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Another big storm is bearing down on the East Coast  --  so I thought I would post a link to FEMA's winter weather tips.
The building blocks of the tips for winter weather apply to those of us in other parts of the country as well.
If you keep a stash of extra batteries on hand, you're also likely to have created a family emergency plan and even perhaps to have 5-7 days of emergency food, medicine and other supplies on hand.    If you haven't found the time to take care of those items yet, pick a day this next week and get after it!  Once you've established the basics, it's a simple matter to check out the supplies once a year, replace anything that might have expired, and perhaps add a few more items to your stash labeled for emergencies.
Meanwhile, our thoughts go out to those on the East Coast, who've already gone through this once this month.

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By Greg Marbais, Avalution Consulting
Originally posted on Avalution Consulting’s Blog

Many organizations struggle to define the best method to meet business expectations regarding information technology (IT) recovery. ISO 27031 provides guidance to business continuity and IT disaster recovery professionals on how to plan for IT continuity and recovery as part of a more comprehensive business continuity management system (BCMS). The standard helps IT personnel identify the requirements for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and implement strategies to reduce the risk of disruption, as well as recognize, respond to and recover from a disruption to ICT.

ISO 27031 introduces a management systems approach to address ICT in support of a broader business continuity management system, as described in ISO 22301. ISO 27031 describes a management system for ICT readiness for business continuity (IRBC). An IRBC is a management system focused on IT disaster recovery. IRBC uses the same Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model as the business continuity management system described in ISO 22301. The objective of IRBC is to implement strategies that will reduce the risk of disruption to ICT services as well as respond to and recover from a disruption. Business continuity and IT professionals will find the use of the PDCA model very familiar but with necessary changes to support recoverability of ICT based on business requirements and expectations.


Our son was home from The University at Albany for two weeks in December to celebrate the holidays with us.

 Now he's back in school experiencing this kind of weather.

Albany, N.Y. snow shoveler    

And it's bitterly cold, with the wind expected to come up as well.  For him and for others on the East Coast, I thought I would repeat some old advice on how to handle cold weather.

1.  Stay indoors if possible.

2.  If you do go out, expect delays with all forms of transportation -- assuming there is transportation available.

3.  Dress with extra layers if you are outdoors -- here's where a winter hat and gloves, along with your boots come in quite handy.

4.  Double check your emergency kit to be sure it has everything you need if the power goes out. 

5.  Keep all your electronic devices charged.

6. Set alerts to local emergency management officials so you have the most up to date information on conditions and when the weather will change. You'll also be able to find locations of warming centers or emergency shelters if you need them.

7.  Especially if kids are out of school, ensure that you've a supply of board games and books, for children as well as adults.

8.  Finally, "the best way out is always through."  I believe it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said that many years ago, probably in the midst of a howling snowstorm, so cheer up.  The end will soon be in sight, and you'll be even more determined to be prepared the next time Mother Nature has her way with you.

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Yes, it's true, we're in the third week of January... As usual time is racing along and this means that it won't be long until the best in the industry are meeting at DRJ Spring World in Orlando, Florida. Maybe you've been thinking about attending DRJ Spring World or you just need to give your boss an extra nudge to get the approval - well, this post should help (actually there a lot of posts about DRJ Spring World that will help!).

In this week's post we take a closer look at the break-out tracks offered on Monday and Tuesday and at the Solutions Track offered on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday Solutions Track

Tagged in: DRJ Spring World

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Happy New Year! We're only a few days into 2014 but so far it has been a very interesting year - particularly when it comes to the weather.... If you're in Canada or on the East Coast, you're likely bundled up under layers of blankets and are driving rather cautiously. The winter weather hits us every year, and it seems like each year we're all a bit shocked with the volume of snow and the freezer-like temperatures...

So what does this cold weather talk have to do with DRJ Spring World? Well, perhaps spending some time planning what you'll be doing from March 30-April 2 will make the shovelling a bit easier to take... Forget about the cold weather and think about how nice it will be to be networking with colleagues in the warm weather of Orlando, Florida...

Exactly, DRJ Spring World 2014 is your break from the cold and the routine. Our 50th conference is a chance for you to meet with industry experts, to learn from the best in the DR/BC field and to develop your professional expertise.

Tagged in: DRJ Spring World

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Scale up or out?        

At STORServer, we provide only the best of the best. One thing I’m regularly asked is when is Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) better than CommVault and vice versa? While each has its own advantages, the feature I’m most often questioned about is scaling.

Both products scale well but they do it in different ways. 

Scale up

Scale up is the practice of using a single server or system of data protection. In the case of STORServer, our appliance powered by TSM does exactly that. TSM uses a scale up model and can handle petabytes and thousands of clients to the same server. To add capacity, users just increase disk shelves or tape systems, and the server can utilize it with an unlimited potential for growth.


