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By Andy Osborne, Consultancy Director at Acumen
It's fairly standard practice to hold some form of debrief at the end of an exercise or test, which is a very sensible thing to do. It helps to ensure that any issues and actions arising are captured and it's a good way to obtain feedback from the participants on how they thought things went. But some debriefs are a bit on the, well, brief side. Because it comes at the end of what can sometimes be a lengthy or challenging, sometimes stressful, session, it can be all too easy to make the debrief too brief. There can be a temptation to let people "get away" so that they can return to their day jobs. But the danger is that, once they do so, all the good stuff that the exercise teased out will be forgotten within a couple of weeks or, at best, vaguely remembered but not given the attention it deserves.
That's not to suggest that the debrief should be overly lengthy, just that sufficient time should be allowed to ensure that everything that needs to be captured is, so that a follow-up action plan can be agreed.
And, whilst it may seem like a bit of a luxury, it can be very beneficial to hold two debriefs - a "hot" debrief immediately after the exercise or test and a second, "cold" debrief a couple of weeks later, after the proverbial dust has settled. Go on, be honest, how brief are your debriefs? And how many do you do? If you don't already do so, why not give the double-debrief a try after your next exercise or test and see what the results are like?
Originally posted on Acumen's business continuity "Tip of the Month" page (www.acumen-bcp.co.uk/totm)
When did data protection get to be such a pain? We all know that data is growing quickly and that the types of data are constantly changing, but that doesn’t change the basics of storage management. The old rules still apply, leaving some IT professionals wondering what really has changed and how those changes affect their shop.
The old rules of thumb still hold true in this new age of data management. According to Wikipedia, a rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation....
By Stacy Gardner, Avalution Consulting
Originally posted on Avalution Consulting’s Blog
Why “Chicken Little” and “Black Swan” Planning is NOT the Way to Respond to Recent Catastrophic Events
It seems that every week there’s a story in the news about a catastrophic disaster happening somewhere in the world, as the last five to ten years have seen what appears to be unprecedented numbers of global natural disasters. While it sometimes might seem like the world is ending, overacting to these events or trying to plan for every worst case scenario is not productive and could DAMAGE your business continuity program. This article will discuss why focusing on these types of outlier events do not generate value or management interest, as well as discuss ways you CAN tweak your risk assessment and planning to ultimately gain more value without trying to tackle impossible planning standards....
In yesterday's operational risk seminar that I teach at the University of Washington, our guest speaker was UW seismologist and information scientist Bill Steele. In the first hour of class, he used a presentation he had recently made to state government on the development of an alert system that could mitigate certain types of public safety issues during an earthquake. I've seen parts of the presentation before, and was struck again by the message that is driven home: disaster preparedness reduces costs over the long run. And it may also reduce business interruption costs by as much as 20%. Despite these facts, we are a long way from having an effective earthquake alert system in this state that could provide up to 3 minutes of warning before we felt the shock; and that could also be used to stop trains and elevators, and alert schools so that children could drop, cover and hold.
In our seminar the previous week, I had talked about neuroscientist Tali Sharot's book, The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. For those of you who might be curious, I've included a link to her TED talk.
How does this optimism bias play into disaster preparedness at the personal level? You have only to listen to some of your under-prepared friends and neighbors -- "It will never happen in my lifetime" and/or "I know it's going to happen but I have plenty of time to put my emergency kit and plan together." Sharot calls this underestimating negative events....
When disaster – or a crises – strikes, organizations must be able to refer to a plan to help guide them through the tasks they need to consider executing to respond, restore and recover, systems and operations. All to often when a BCM / DR plan is pulled off the shelf or printed from a file, one ends up with a document that is huge in nature and breadth though rather slim and small in usable content.
This is because many organization put everything they can think of into their BCM/DR plans, which more times that naught, overshadows the actual content needed to be followed; the stuff that provides the detail on what to do. A BCM / DR plan should be action oriented not full of irrelevant information; irrelevant at the time of disaster, not irrelevant to the overall program.
I tend to follow a specific rule of thumb that says if there aren’t action items listed by Page 5, then it’s not an action oriented plan. It might address audit concerns, legal arguments and executive expectations but for the user – the one executing activities – it doesn’t address what they need and doesn’t provide it in a clear and concise manner....
