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Summer Journal

Volume 30, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

Jon Seals

The Business Continuity Institute

When we're developing our business continuity programmes, do we consider political rows a threat to our organization? Do we consider whether a dispute between countries could filter down and affect us? Political tensions certainly exist worldwide, you only have to look at the relationship between the US and Mexico to understand this, or the tensions that are growing between the UK and the EU as Brexit looms closer.

Qatar has now found itself at the centre of such an issue as many of its neighbouring Gulf States are cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE and Yemen have all turned their backs on Qatar, leaving it in isolation, and Qatari citizens in those countries have been given two weeks to leave.

Qatar is the world's largest suppliers of liquefied natural gas, although exports don't seem to be affected so far. The problem is imports, which Qatar relies on for 80% of its food. With its only land border closed on Saudi's insistence, a backlog of lorries has now been held up and is waiting to be re-routed.

The problem is further exacerbated as many containers destined for Qatar arrive via Dubai where they are transferred to smaller vessels to complete the journey. With a ban all vessels travelling to, or arriving from, Qatar, this is no longer an option.

Added to this, many infrastructure and construction projects in Qatar use consultants from elsewhere in the Middle East, and those consultants are now unable to travel to Qatar to support these projects, meaning delays are inevitable.

Clearly the cause of the diplomatic tension is important, but organizations must think beyond this and consider how it will have an impact on them and their supply chains. While it is unknown how long this situation will last, a similar incident occurred in 2014 and went on for nine months, so it may not end any time soon.

Most people think of Mail-Gard in terms of disaster recovery support. It’s what we’re known for, and intuitively, people understand that during a flood, tornado, or major power outage, a backup partner is necessary to ensure important documents are still delivered to customers to keep your business running without interruption.

But bad weather and Acts of God aren’t always to blame for the times when a company’s in-house print and mail operations may be swamped. Seasonal volume swings or equipment upgrades can leave in-house operations overwhelmed, and they simply can’t keep up. That’s when Mail-Gard’s print outsourcing comes in, and it’s another area where we can be there for you in a time of need.



If you’ve read through our recent post on ISO Business Continuity Standard 22301, you know the components involved in building a high-performing program. Still, it can be a daunting task to meet this complex standard; how can you be sure you have all the angles covered? Where should you even start?

To ensure consistency and completeness as you develop your program, we’ve designed an ISO 22301 checklist. If you can verify that your program has each of the following elements associated with Sections 5-10 of the standard, your company does indeed have the organized and thorough continuity program outlined in ISO 22301. You can also use it as an ISO 22301 audit checklist if your company is preparing to undergo an official certification process. *The starred items are where most companies fall short, in our experience, so pay special attention to your efforts in those areas.

A crucial part of meeting business continuity standards like ISO 22301 is a well-written business recovery plan. Find out the components of a successful plan and get sample checklists in this free guide.



The Business Continuity Institute

By secretlondon123 (Flickr: polling station) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It is election day in the UK tomorrow, and a chance to vote for who we want to represent us in Parliament, and ultimately who we want to lead our country into the future. A month ago we could probably have said with some degree certainty who the winner would be and by how much, but now that certainty is gone. The gap has narrowed and we’re not entirely sure what direction the country will take from Friday morning onwards.

There could still be a majority Government for the Conservative Party, or they could lose that majority and seek to form a Coalition Government, or even try to make it work on their own. It is not completely out of the question that the Labour Party could win.

For many countries over the last few decades, the election of a new government has arguably resulted in very little noticeable change. The policies of our leading parties may vary slightly, but it hasn’t usually made a substantial difference to us or our organizations.

Politics is changing though, and the leading parties all over the world are moving further apart on the political spectrum. You only have to look to the US and French Presidential Elections to observe the deep divides that are appearing between political parties and across the population.

The UK is no different. Given the current split between the Conservative and Labour Parties, the outcome could determine whether we will have more years of austerity and the privatisation of public services, or whether we will have increased public spending and nationalisation. It could determine whether we have a soft Brexit, a hard Brexit, or perhaps even no Brexit at all. The impact will not just be felt in the UK, but all across the European Union and perhaps even further afield.

It is this uncertainty that puts business continuity professionals in their element – being able to analyse what the possible outcomes could be, what impact they could have on the organization and what mechanisms could be put in place to prevent them from becoming an issue.

Whenever an election does occur, whether it is in your organization’s home country, or one it does business with, business continuity professionals should be studying the manifestos of the major parties to consider how much of an impact the different policies could have on their organization.

Will there be more or less regulation? Will there be more or less public spending? Will there be more or less interference from Central Government? Whatever the answer to these questions, our organizations will have to consider the appropriate responses. These considerations should also go beyond the direct impact of the policies, and also consider the unintended consequences, for example, will certain policies result in increased protester activity that could lead to disruption.

We cannot predict the future, and in countries where there are free and democratic elections, there is no way of knowing for certain what the outcome of those elections will be, but we can prepare for it. We can ensure that our organizations are more resilient to the changes that may come about as a result.

If our organizations are to achieve continued growth, then they must be adaptable to change, wherever that change may come from. They must be able to overcome uncertainty, wherever that uncertainty lies. And they must be prepared for the future, whatever it holds.

David Thorp
Executive Director of the Business Continuity Institute

One of the biggest challenges with shifting applications from an on-premises environment into a public cloud is the sheer volume of data that often needs to be moved. The amount of time and effort involved in a cloud migration for many IT organization has been nothing less than daunting.

Veritas Technologies today announced it has significantly simplified those data migration issues with the launch of Veritas CloudMobility, which allows IT organizations to employ software that Veritas originally developed to back up applications to a cloud migration. Alex Sakaguchi, director of global solutions marketing for Veritas, says the difference now is that data migration into the cloud can be executed via a single mouse click.

“It’s based on the same technology we use for disaster recovery,” says Sakaguchi.

Veritas today also announced Veritas CloudPoint, which enables IT organizations to much more aggressively schedule the capturing of snapshots of data residing in multiple public clouds as part of an effort to accelerate recovery time and point objectives.