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Volume 30, Issue 4

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DRJ | The premiere resource for business continuity and disaster recovery

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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10 rookie mistakes when building a sustainable resilience program

Whether you are starting a program ‘from scratch’ or seeking to re-energize a program that may have lost some of its original focus, there are a few common pitfalls you should be aware of and seek to avoid. The goal is to create a successful business continuity management program that is objective, consistent & repeatable.

Your piece of the ‘resilience program’ may include one, several, or all of the following disciplines: IT disaster recovery, business continuity, emergency management, crisis management, site or operations risk management, and possibly other related activities.


1. We bought a tool – we’re ready to launch!

It is so tempting to think that all we need is “the right tool” and all will be fine. Our plan owners will adopt it and the program will move forward and be sustained over years. If only it were that simple.

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How-to get executive buy-in for your business continuity program

Let’s face it. Organizational resilience, business continuity & disaster recovery program management requires buy-in from the entire organization, from the top down, across all departments & across external service partners & providers. Everyone needs to understand how they fit into organizational operations during normal day-to-day operations & also during a disruptive event. Without buy-in, even the best laid resilience plan won’t work.

Ok. So now how do you get buy-in? I suggest these five for building executive buy-in of your organizational resilience management program:

  • Step 1: Define Organizational Resilience specific to your industry/organization
  • Step 2:  Determine a baseline
  • Step 3:  Play by the rules! (Know your regulations)
  • Step 4:  Conduct a business impact analysis
  • Step 5:  Money talks! Quanify the financial impact

Step 1: Define Organizational Resilience or Business Continuity specific to your organization or industry.

Why? Every organization has unique needs & priorities that vary based on the industry, physical location, reliance on resources such as data & supplies or other aspect.  For example, a hospital has an immediate focus on their customers (patients) which a manufacturing company clearly doesn’t need to consider. Just as a manufacturing company may need to take a look at supply chain management more aggressively than a consulting organization does. 

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Resilience for NoSQL - Meet Datos IO

The growth of Cloud, social, and mobile technology is driving increased use of NoSQL databases like Apache Cassandra, mongoDB, Amazon DynamoDB and Google Bigtable. A recent study by ESG revealed that 56% of companies have NoSQL databases in production or deployed as part of a pilot/proof of concept. A similar study by Couchbase revealed that 90% of companies consider NoSQL important or critical to their business. Once the province of Internet innovators like Google, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, the use of NoSQL databases is now widespread across every major industry. Modern applications create new demands that developers and DBAs must address such as:

  • Huge volumes of rapidly changing data including semi-structured, unstructured and polymorphic data.

  • Applications are now delivered as services that must be always on, accessible from mobile devices and scaled globally to millions of users.

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Business continuity and return on investment

One of the best ways to attain senior management buy-in, for any project, is a return on investment (ROI) analysis. The same is true for any business continuity management program implementation. Just one problem. With the exception of financial institutions, it is very difficult to show ROI in financial terms (which executives like). With financial institutions, you can come up with a formula for lost interest on loans over time, loss of fees over time and loss of new business over time. Most other companies don’t have such hard and fast methods to determine financial loss. Sometimes, it comes down to ‘best guesstimates’. Picture managers looking towards the heavens as they try to compute unknown numbers, “Let’s see... there’s the cost of temporary workers (how many? I don’t know), potential overtime hours (how many? I don’t know), the cost of vendors picking up our processes (the Business Impact Analysis can help – but the vendors want to make a profit too), cost of Alternate Work Space (how long are we going to be there?), are there any penalties we have to account for, etc. etc. etc.” Sometimes, you just can’t put a dollar figure to it.

A former colleague once said to me, “business continuity requires you to think outside the box, because the box has been blown away.” Because so much of what we do seems to be art, as opposed to cut and dry mathematics, looking at ROI strictly in the financial sense won’t give a complete picture. As Robin Williams' character – Mr. Keaton – said in ‘Dead Poets Society’, "This isn't like laying pipe." Yes, we have standards and processes, tried and true. However, there are just too many unknowables to give a dollar figure saved (or made) for a BCM program. Sure, we can probably do it based on a Business Unit / Critical Process basis. But for an overall program? In some instances, there can be a return on investment but I would think it would be virtually impossible to calculate. As noted earlier, I think it will usually come down to a best guesstimate.

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