To most people a crisis is bad and for the most part, they’d probably be right. However, an organization can do good things when they are hit with a crisis; some may even say there is an opportunity. The situation itself might be bad enough but it it’s not being managed correctly or communications aren’t approached in a positive way, the crisis can be compounded because the media and the public will think there are more things being hidden by the organization.
If it seems that an organization isn’t prepared – through its communications and response actions – the media and public may start to go ‘hunting’ for more information and uncover other details of the organization that the organization may not want released. Not that they are bad examples on their own but compounded with the existing crisis they will seem larger and could create another crisis or even escalate the existing one. The organization will then be fighting more than one crisis on its hands.
Below are some tips for how to communicate during a crisis; some do’s and don’ts and tips for ensuring good communications when speaking to the media and the general public.
1. Lawyers Aren’t the Face of the Organization – This is one of the biggest mistakes organizations make when communicating with the media and public; they let their lawyers do the talking. Lawyers are good at what they do don’t get me wrong, they just aren’t the ‘face’ of the organization. Often they will speak in terms that the public either don’t understand or don’t want to hear. The public wants to hear what the situation is and what the organization is going to do about the crisis, not the legalities it’s taking to find blame (which is what the lawyers will be trying to do to wither minimize or remove the burden off the shoulders of the organization).
2. Apologize and Show You Care – Be sincere and offer apologies. Don’t say you’re sorry and continue with a ‘but’ statement, as it just nullifies the apology and the public and media will know you really aren’t showing care of the parties involved or impacted by the crisis. It shows you’re trying to defend the organization rather than helping those impacted – or possibly injured – as a result of the situation. Apologizing with sincerity can soften the anger towards the organization and actually help bring people towards the organization by offering assistance. Apologizing also shows that the main concern of the organization is people, not money or shareholders, but people impacted by the situation....
It's time to celebrate - in 2014 at DRJ Spring World we're celebrating our 50th conference!! DRJ Spring World 2014 promises to be our best yet and you can be confident that we're looking forward to learning, growing and celebrating with you.
While it might seem early to start thinking about your 2014 conference plans - we couldn't disagree more. Now is the best time to get started with mapping out and deciding on your education, networking and learning opportunities for 2014.
Book your calendars for Orlando from March 30 to April 2. (And most of all, register before January 29 to take advantage of our early-bird pricing packages.)...
Nearly two weeks ago at 8:48 a.m. an OC Transpo bus collided with a Via Rail Train in the city of Ottawa, Ontario. Six people were killed and over thirty people were injured. These are the basic facts of this terrible collision. It will take months for Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigators to understand (as best they can) what might have caused the collision.
I live in Ottawa. This accident occurred a mere 1 mile from my house. I used to take a bus to work that crossed that very same level train crossing. It is so very hard to understand what happened and how this could have occurred. As can be expected, there was lots of speculation on what could have caused the crash - but the reality is we won't know anything for a very long time.
It seemed that myself and so many others learned of this crash before the local media... Yes, this is the age of Social Media after all. I received a Skype chat message just minutes after the crash that included a rather graphic photo of the bus. I quickly scoured Twitter trying to find out more - and then I went to the CBC.ca website (our national broadcaster) - but it took time for this website to be updated with any details about the collision. But the Twitter accounts for local Ottawa CBC reporters were beginning to become active and report news of the crash....
Data protection is important in today’s world, but at times people forget the simple steps that need to be taken to secure access to that data. As an afterthought, securing your data should be taken seriously. Below you will find six ways to secure your data and data protection solution.
Restrict access to clients
It may seem elementary, but securing the clients with a username and password is the first line of defense against hackers or people accessing your data who should not be. Adding a password to each laptop, server and workstation is not only important, but is also paramount when trying to secure your environment. There are different levels of passwords, and now systems even let you use patterns to secure access to clients.
Restrict access to the backup/archive client
In most data protection solutions there are also different levels of access. A client usually only has access to its own data. When installed, the data protection solution needs to be accessible only to the correct users with the correct credentials. In other words, if you sign-in to the system with different credentials, then the data protection application should not be available (or limited)....
Time flies when you're having fun and most of all - extremely busy!! Yes, it is that time - DRJ Fall World time. In less than a week, we'll be at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront getting ready to host and welcome you to DRJ Fall World.
