Why Should I Have A Robust Business Continuity Program?

business continuity program

As corporate officers and executives, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our customers and shareholders to ensure that our businesses will withstand any type of disruption—whether it’s a natural disaster, a technical failure, or an interruption like a transportation strike, chemical spill or civil protest. For decades, organizations such as the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII) and the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) have told us that we should implement a robust business continuity program to mitigate the potential impacts of disasters. But few have heeded this advice. Why is that? Human nature is such that we only take action when we’re backed into a corner. Busin … Read more

Got New Year Resolutions? Get ‘Appy’ To Stay On Track In Life And Business

new year resolutions

It’s almost January 1st again, that time of year when we all look forward to new beginnings, new or renewed resolutions, and the continuation of our quest for self-improvement. A great article in Forbes by Dan Diamond notes that over 40% of American’s make New Year resolutions, but only 8% manage to keep them. As I examine my 2013 performance, I am delighted to see that I would fall into that 8% segment on one resolution – developing a consistent exercise routine. I jogged 3 times a week and met a 200 mile target in 6 months (yay, me!). Now, exercising and losing weight is by far the most popular resolution and I admit, it has been on my list ever since I gained the infamous “Freshman 15.” … Read more

Black Friday And The Art Of The BCP Test

bcp test

Only 40% of IT organizations have tested their disaster recovery plans in the last 12 months, according to the 2013 InformationWeek State of Storage Survey. Working at SunGard, I see this lack of preparation first hand every day. SunGard offers Mobile MetroCenters® that bring custom-designed, fully equipped office space to customers to support their business continuity plan in the event of an emergency. During roadshows of the Mobile MetroCenter, customers are constantly coming up to me and telling me that they’ve had this service under contract for years, but have never actually been inside one before. And they’ve certainly never tested the Mobile MetroCenter in conjunction with their over … Read more

IT Resilience – What Do Organizations Really Want, Anyway?


Every morning I wake up, have a few cups of coffee, and spend the rest of my work day talking to organizations about three aspects of IT Resilience – Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery, Information Security, and IT Operations. What do organizations want in this arena? Well, I can tell you what they ask for. I can tell you what I think they really need. And then I’ll speculate on what they really want. What They Ask For Most of the time, conversations go like this. We spend 10 minutes introducing each person on the call or in the room or both, 15 minutes defining their requirements, and 30 minutes ‘solutioning’ (my word for ad hoc solution design). As part of this conversation, t … Read more

What’s in a Disaster Recovery Plan Template?

disaster recovery plan template

No matter the size of your company or what kind of business it conducts, your Business Continuity (BC)/Disaster Recovery (DR) plan must contain the same building blocks as any other company. These common BC/DR plan building blocks can then be used as a framework for your organization’s recovery after a disruption from an IT outage or disaster. Based on the experience we’ve gained by working with customers over the last 30 years (check out, “BC/DR: How to Get Your Organization Moving in the Right Direction”), we have put together a disaster recovery plan template that takes these common plan building blocks into account. Using the template should get you about 80 percent of the way to a soli … Read more

Been There, Done That: Here’s Some Disaster Recovery Testing Wisdom For You

disaster recovery testing

Test, Exercise, Rehearsal. Whatever you call it, you need to ensure that all of the pieces of your disaster recovery or business continuity plan come together to ensure business process availability - BEFORE you have to declare or invoke a disaster. Disaster Recovery Testing Battle Stories So let’s talk about testing and why it’s so important. In the early 1980’s, I was a young field support analyst for a big iron vendor. One of our customers, a large financial institution, had just installed backup generators and was running their first test over the weekend. They fired them up, and then flipped the cutover switch on the power distribution unit (PDU) – and nothing happened. The post-mo … Read more

Today’s Business Continuity Planning is NOT Business As Usual

business continuity planning binder

It’s September and I’m proud to say that this mother of two has survived back-to-school week – but just barely. Typically, I am the “expert” mother - someone who has a plan for the onslaught of everything September brings, including emergency forms, registrations, appointments, supplies, PTO sign-ups. So imagine my surprise and chagrin when I was stopped and almost berated for entering our campus the wrong way (I was seeing headlines in my head like, "Hapless Mom Gets Called Out by School Crossing Guard"). Apparently, I had missed the memo of new arrival and dismissal procedures as well as the new safety procedures to manage the influx of much larger class sizes (not to mention, respond to t … Read more

Business Continuity and Social Media – How Social Tools are Affecting Organizational Resilience

business continuity and social media

During a recent New England Patriot’s football practice, star quarterback Tom Brady injured his knee. Within minutes, the Twitterverse went crazy with all sorts of unattributed perceptions as to just how bad the injury was. Preseason injuries have always been part of training camps throughout the NFL. However, the way this information is disseminated has changed. Twitter observers want to make their mark and will often post unsubstantiated reports that almost instantaneously become “reality” until later addressed with facts. In fact, Mr. Brady only slightly injured his knee and the New England’s season was “saved.” Social media can be used to spread information almost instantaneously an … Read more