Spring World 2017

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Volume 29, Issue 5

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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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DRJ Fall World Pre-Conference Course News

We have some important news to tell you - our general sessions, breakout tracks and pre- and post-conference courses are filling up…. So this means you need to act fast and register so you can still get your first choices. 

 

DRJ Fall World 2016 features three days of general sessions and breakout tracks along with pre- and post-conference courses. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at our pre-conference course offerings.

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BCP on a Budget a Two-Part Series

BCP on a Budget - Part I

You know you need a Business Continuity Plan but, like so many organizations, there’s no extra cash lying around to invest in the process. Sound familiar? In this two-part series, we provide you with a dozen tips and tricks to get started on your plan without breaking the bank.

  1. Talk to your insurance provider. Business continuity plans demonstrate that an organization is aware of risk and willing to mitigate it. Depending on your insurance provider, you may be able to negotiate a discount on your premiums if you present them with a copy of your plan.
  2. Check other budgets for extra cash. Business continuity impacts every aspect of a business so it can be argued that a little bit of budget from every department should go toward the development and maintenance of the plan. If you can negotiate a small slice from a number of budgets, you may find yourself with just enough to get your planning process off the ground.
  3. Talk to your sales department. Are customers asking for you to have a business continuity plan? This is becoming a common requirement and you may be losing business as a result. Check with your sales department to see if they’ve lost deals as a result of not having a plan to offer. Winning those deals may be enough to fund the planning process.
  4. Consider a software tool.Time is money and you can save time by creating and managing your plan in a software tool. KingsBridge Shield offers hundreds of pages of customizable templates and centralized databases to make your plan quick to write and easy to maintain.
  5. Negotiate payment plans with your vendor. Don’t have the cash upfront to pay for software? Negotiate monthly payment plans to reduce the impact on your cash flow. This can work for consulting work too. Sometimes investing a small amount in a few experts can save you a large amount time, and thus money, down the road.
  6. Leverage the near misses. If you already have a plan, use that weekend flood or small storage room fire as opportunities to review how your plan might have stood up if the small incident had been something bigger. If you don’t already have a plan, these near misses are great conversation starters. Capturing the ideas that are generated can be just what you need to start pulling a plan together.

Keep an eye out BCP on a Budget Part II for six more great tips to overcome a tight budget and get your plan started.

Need software to help manage your business continuity plan or maybe you need some help getting your plan written or exercised? We can help. Find out more at www.disasterrecovery.com.

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Of Course You Understand the Cloud

You understand what Cloud Computing is, right? You’re up-to-date on all the latest business trends. You could explain the basic categories to your boss, right? Well, here’s a pop quiz:

What’s the difference between a Public and Private Cloud?

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Beware the Creeping Horde in Your Data Center

Not to be overly dramatic, but while your spinning disk drives may not be dead, they’re not exactly alive either.  They are slow, always-hungry (for space, power, and cooling), and their tendency to moan, groan, and bite you at inconvenient times is downright bothersome. I just lost my third hard-disk drive (HDD) this year and it’s making me a bit salty.

Solid-state drives (SSDs) may not quite be plentiful enough to rid the world entirely of this necrotic menace, but they offer more than enough benefit for you to enlist them in the eternal quest to stay ahead of the pack:  

Speed:  No one will argue that the speed is better (at least I hope not).  Benching at an average of 900% faster, this is a no-brainer – pun intended.  No one actually says, “I will take HDD because I want my application to be slower.”  Oracle, for example, runs just over 9 times faster on SSD. 

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DRJ Fall World 2016 Highlights

We’re gearing up for a fantastic 55th conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The entire DRJ team is busy behind-the-scenes making sure everything on our “to do” lists is done and that we’re ready for you from September 18 - 21.

 

To help you get prepared for DRJ Fall World 2016, we thought it would be useful to highlight sessions, breakout tracks, workshops and pre-/post-conference courses. We appreciate that the conference agenda is packed with information and it can be easy to miss reading about all of the offerings available. 

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6 levels of business continuity maturity: Your BCM program is so mature (or not)!


How mature is your organization when it comes to business continuity & organizational resilience? Does your Business Continuity Management (BCM) program crawl, walk or run? From self-governed to synergistic, we have identified 6 levels of BCM maturity that most companies fall into. What is your organization’s level? Here is our breakdown:


Levels 1-3 represent organizations that have not yet completed the necessary program basics needed to launch a sustainable enterprise Business Continuity Management (BCM) program.

Level 1 - Self-Governed: It’s every man (or woman) for him/herself!

Individual business units and departments are "on their own" to organize, implement, and self-govern their own business continuity or disaster recovery efforts. The state-of-preparedness for disruptive events is low across the organizational enterprise. The organization or individual departments reacts to disruptive events when they occur. There is no real planning involved: business continuity recovery if reactive vs. proactive.

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Resiliency Revisited

News travel fast. 

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

All it took was this one tweet from Justine Sacco, senior director of corporate communications at IAC to her then 170 Twitter followers. Within a matter of minutes, while she was asleep in the plane, Justine became the No.1 worldwide trend on Twitter – not for a good reason as you can imagine.