To help you get the latest information on DRJ Fall World and to make sure you don't miss out on all the great sessions and activities planned for you in San Diego, take a look at these links:
- DRJ Fall World Schedule
- Hilton San Diego Bayfront
- Exhibitor Guide
- Baja Blue Hospitality Night
- Download the DRJ Fall World App
- DRJ Fall World Blog
- Pre and Post Conference Courses
As you will read, there is so much happening at DRJ Fall World - make sure you've got your schedule set and of course be sure to leave some room in your day for catching up with colleagues and visiting the exhibitor hall....
The very nature of Disaster recovery is kind of a morbid but necessary subject to talk about due to the nature of what it is. A crash kit is the box you will use in a true DR and will save your business from possible extinction or at the minimum weeks of lost revenue. The keyword here being DISASTER, imagine all your business falls into a sink hole, goes up in flames, torn away in tornado, terrorist attack, unstoppable computer worm, flash flood or any numerous type of natural disasters that leave you vulnerable and worse unrecoverable. Disaster recovery and business continuity planning provides a framework of interim measures to recover IT services following an emergency or system disruption.
With school back in session, now is the perfect time to address the issues facing those responsible for data protection in educational facilities. IT managers in educational institutions can drive up the cost of storage unnecessarily by treating all data the same and storing it all on the same media. Let’s face the fact; a child’s art is not as important as the transcript database or even the email database. So why are you using the same policy for both?
When looking for a data protection solution, find one that allows you to use policies to treat data differently. You need to treat data that is important as tier one data that gets backed up often and fast. Perhaps it stays on disk for fast restore....
In 2005, citizens of Southern Alberta were deeply impacted by what Environment Canada named the "top weather event of the year"... And yes, we're talking about heavy flooding that resulted in 14 municipalities declaring a state of emergency. Residents of Canmore, High River and Calgary were evacuated...
Sounds kind of similar doesn't it to the experiences of Southern Alberta citizens this past summer... In mid-June, the province and in particular the communities of Calgary, High River and Canmore were hit once again with severe flooding. Flooding that resulted in the closure of downtown Calgary, emergency evacuations of people from their homes, closure of businesses, deaths, and the complete loss of homes and businesses.
Now 60 days or so since the flooding hit Alberta, the province, communities and people are still struggling to pick up the pieces and get back to a normal life. Through out this ordeal there have been news reports and stories of tremendous community spirit - of people coming together to help one another in the clean-up efforts and of people who were not impacted by the floods opening their homes to those who were....
President Obama made the proclamation in 2012 that September is “National Preparedness Month.” What does that mean to you? As an IT professional, it means now is the ideal time to come up with a plan for your IT environment.
We all talk about it, but do you really have a plan that will save your data? Do you really have a plan that will get you and your company back to work in a reasonable amount of time?
Here is the proclamation in its entirety:...
In professional sports today, the coach always has a “plan B.” In the NFL, those are called backup quarterbacks. There is even a backup to the backup. In football, however, they know and understand that a player can get hurt on any play. They might not know how or when, but they know it’s coming.
The world of data protection is a little different. Most people think that a disaster will never happen to them. They think they will never have a fire or flood. While that may could be true, you really can’t afford to take that risk....
September is National Preparedness Month! Here are the "official" toolkits provided by FEMA-
The National Preparedness Month (NPM) 2013 Toolkit includes suggestions for activities and events that state, local, tribal and territorial governments, business, non-governmental organizations, and community organizations could sponsor to promote NPM.
From the Centers for Disease Control’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response
There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency....
Can you believe it is the middle of August? Not only does this time of the year signal the winding down of summer (sorry!) it also means it is time to really start thinking about your September plans.
For us here at DRJ, September is all about DRJ Fall World. This year DRJ Fall World runs from September 22 - 25 in San Diego, California. If you've been following our posts about DRJ Fall World, you'll have read about the outstanding learning and networking sessions we have for you this year.
As always, we want to make sure you get all the opportunities you need to push the boundaries on your BC and DR learning - this is why the Sunday Solution Track is an excellent option....
This blog written in honor of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who and YouTube’s Geek Week.
If you can’t travel back in time, you better know you can recover your data.
In BBC America's series "Doctor Who," the Doctor has the ability to travel through time in space in a device called the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space). He simply adjusts the Timey-Wimey knobs and buttons and can go anywhere at any time....