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Volume 30, Issue 2

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DRJ | The premiere resource for business continuity and disaster recovery

Using the Results of Your BIA to Develop Disaster Recovery Requirements

By Michael Bratton, Avalution Consulting
Originally posted on Avalution Consulting’s Business Continuity Blog

So you’ve just completed your business impact analysis (BIA) – identifying recovery time objectives for a variety of processes and functions throughout your organization and captured the names of applications and systems that business owners state they just can’t live without. In addition, the IT department heard you were conducting a BIA and mentioned on a few different occasions that they were excited to see what the final results would be to help with their planning. You’ve taken all the applications and their reported recovery time and recovery point objectives and crammed them into a very lengthy spreadsheet, and then the inevitable happens… you realize that everything you have collected is a huge mess.

But, don’t worry, this is a common issue! This perspective will explore the process of taking that seemingly disorganized pile of data and organizing it into something that can be utilized by IT disaster recovery planners to help meet continuity goals. So, let’s get started!

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How do you count the costs?

Counting the cost is the theme for BC Awareness Week this year. How do you do it?

Do you think there are benefits, or is BC just a cost centre?

Do you have an opinion on the subject?

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Bankers As Buyers: 2014 Tech Trends for Disaster Recovery

Originally posted on Rentsys Recovery Services' blog

Every year the William Mills Agency releases a Bankers As Buyers report containing essential information and statistics about the technology trends that are popular in the U.S. financial services industry.

In this year's report, we found three key takeaways that your firm should keep in mind as you update your 2014 disaster recovery (DR) plan.

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DRJ Spring World News: In Case You Missed It

We've been writing a lot lately about DRJ Spring World and it's easy to lose track of the details about our leading business continuity conference. So in this week's post, we're highlighting some of the DRJ Spring World features that we're pretty excited about.

Be sure to click on the links to get the full details on DRJ Spring World - we look forward to seeing you in a little over a month!

Registration Discount

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Ski boots and celery

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

I love skiing. It’s right up there on my list of top ten favourite things (I’ll keep the other nine and their relative positions to myself for now, on the grounds that divulging them may incriminate me).

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DRJ Spring World Pre-/Post-Conference Courses

Are you looking to maximize your travel and learning budget? Are you trying to find extra ways to get some extra knowledge and advice from industry experts? Then look no further than the pre- and post-conference courses offered at DRJ Spring World 2014.

A couple of weeks ago we highlighted the BCI post-conference courses and in this post we'll take a closer look at our other additional learning opportunities. (Hint: you may want to send your colleagues and boss the link to this blog post so they can read about the great learning opportunities available...)

Pre-Conference Courses

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Cybersecurity absent during the State of the Union Address

I was disappointed that there was only a passing mention to cybersecurity at the recent State of the Union Address. As a matter of fact if you took a bite of your popcorn at the wrong time you missed it.

 I realize the president's address was focused mainly on the economy, but the biggest threat to our economy today is the lack of preparedness to identify, mitigate, detect and ward off a major cybersecurity attack.

 

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DRJ Spring World and The BCI

Whether you’re new to business continuity, a seasoned expert or someone looking to increase their knowledge - you can definitely benefit from the DRJ Spring World pre- and post-conference courses.

 

These courses are taught by industry experts from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and are designed to offer additional learning opportunities that build on what you will learn or have learned at DRJ Spring World

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In data recovery, why you need a plan “B” and to think of employees as family

In data recovery, why you need a plan “B” and to think of employees as family

Throughout the past week, I’ve spent a lot of time reading Disaster Recovery Journal. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is an entire culture centralized on recovering data in the case of emergency. There seems to be one very important thing missing in this culture…you.

Let’s say you are responsible for setting up the recovery plan for your company, and it’s your job to plan for the worse. You have a STORServer Backup Appliance protecting your environment, so you’re confident your data is safe and stored offsite in a vault.

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Winter Weather Tips from FEMA

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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Using ISO 27031 to Guide IT Disaster Recovery Alignment with ISO 22301

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.

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Mother Nature Shows Us Once Again Who Is In Charge

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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DRJ Spring World Up Close

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

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A Look At DRJ Spring World

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.

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Scale up or out?

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.

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Rudolph the red-faced business continuity manager (a Christmas tale – sort of!)

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. 

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Book review – Becoming Resilient: The Definitive Guide to ISO 22301 Implementation

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.

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Multi-Site Disaster Response and Coordination Best Practices

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.

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“Get Rid of Your Car Insurance!” Effectively Convincing the C-Suite of the Importance of Structured Business Continuity

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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Looking At DRJ Spring World

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.

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