Treating the Causes of Bad Management Reviews

Faults & Fixes: Bad Management Reviews

Senior management engagement is critical to business continuity success, so it’s becoming more and more common for organizations to involve management when designing and implementing business continuity programs.  However, after the initial implementation project wraps up, it is much less common for organizations to regularly engage management on program direction, capability, and maturation, via what the management system concept calls a “management review”.  While the concept of management reviews is relatively new to the business continuity profession, when fully implemented and combined with appropriate messaging, management reviews are the best way to get management to participate actively and stay engaged, as well as close program gaps and improve performance.  Continue reading

Failing Back Home Can Trip You Up

In the last month alone, I’ve worked with two companies that had IT disruptions but didn’t use their IT disaster recovery (DR) plans because they weren’t sure if they could fail back home (aka return to normal). In both cases, these concerns were a surprise to the executive management team.

It’s a theme I’ve heard many times before – the IT disaster recovery solution was built without considering how the organization would return to the primary data center from the disaster recovery location. This perspective highlights some key issues to consider regarding the use of the IT disaster recovery strategy. Continue reading

We Just Did a BIA and Risk Assessment… Now What?

How to Perform an Effective Business Continuity Gap Analysis

Following a business impact analysis (BIA) and risk assessment, best practices indicate that an organization should identify business continuity strategies that allow the organization to treat risks and recover business activities in accordance with management-approved requirements. This seems like a simple task on paper; however, in practice, many organizations struggle to do this, and instead jump straight to documenting business continuity plans. In doing so, these plans fail to include the resources and strategies already in place, or the organization fails to acknowledge and address coverage gaps. This leads to a lost opportunity to identify new risk treatments or recovery strategies, ultimately resulting in plans with no real capability to respond and recoverContinue reading

I’ve Been Assigned Executive Responsibility for Business Continuity – Now What?

15 Key Questions Executives Should Ask to Better Understand the Program’s Current-State and Next Steps

So, you’ve just been assigned responsibility of your organization’s business continuity program.

I’m sure many thoughts are running through your head right now, ranging from “What is business continuity?” to “What do I need to do first?” (among others). However, you’re in the right place to find answers to these questions, and many more. Continue reading

Ebola – What Business Continuity Professionals Need to Know

You’ve all seen the news – the sometimes (perhaps often) inaccurate and exaggerated presentation of ‘facts’ and race for ratings has started. We’re by no means downplaying the seriousness of the situation – Ebola is extremely serious and should be treated as such. However, causing panic isn’t going to do anyone any good. Rather, a focus on knowledge building, preparedness, and communication with stakeholders, senior management, and employees should be your top priorities right now.

As such, the sole intent of this article is to provide guidance on what actions business continuity professionals should be taking at this point, as well as resources to better understand the situation. Continue reading

Risky Business (Part 1): Managing Third-Party and Supplier Risk

Business continuity planning is inherently cross-functional with a necessity to address risks to an organization’s product and service offerings, as well as the resources necessary to meet obligations.  As organizations increasingly rely on a global network of suppliers and service providers, business continuity practitioners have the responsibility to understand and analyze these relationships and lead strategy identification efforts to protect their organization when faced with a third-party disruption.

Developing and implementing business continuity strategies and risk treatment options related to third parties can be a difficult endeavor because strategies may seemingly contradict an organization’s strategic efforts to leverage single-source suppliers, make supply chains “lean”, and reduce stored inventory levels. However, business continuity practitioners must provide top management with the information needed to balance strategic initiatives with the need to reduce single points of failure and protect an organization should a resource become unavailable.

This perspective discusses the tools available to identify and document third-party resources and methods by which risks can be presented to top management for review and action. Continue reading

Leading Response and Recovery Teams (Part 1)

In our experience, one of the most difficult roles to fulfill in any business continuity program is the team leader responsible for a cross-functional response and recovery team (often called a crisis management team, a department business recovery team, or an IT disaster recovery team).  This is because the team leader faces three significant challenges:

  1. These teams are cross-functional, which means every person brings their expertise, as well as their opinions and personal agendas for response and recovery; Continue reading

What is Business Continuity?

Business continuity means working to decrease the likelihood of a disruptive incident and preparing your organization to continue the delivery of its most essential products and services if a disruption were to occur.

In other words, in the event of a disruptive incident, business continuity helps ensure that everyone – from response personnel through the general employee population – can answer these three questions: Continue reading

Treating the Causes of Bad Business Continuity Plans

Faults & Fixes: Bad Plans

Developing strong business continuity plans characterized as actionable, relevant, and simple to execute can be a very difficult task for many organizations. In other articles, Avalution examined the different types of business continuity plans, what information should be included, and how organizations can focus on the basics to develop effective plans. One trend that our consultants see across industries is that as business continuity programs mature, planning approaches inevitably change, often (and unfortunately) becoming more complicated and burdensome over time. As plans become overburdened with complex requirements, simplicity, quality, and effectiveness suffer.

This perspective examines the six typical symptoms of “bad plans” and their common root causes, and provides suggestions on how organizations can develop plans described as actionable, relevant, and simple.  Continue reading

Sources of Corrective Actions

Part of Avalution’s Conforming to ISO 22301 Series

This perspective is the eighth in a series to discuss key elements of the ISO 22301 business continuity management system, including value-adding elements of the standard or requirements that could “trip up” an organization during the certification process.

Today we’re going to take a look at ISO 22301’s requirements regarding corrective actions.

Continue reading