KingsBridge Blog

An angel, an adventurer, and a brewer.

No, they are not all the same person. Easy to find people who can check-off any two of those, but I don’t think the hat-trick has been done yet.

Today’s a pretty ordinary day (this year), but it marked a number of impressive events in years gone by.

An angel

redcross

We’re lucky to live in a time when the Red Cross is there, usually before anyone else, to help out in times of disaster- most recently, the tragic twin Nepal earthquakes come to mind. But, there was a time when the organization didn’t exist. People were left to their own devices and the help & charity of more grass-roots rescue efforts. Many times, that was enough. Too many times- it wasn’t.

So, when you look at the calendar and see “May 21”, take a minute to think back to 1881 when Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. Born on Christmas Day, 1821, she was a nurse in the Civil War, a teacher and devoted much of her life to The Office of Missing Soldiers– an organization dedicated to finding or identifying MIA soldiers from the Civil War. (An interesting coincidence that this date falls just days before Memorial Day Weekend in the USA). After travelling to Geneva and seeing the work of the Red Cross in Europe, she came home to the United States and brought the heroic work of the Red Cross home with her.

An adventurer

PICTURE SHOWS : CHARLES LINDBERGH PICTURED AT LONG ISLAND NEW YORK

PICTURE SHOWS : CHARLES LINDBERGH PICTURED AT LONG ISLAND NEW YORK

Are you by chance reading this in an airport after a long, exhausting day of travel? Don’t complain too loudly. On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris after a 33-and-a-half hour flight from New York. Oh- and he was flying solo. Without radar. Lindbergh was the first, but René Fonck attempted the flight a year earlier. Sadly his plane crashed on take-off because it was overloaded with a sofa and a refrigerator. (No, seriously- he tried to fly a fridge across the Atlantic in 1927.)

A brewer

beer overflow

beer overflow

Ok, this isn’t about one single brewer, it’s about every brewer in Canada in 1925. Prohibition ended on May 21 of that year, so we Canadians could finally have a cold-one on the May long weekend without fear of imprisonment! I know, this is a much less serious topic than the paragraphs above, but come on- the summer is upon us, we have to mention beer!

So with the weekend approaching you have a chance to be an Angel like Clara- maybe donate to the Red Cross efforts in Nepal, or be an Adventurer like our own Brett Tippie, Director of Good Times (Ok, Don’t do ANYTHING Brett does, he’s crazy. Seriously.), or just have a cold beer.

Let us know if you do all three, you’ll claim the first hat-trick!

Mountain Biking & BCP Software, A Natural Fit… right?

tippie

What? Wait- Why is KingsBridge sponsoring a professional mountain biker?

Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery Planning (BC/DRP) is one of the most critical projects any organization will ever undertake. It’s also the most boring.

Don’t worry, it’s not just you! Most of the people who hire our consultants or use our software don’t exactly jump out of bed in the morning dying to know what’s new in the BC/DRP space.   It feels like tedious, thankless work. You might even think that it’s a waste of time, that you’ll never actually need the plan you’re pouring those hours into. (If you think that- you’re wrong.)

KingsBridge employees are probably not who you’d expect to find building well-researched, well-written, & tested plans. You’re picturing the boring guy with the too-tight tie, pocket protector, and white socks in black dress shoes.

That’s not us.

And we want you to know that.

So that’s why we decided to sponsor Brett Tippie, a world-class legend in mountain biking. We want you to understand that we’ll make what feels like a tedious, pointless project actually be an entertaining, enlightening, fun process.

Don’t misunderstand; The last person you want writing your BC/DRP is Brett Tippie. For every Risk Assessment we’ve done- he’s taken a hundred risky drops on a bike.   We do a top-to-bottom examination of our clients’ business before we even open our mouth. Brett does a top-to-bottom gravity test seemingly without thinking about the consequences. He’s a maniac, and we love him.

But he does think about those consequences. If you watch his stuff (and you should if you have a few free minutes at lunch), you’ll see that he actually does take the time to look for the danger spots (Threat Risk Assessment), he thinks about what will happen if he hits one of them (Business Impact Analysis), then- and only then- he rides it. (Exercising the plan)

We know BC/DRP is not the most exciting part of your day. That’s why we want you to know that we’re here to help you get it done faster and easier. Whether you hire our people, or use our software to do it yourself- We’ll make the project go easier, faster, and better.

That gets all of us out of the office and on to our bikes that much sooner.   So- contact us if you want to take the “boring” out of BC/DRP. Or, contact Brett Tippie if you need an adrenaline rush and a sore stomach from laughing at his off-color jokes.

Keep following this blog if you want to know more about the people behind the KingsBridge Shield, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn… See you next week!

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

beam tweak 1

Big news!  And no, I’m not talking about the way our lead developer attempted to catch a paintball moving at 275 feet/second. (We’ll get to that later)

“Mayday” is the international distress signal used in emergency radio procedures.   Used by pilots and ship captains around the globe, it’s how they notify anyone who can hear that have an emergency on their hands.

Today, May 1st, KingsBridge is adding BEAM emergency notification to Shield, our flagship DR/BC planning SaaS tool.

After listening to requests and suggestions from our clients, we found a void in the BC/DR notification offerings out there, and we’ve filled it.

Add BEAM Notification to your Shield account, and you now have the ability to maintain contact with your personnel even when your own systems are down.  By sending the message via email and SMS (text message) simultaneously, you know the message is getting out, regardless of the status of your internal email system.

