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Volume 31, Issue 2

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Wednesday, 20 December 2017 22:11

BT2-02 Editorial

Written by  Michael Quam

What are the Top-3 threats to organizations today?

This is a tough question because I think it very much depends on what organization you are in. For me, being part of a fortune 500 tech company, we are always challenged with diversifying our product, increasing incentives for a rapidly changing culture, and protecting our reputation. For me as BCM and CM manager (business continuity and crisis management), I have to build my program to look at these highly qualitative issues and ensure that my program is robust enough to address things like reputation risk/contingency plans and helping executives gain a competitive advantage. For example, have you ever thought about tracking disruptions to competitors and looking for ways for your business to capitalize from another’s disruption rather than just focusing on our BCP? Or, when we do have a disruption, how do I help develop plans that will ensure communication plans that best protect our business during our disruptions. These are the three things I have to think about.


What areas of BC/DR do you think organizations should be investing in to secure their resiliency for the next 3-5 years? (Where should they put their money?)

Coming from a military intelligence background before I joined my company, I always feel like companies aren’t investing in external threat assessments nearly enough. For example: I was at one of our manufacturing sites and I was chatting with them about their surrounding area. They had another MFG plant outside that created all sorts of hazardous chemicals right across the street. They had the city’s airport down the street with the flight path directly over the building, and they had a land bridge to another country down the block that many of their employees came from. These are things we should invest time and money monitoring for disruptions. I want to know what external disturbances can disrupt my site. What about single source suppliers in areas of potential turbulence? What about data centers on earthquake fault lines or in areas prone to power failures? All of these external things we don’t like to track because it would cost money to track them. The other day, while trying to convince others in purchasing one of these monitoring tools, I heard someone say “Wow, that price is nothing if we can get ahead of the competition!” Investing money always makes managers groan. So, we have to show them the bang for the buck.


Would you consider the influx of Millennials with the exiting of baby boomers to be a challenge to the technology changes in the resiliency industry? (i.e.: loss of knowledge Vs incoming training needs)

I don’t know that I’ve seen a challenge in the cross generational shift in the workplace. I don’t see communication gaps between millennials or any other generation. I do see the need for more documentation around things like “tribal knowledge” and “workplace operating procedures”. But, I would attribute this more to our cultural shifts than anything. Our culture is becoming a culture where we don’t retain information anymore because we believe it’s always at our fingertips. The reason I say it’s cultural instead of generational is because I see this in all ages. When I first joined the military 20 years ago, I remember reading and memorizing field manuals so I could spout off phrases at promotion boards and such. Now, I see people just looking it up on their iPhone and such. Each time I want to rollout a BCP program at a site, I push them to learn as much as possible during the BIA so they fully understand their dependencies and timelines for communications. But, instead they want an app on their phone to just tell them what to do during a disruption! I see this in all ages as our cultures shifts.

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