By Andy Osborne, Consultancy Director at Acumen

Once upon a time there was a senior manager called Rudolph who, on top of his other responsibilities, was put in charge of the business continuity project. Rudolph was a busy chap with a lot on his plate – he didn’t have time for detail. And anyway, disasters never happen do they? Well, only to other people. 

So rather than doing any proper analysis he leapt straight into writing a plan. In fairness, he also thought about the business continuity strategy -  for about five minutes. Then he took out the cheapest contract he could find for some ship-in IT equipment and wrote some lovely looking plans based on a number of un-validated (and, as it happens, invalid) assumptions. It didn’t take him long at all really. 


If you’re interested in business continuity, here’s a new book that might attract your attention: Becoming Resilient: The Definitive Guide to ISO 22301 Implementation. So, if you are looking for some tips on how to implement this standard, here’s a brief overview of my book.  

Main focus of the book

My main goal for this book was to provide practical step-by-step guidelines for implementing ISO 22301 – on one hand, I knew I needed to cover all the in-depth details of such complex implementation, but on the other hand I wanted to avoid using specialized language that no one understands.


By Stacy Gardner, Avalution Consulting
Originally posted on Avalution Consulting’s Blog

Most organizations that have experienced a crisis would likely agree that advance planning is critical to enabling an effective response. When a disaster impacts several sites simultaneously, it makes coordination even more chaotic, so the importance of a defined structure increases. Organizations with multiple facilities or sites, especially those within “at-risk” regions, should take proactive steps to prepare their organization for events that require a widespread and coordinated response. Specifically, these preparedness steps include enabling coordination, communication, and adherence to organizational policies in advance of a disaster to ensure all sites implement appropriate response procedures. This article summarizes best practices that help enable sites to work together and execute common, approved response strategies to minimize impact and reduce confusion.

Define Authorities and Expectations
In organizations with centralized policies effective across several sites or facilities, it is important to define specific response authorities and performance expectations within human resources or business continuity policies. Specific policy changes include defining which individuals have authority to close a site as well as closure critieria, such as a public authority emergency declaration. Organizations should define criteria by which individual site leaders can act independently, such as in situations where employees are at risk for an immediate threat, and when additional approval and oversight is necessary from an executive leadership team, such as in advance-warning events.


Effectively convincing senior management of the need for detailed, programmatic business continuity, even in this day and age, continues to be a major headache for too many BC professionals.  Even in organizations where a dedicated position – or not as good but often sufficient part-time position – has been designated for the purpose, communicating the need for a detailed, rehearsed and constantly improving disaster backup plan is often difficult at best.

So here’s an easy way: tell them to give up their car insurance.

None of us needs car insurance.  Not really.  Leaving aside varying state requirements that drivers maintain liability insurance, if you’re reading this the chances are that you don’t really need auto insurance. At least not to replace your car. Think about it.  If, on the way to lunch tomorrow, you had a wreck and your car was totaled, even if you didn’t have auto insurance the chances are excellent that you’d have a new car by tomorrow night.  Sure, it would be a hassle and you might not be able to get the exact car you want but the fact is that you could get a new car without insurance and probably very quickly if you needed to.  And even if you couldn’t, there are a number of readily available transportation options that you could easily and immediately adapt to.


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On this snowy day (in most parts of Canada and the United States), it is helpful to look forward to spring and warmer less snowy days... In particular, lets take a closer look at DRJ Spring World taking place in Orlando, Florida from March 30-April 2. 

As you likely know, networking is an integral part of business and there is no better place to do it than at DRJ Spring World. Our upcoming conference provides lots of opportunities for you to meet experts in disaster recovery and business continuity and to connect with those who can help you get ahead:

  • Exhibition Hall: discover new products, mingle with vendors and attend interactive product demonstrations. 
  • Welcome Reception: this first event of DRJ Spring World held on Sunday evening is a fun and relaxed way to meet other conference attendees and to enjoy some drinks and snacks.
  • Monday Night Hospitality: gold sponsor XMatters is hosting this event on Monday evening. This is a great way to end the first full day of the conference and make lasting network contacts. 
  • Networking Meals: all attendees are treated to six full meals during our conference at no extra cost. Our networking tables make it a great way to interact with peers in your field or related industries.

Along with networking, learning from your peers and industry experts is vital in staying up-to-date with latest trends, standards and approaches to disaster recovery and business continuity. We've got a full conference agenda for you that works for all experience levels and areas of interest.

Tagged in: DRJ Spring World

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Thanksgiving is the day we celebrate the day when Native Americans sat down with Pilgrims and ate together.  For some of us, it's a better holiday than all the others combined because we reflect upon just how much we have to be thankful for.

