IT Resilience – What Do Organizations Really Want, Anyway?

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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

Q&A with @SunGardAS User Group Forum Keynote Speaker, Michael Leiter

Michael Leiter

Michael Leiter serves as an expert on counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and national security for NBC News and worked as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) from 2008 to July 2011. On October 15, Mr. Leiter will deliver the keynote address at the annual SunGard Availability Services Business Continuity International User Group Forum at the Chicago Marriott Downtown from Oct. 14 - 16. In his address, “Leading in a Crisis: Before, During, and After,” Mr. Leiter will share lessons on instilling leadership while managing a crisis and describe his experiences with helping manage scenarios that impacted the nation’s security. The SunGard International User Group Forum i … Read more

Lessons From Hurricane Crisis Management

Bob DiLossi is the Director of the SunGard Crisis Management Center. A long-time business continuity practitioner, Bob provides some commentary in this post concerning lessons gleaned from crisis management in the midst of severe weather events, such as hurricanes. 1. Does the Crisis Management Team do anything different once a hurricane has been named and a projected path is announced by the National Weather Service? It's important to recognize that we monitor all weather events, not just hurricanes in-season. What makes weather events unique is that sometimes, you have a warning period that allows for review of plans and preparation. Right now we are tracking a tropical storm over the … Read more

A Fresh Perspective on Resilience Exercises

Reading a Harvard Business Review Blog this week triggered this thought on resilience: when conducting any validation exercise, it is important to invite “outsiders” to participate. John Baldini, writing for HBR, noted that management coaching involves having an outsider suggest ways to improve your perspective on reality and decision making, with the suggestion to invite others into routine meetings from outside the normal attendee list. It adds energy and creates some fresh dialog.  Baldini writes: "A new perspective can allow a leader to make certain that what she sees is reality, not her perception of reality." That statement applies equally well to resilience programs, too. … Read more

Lessons Learned … Again

With continuing concern surrounding the damaged nuclear plants, the global community continues to watch the turmoil unfolding in Japan. In the twenty days since the Sendai earthquake and the resulting tsunami brought unimagined devastation to the Japanese nation, we are seeing just how small planet earth really is. Global Dependencies are Felt Locally Moving beyond the destructive impact on whole communities and the human toll too quickly seems to trivialize the impact, but at the same time, it is important that organizations on a global level recognize our interdependence. These dependencies can be seen clearly in the examination of global supply chains. Companies such as Boeing, Sony, … Read more

Fitness Training and Resilience

The more physically fit we are, the more resilient our muscles and bodies are to stress and strain. The same can be said for organizational resilience programs. They may need a “trainer” to help us get them in shape, but even without that expert resource, they certainly need regular exercises. The risks companies face today are varied, and much like exercising different muscle groups, they call for different activities to examine and strengthen against these threats. In 2010, natural disasters had an estimated $109 billion impact, more than triple the previous year; that number doubles when you add the costs of man-made disasters, such as the Gulf Oil Spill, and we quickly see the cost ju … Read more

A Case for Cybersecurity First Responders

For years in the continuity business, I’ve spoken to audiences about the fact that you can’t outsource your first response. This is true at a community level, and it is true for businesses. When a fire strikes, the red trucks and water don’t come from Washington; they come from your local volunteer or paid fire fighters. The same is true for corporate disasters; outsourced partners and support vendors will be involved, but the first response will likely come from within your organization. Step One: Prepare in Advance Preparing first response tactics are best done well in advance of any actual disaster. You need health and safety plans in place before any fire, flood or earthquake impacts your … Read more

Resilience is Power …

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… and water, and HVAC, and all related infrastructure components. Resilience is dependent on all these infrastructure components, along with network communications. This became obvious this weekend with two distinct events: - A friend shared a photo of a car that went through the side of a building while parking; in doing so, they broke water and sewage lines which prevented the building from remaining open for business occupancy for several days. - An underground explosion and fire in Philadelphia early Monday morning – just a few blocks from my office – caused local businesses to deal with power outages and street closures when they arrived back after the weekend. These two incidents are … Read more