DRJ Fall World 2016 experience is to attend our special post-conference courses. These courses are specifically chosen to allow you to build on the knowledge you gained during the first three days of the conference. 

 

Our post-conference courses include:

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