Team Rubicon in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

But there's no reason we can't recognize and celebrate unselfish work every day.  Or any day.  Those of you who read me on Facebook may know how much I admire the veterans' volunteer organization called Team Rubicon and the work that these volunteers do during disasters.  They were early into both Haiti (above) and into  both the Philippines (below) and into the devastation in Washington, Illinois. 

   Team Rubicon also sent teams  to help with Hurricane Sandy's aftereffects. If you'd like to learn more about their efforts or support their work, here's their story.


It’s a slow week in the U.S., so slow that you’re probably not even reading this because you’re busy getting ready for the holiday.  Either that or you’re trying to make several work-related deadlines before the long holiday weekend and really don’t have time to read this.


Hang on . . . present-what-ism?  Is that even a word?  Turns out it is, and while discussing absenteeism and presenteeism can be about as exciting watching paint dry, the fact is that it has a substantial impact on payroll.  There are two similar definitions for presenteeism: the mainstream definition – when employees show up to work despite the fact that they’re sick and could potentially infect othersand the business continuity definition which is when healthy employees show up after a disaster but are so distracted by the process of getting their personal lives back in order that their onsite productivity takes a dive. 


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We’re pretty excited about our 50th conference, so you’ll have to to bear with us as we continue to boast about the top-notch speakers, sessions, and workshops that we’ve got planned for DRJ Spring World.

With the theme of “Ensuring Resiliency in a Risky World”, you’re going to want to make sure you’re in Orlando, Florida from March 30 - April 2.

Here's a closer look at what you’ll be learning and the people you’ll be meeting at our 50th conference, make sure you download the conference agenda and review these sessions, workshops, and break-out tracks designed specifically to meet your business continuity and disaster recovery needs.

Tagged in: DRJ Spring World

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STORServer takes it to a whole new level

What happens when you combine the best hardware in the industry and the industry leading data protection software in the industry?  Simple, you get the best data protection solution in the world. 


CommVault has been an industry leader for years and has lead the Gartner Magic Quadrant over the likes of IBM, EMC and Symantec. Combine that with the easy to use, easy to understand data protection product they have developed makes them a logical choice for customers looking to manager the protection of their data.


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By Andy Osborne, Acumen.    
Originally posted on Oz's Business Continuity Blog

Following the recent departure of number one son to Manchester (see “University challenge”), on Sunday afternoon I decided to address a small issue that's been troubling me for a while. For several years, in fact. When I say troubling, I mean causing my blood to simmer gently on a pretty much permanent basis, and to boil over about once a week, often punctuated by the phrase "...and tidy your @*~%#& bedroom!"

I've often wondered whether life would have been easier if we'd had girls instead of boys. I imagine that they're probably altogether more wholesome and helpful creatures who do things like washing up (and just general washing); and being pleasant and considerate to their wonderful parents; and not trashing the whole house; and keeping their @*~%#& rooms tidy. I'll never know though, because we were blessed (at least I think that's the right word) with two boys. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.


By Tony Shen, OpsCentre
Originally posted on OpsCentre's Blog

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are becoming a trending and serious issue when it comes to Cyber Security across many industries in particular the banking and financial sectors.

In a DDoS attack Botnets (usually referred to as a “Zombie army”) bombards a server or a network with thousands of system requests sent from infected computers and internet connections causing network traffic to become overloaded and unavailable. So how do we prevent this from happening? Below are five strategies that can be used to prevent a DDoS.


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Mark these dates on your calendar: March 30 - April 2, 2014 and make a note that you’ll be in Orlando, Florida for Spring World 2014.

It might seem a bit early to start planning your 2014 education, networking and learning opportunities, but we really don’t want you to miss out on attending Spring World 2014. We’ve got a great agenda of classes, workshops, sessions - all led by the leaders in the disaster recovery and business continuity space. 

To help you start planning your Spring World 2014 experience, each week we’ll highlight different sessions, workshops, events and presenters.

Tagged in: DRJ Spring World

By Jacque Rupert, Avalution Consulting
Originally posted on Avalution Consulting’s Blog

A Business Continuity Scoping Approach That Contributes to Better Management Engagement and Prioritization of Risk Management Efforts

One of the most common questions business continuity professionals ask is how to keep management involved in the ongoing preparedness effort and prioritize the implementation of business continuity strategies with limited resources. Business continuity professionals strive to have engaged, interested management teams, but often struggle to achieve this goal. Whether management disinterest has been present from the beginning of the preparedness effort, or whether interest has waned over time, there is one key strategy that Avalution strongly suggests organizations implement in order to achieve greater levels of both management involvement and input regarding business continuity planning: scoping and planning based on the recovery of products and services.