Talk to us if you want to learn more about beam.  We hope you’ll never have a “Mayday” situation on your hand, but we want you to be prepared for it if it happens.

 

Great Software, bad ideas.

IMG_3627

Our lead developer, Jason, has been described as a “mad genius” by fellow coders.  He knows his stuff, and it shows in Shield and Beam.

We all need to take breaks in our day, to keep the blood flowing and let our brains “background” on things away from our desks, and Jason is no different.  He does however approach his breaks a little differently from the rest of us.  You and I might go for a 15 minute walk, or grab a coffee and chat about last night’s game in the cafeteria, but not Jason.  He felt he should try attempt to catch a paintball with a plastic beer mug. (Yes, the KingsBridge office has half a dozen paintball guns and ample beer mugs, of course.)  As you can see by the photo, Jason’s programming skills outshadow his paintball catching by an order of magnitude.

Nice try Jason, but next time- just yell, “Mayday!” and run the other way.

“One is none.”

dive-light

Those were the words my first SCUBA instructor spoke when I challenged him as to why he wanted me to buy ANOTHER light for our first night dive. I already had a light- a good one, an expensive one, and I didn’t understand why I should spend more money on a light that I’d probably never use.

“Odds are, I’ll never even need the thing.”, was my response.

“It’s not the odds, it’s the stakes. What if it’s the one-in-a-million defective unit? What if you drop it? Bring two, so you know you’ll always have one.”

That set me back a couple of minutes. I was new to the sport of scuba diving, he was a grand-master, and I didn’t want to make waves (pardon the pun), so- I took his advice and bought a second light, made sure it had new batteries for that first night dive.

You can probably guess what happened. At the deepest part of the dive, as far from the boat as we could get, my light died- right? No, not at all. My primary light performed flawlessly on the dive, and for about another 80 dives after that. I really didn’t need to rush out and buy a back-up for that first dive after all.

But On the 81st dive, that back-up light was worth its weight in gold, 10 times over.

My instructor didn’t think I’d need to go to the back-up light on that dive in particular, but he knew that someday I’d need it, and he was right. I’m glad I listened to him. I spent a bit of money and a bit of time making sure that back-up light was with me on every dive, and basically forgot about it, until I needed it.

Business Continuity planning is a lot like that. Odds are, you’ll never need 75% of the response actions you’ve poured hours into planning and testing, not to mention the money your organization poured into the hardware/cloud side of things. But- when that one-in-a-million time rolls around, the time and money are a fraction of the cost that would be incurred if you hadn’t made those investments.

That’s where the similarities between SCUBA and BCP end. I invested in a reliable plan and hardware because my “boss”, told me to. You’re in the opposite boat- You know that your organization needs to make those investments of both time and money, but you can’t force upper management’s hand.

We can help. After 30+ years in the business of helping companies get their plans in order, we have some ideas on how you can get the internal support you need.

Or- just send your boss for a night dive with me. I’ve got an old dive-light lying around here somewhere that he can borrow. But he only gets one.

What’s going to be different in six months?

We’ve all had a couple of weeks to catch up after DRJ SpringWorld. If you could hit the fast-forward button and land at DRJ FallWorld in September, what would you like to say you’ve accomplished in those six months? The clock is already ticking!

Being an exhibitor at the DRJ Spring/Fall shows gives us a great understanding of what people are doing with their DR/BC planning. Some of you (you’re in the minority!) are continually evolving and improving your plans- Kudos to you!

However…

Many of the people we met at SpringWorld, and FallWorld before that, and at shows in years gone by, continue to struggle with the same two challenges they’ve been facing for years.

No budget: With no buy-in from the C-Suite, the financial support won’t be there. This means not enough people engaged in BC/DR planning, and/or no software to make the process easier.

No people: Tied to the money above, lack of dedicated personnel is one of the most common obstacles to developing and maintaining a solid plan. It’s a long, detailed process, and it can be too much for the one person who drew the short straw at the management meeting and wound up with the entire company’s recovery fate in their hands.

As a result- efforts drop off, and the plan stagnates.

So how do you overcome the roadblocks? Doing something is better than doing nothing.

“Preach the Gospel!” Maybe it’s not even about the plan itself- document why you’re stalled in the planning process and make upper management aware of how vulnerable your organization is as a result. It won’t help when you’re hit with a business interruption (note: that’s a “when”, not an “if”), but it at least raises the priority level a notch and gets you that much closer to gaining the financial and human support you need. (and covers your tail when the inevitable post-incident questions start)

Make a wish-list: What do you need?

  • People? Build a case for the staff you need: From within, or do you need to hire? How many? How senior/junior? What skills/knowledge should they have? Have your requirements ready, in writing so you can strike while the iron is hot.
  • Software? Do your research. Commit to scheduling a free demo of a planning tool once a month, every month, until you have the budget to buy. Again- you want to be well-informed and able to make the right choice when the purse-strings open up.

So- back to the headline…. What’s going to be different in six months?   Will you do some of the small (and most achievable) steps, or will you throw up your hands and put it on the back-burner until you can get everything you want, all at once? That could be a long wait.

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” One of my favorite sayings, it captures the idea that too often we don’t bother doing anything because it just won’t be perfect.

Make some steps toward “Good”, and you’ll be surprised how close you get to “Perfect” in less time than you think.

We’ll see you at DRJ FallWorld, and we’ll ask what you’ve done since SpringWorld. There, you’ve been warned!

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