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Document Core Processes (aka "What's that post-it?")

I walked into the hotel lobby at a client site a few weeks ago to get some tea and review my notes for the day’s meetings.  There was a businessman sitting at a table near the coffee stand, and he was clearly in the middle of an important phone conversation.  From what I could overhear (and he was not being quiet) he was talking with someone in his department (IT) at his head office.  It went something like this:

 

“Ok, so did you check all the hardware connections?”  pause  “No, that wouldn’t help.  You might have to shutdown and reboot.”  exasperated sigh  “Ok, well I’m in a hotel on the West coast so I can’t come in, but I’ll do what I can to walk you through the steps over the phone.”

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10 ways to ensure your business continuity project plan fails

The business continuity (BC) planning process can be a daunting challenge. Project planning can play an important role in keeping the process on track & help in your success in protecting your organization from unplanned events that can disrupt operations.  The goal is to identify the right information & determine a process to keep it current and accurate.  Key elements of a business continuity plan include:

  • risk assessment
  • business impact analysis
  • strategy development
  • plan development
  • communications
  • awareness & training
  • coordination with external services

Of course you want the project plan to be successful, so there are 10 things not to do to be more likely to reach your business continuity planning milestones & goals.

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7 ways to make your disaster recovery plan a disaster

Every organization or business, regardless of revenue or staff size, needs to understand what is truly critical to keep operations going, and how long the business can function without certain elements, components or dependencies. This includes considering how long the business can survive both financial losses and reputational losses due to negative public perception. Obviously, not having a disaster recovery plan is a recipe for disaster, but just having a plan is not enough. Make sure that your disaster plan avoids certain pitfalls that may complicate disaster recovery and make it more of a disaster.

Consider this list of what not to do including:

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Hello from UCG Technologies


 

We are pleased to be a part of the DRJ community and look forward to sharing information and creating mutually beneficial opportunities! This is our first blog post on the DRJ site, so we’ll start with a bit of information about our company. But first…

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CyberSecurity: 6 Hacks to Avoid Getting Hacked


Target, the IRS, Hillary Clinton, Sony, healthcare systems… the list goes on with new stories of cyber security breaches and hacking. A cyber-attack can lead to financial and reputational losses from which it can be difficult to recover.  A cybersecurity breach can  negatively impact your business continuity and force the organization into disaster recovery mode.  Sometimes simple preventive measures can help mitigate risk, before disaster strikes.  Here are 6 hacks you can try to help your organization avoid getting hacked.

  1. Stop insider attacks
  2. “Gone phishing”
  3. Password security
  4. Defend against intrusions at the device level
  5. Avoid band-aid security fixes
  6. Mandatory cybersecurity education

1. Stop insider attacks

Studies estimate that between 40-90% of cyber-attacks originate from inside the organization. This can either be a hack savvy IT professional, a disgruntled employee, or even an accident caused by an uniformed employee.

Hack: Ensure Accountability and Security via Password Policies

Avoid having a universal company passcode to any device, network, application or internet site. Make sure each employee has an individualized login and password to ensure accountability and the give you the power to revoke an individual’s access, without disrupting the rest of the company’s access. Having separate logins also helps you monitor, just who made a change or mistake, regardless of whether it was deliberate or accidental.   Immediately cancel network access and passwords when employees leave the company, to avoid them using passwords to remotely access the network in future.

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Cyber Risk on the Rise

This week I attended an excellent conference on Cyber Security. TakeDownCon run by EC-Council and hosted by the UConn School of Business in Stamford, CT provided great speakers with separate tracks for CISOs and technologists. I highly recommend an EC-Council event if you’re looking to learn more about Cyber Security or obtain certifications.

In 2015 over 169 million personal records were exposed as a result of cyber intrusions; the result of more than 780 publicized breaches across education, healthcare, government and financial sectors. The average cost per stolen record exceeded $150. In the healthcare sector the cost per stolen record was $360. Despite the rising threat posed by foreign governments, hacktivists, and cyber criminals only 38% of global organizations report they are prepared to handle a sophisticated cyber attack.

Here are some key takeaways from the conference:

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New Podcast - Innovations in Data Protection

This month I continue the focus on new innovations in data protection and DR. Give a listen to Data Protection Gumbo; an excellent Podcast series by Demetrius Malbrough. Episode 24 is live with expert insight from Shalabh Goyal and Jeannie Liou from Datos IO. Explore how changes in the world of IT are creating the need for new DR solutions. We discuss new innovations for protecting Cloud applications and how the data protection and DR industry will evolve over the next several years. I welcome your feedback and comments.

Podcast - Innovations in Data Protection

 

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3 Approaches to Build Engagement for Business Continuity Planning

Building engagement is a challenge for almost every organization when it comes to business continuity planning. Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to do the whole plan alone, but we all know that in order to be effective, the organizational resilience plan needs to have input from all parts of the organization.

There are 3 approaches that risk managers and continuity managers consider when trying to build engagement. They are fear, framework, reinforce and support. There are benefits to all, but which approach has the most lasting and productive impact for building enterprise engagement of your business continuity planning process? Here are my thoughts on these 3 approaches. You can decide which works best for your program.

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