Chaos in Cleveland?

ClevelandSETTING THE STAGE

This morning was a non-eventful morning.  I was sitting in my office, sipping on my coffee, and working on my monthly reports. Then, the manager of our office building entered our lobby.

The Michael Brelo case is nearing an end. Closing arguments have been heard and a verdict is expected shortly. The question is, when?

Our building manager was concerned, and rightfully so.

Our office is located directly across the street from the justice center where the case is taking place. Just a couple weeks ago, we sat witness to the riots and devastation in Baltimore, and, from our ongoing monitoring of the situation and media this week, our team is aware that the City of Cleveland is actively bracing for the possible impact and chaos that could result when the verdict is announced. Continue reading

The Need to Establish Business Continuity Governance: An Overview of BCI Professional Practice 1

BCI_GPGs_SeriesThe Business Continuity Institute (BCI) publishes the Good Practice Guidelines (GPGs), which is a compilation of six professional practices that provides guidance to business continuity practitioners on implementing and maintaining a business continuity program.  While the BCI GPGs generally align with ISO 22301, which provides high-level guidance on establishing a business continuity management system, the Practices actually enhance ISO 22301 by answering the “why” and “how” of establishing a program. Continue reading

We Just Did a BIA and Gap Analysis… Now What?

Sketch successful businessman concept, idea light bulbHow to Perform an Effective Business Continuity Strategy Identification and Selection Effort

Reader Note: This article is a continuation from Avalution’s November 2014 article titled: We just did a BIA and Risk Assessment … Now What? How to Perform an Effective Business Continuity Gap AnalysisIf your organization just finished a business impact analysis (BIA) and risk assessment, but has not yet performed a gap analysis, it may be helpful to read about performing an effective gap analysis before continuing on to this article.

Once an organization understands gaps between business continuity requirements (as defined in the business impact and risk assessment) and current capabilities, management can determine which gaps they wish to address through strategy selection – either through risk mitigation or resource-specific recovery methods.  Determining methods to decrease the likelihood of a disruptive incident reduces the potential that a risk will materialize, while identifying methods to respond to and recover from a disruptive incident decreases downtime and protects the organizations’ brand and financial position (among other assets). Continue reading

Treating the Causes of Bad Business Continuity Training Programs

Faults & Fixes SeriesFaults & Fixes: Bad Training

As business continuity professionals, we tend to gravitate to the activities where we think we can deliver the most value. This often takes the form of the business impact analysis, helping management come up with strategies that minimize risk, and documenting these strategies into plans. Ensuring that a business continuity program employs effective training approaches and engages business process owners, unfortunately, often plays “second fiddle” to other activities. One only needs to browse any of the top business continuity and disaster recovery related publications to see this disparity. Searching for “business impact analysis” or “business continuity plan” yields substantially more results than “business continuity training.” Yet without effective training, all that hard work will likely either fail or not perform to desired standards during a real disruptive incident. Continue reading

FFIEC Updates Business Continuity Planning Booklet with Appendix J

FFIEC_Appendix_JAppendix J: Strengthening the Resilience of Outsourced Technology Services

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently released an updated a version of its Business Continuity Booklet, which is one in the series of booklets that comprise the larger Information Technology (IT) Examination Handbook.

This article provides an overview of Appendix J and discusses the confirmed importance that continuity planning isn’t limited to just your organization; rather, it extends to all outsourced and supplier relationships as well. Continue reading

How-To: Effectively Scope Your Business Continuity Program

Program_ScopeEarly on in the development of a business continuity program, careful, pragmatic scoping can be the difference between quick and appropriate wins and a never-ending planning effort with little capability.  Organizations typically build programs due to customer and/or regulatory requirements; however, instead of taking the time to carefully scope and prioritize the business continuity effort (and provide resources accordingly), organizations often take an “all or nothing” approach to planning – plan for every “box on the org chart”, every facility, every application, and every resource.  Many organizations do not realize that business continuity can, and often should, initially address an organization’s most critical/time-sensitive products and services, expanding to other parts of the organization overtime.  Continue reading

Why Testing and Exercising is Essential for an Effective Business Continuity Program

BCAW 2015 LogoThis post is part of the Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW) 2015 flashblog. To learn more about The BCI and BCAW 2015, visit the website or follow the discussion on Twitter via #BCAW2015 and #TestingTimes.

Exercising. Whether you’re talking about hitting the gym or testing your business continuity strategies and plans, I’ve come to find that no one likes hearing this word. The typical reaction and excuses are similar, too: I don’t have the time; I have better things to do; I just don’t see the value.

Well, okay… the last one pertains a bit more to business continuity, but I’m sure you get my point. Continue reading

Treating the Causes of Bad Exercises

Faults & Fixes SeriesFaults and Fixes: Bad Exercises

Practice—it’s a key to success in any pursuit. Whether it’s within sports, hobbies, or business, practice is integral to fostering success, and business continuity planning is no exception. Arguably, the most effective way to practice implementing business continuity plans, processes, and strategies is by performing exercises. Not only will a good exercise improve preparedness, it will also socialize business continuity planning among the organization’s key leaders and demonstrate the value of business continuity planning. However, many exercises fail to “impress” and meet the goals of socializing capabilities, building competencies, and identifying opportunities for improvement. Within this perspective, we’ll take a look at some of the key causes and simple fixes that will allow business continuity practitioners to plan for and facilitate an engaging, beneficial business continuity exercise. Continue reading

Risky Business (Part 2): Too Lean, Too Late

Risky Business - Supply ChainMany organizations today aim to make operations as lean as possible. But, in doing so, are these organizations unknowingly increasing the risk of operational downtime and excess cost? Due to streamlining operations and eliminating redundant activities or suppliers, one misstep or disruption (either internally or externally), can result in time-consuming and costly operational delays, or much worse, impact market positioning or even threaten the survival of the organization.

This perspective is part two of a supply chain risk management-focused series called “Risky Business”. In part one, Managing Third-Party and Supplier Risk, we discussed the importance of protecting your organization from risks associated with a dependence on suppliers (and service providers), as well as how to analyze potential impacts and prioritize these risks.

In this perspective we’ll discuss the specific business continuity strategies and risk treatment options available to mitigate the risk associated with supplier dependencies to an acceptable level. Continue reading

Treating the Causes of Bad BIAs

Faults & Fixes SeriesFaults & Fixes: Bad BIAs

Nearly all business continuity practitioners understand the importance of conducting a business impact analysis (BIA) in order to lay the foundation for a viable business continuity program. Organizations who perform and continually improve effective BIA processes gather essential business information for the activities that support organizational product and service delivery, such as process-related information, justification for business continuity requirements, recovery objectives, and resource requirements necessary to achieve recovery objectives and performance targets following the onset of a disruptive incident. This information drives the selection of organizational business continuity strategies, serves as an input to business continuity plans, and provides insight into potential organizational risks. Continue reading