With every passing month, our developers are adding more and more functionality to KingsBridge Shield. Some of the changes are big news that we brag about, others are minor background improvements that make your life easier without even knowing it. Here are a few that have come up in conversation with customers lately. Did you know about them?
As with everything in Shield, you have the ability to customize the columns in your Personnel table. The first 5 are mandatory, but after that – add as many fields as you need to make the Personnel database in Shield match the incoming database from your HR people. Hit the “Data” tab, then “Personnel”, then the “Edit Columns” button and you’re on your way!
When was the last time someone updated this section? Who did it? The answers are in Shield, in two places. When you’re looking at a section, if it has been edited from the original template we supply, there will be a time, date, & user stamp in green text just below the title of the section in the main screen. Want to see a summary of all the changes done, in chronological order? Head back to that “Data” section and look at “Last Modified”, it will give you a table-view of what’s been happening with your plan.
Did you know you can add notification to your account? Straight from Shield, with our new Beam offering, you can initiate a notification to the recipients you choose. They will simultaneously be sent an email and an SMS (text) notification. Communication is a critical part of a successful response, and now Shield helps you handle that, too. Talk to your KingsBridge contact if you want to learn more about adding Beam to your Shield plan.
Ok, enough about Shield – Let’s do something to help out some kids who could use a boost. The KingsBridge “KDRLife” Crew (you can follow this famous after-hours side of KingsBridge on Twitter, @KDRLife) is taking part in “24 Hours of Tremblant”, a fantastic charity event that raises money to help out all kinds of kids in all kinds of ways. If you have a couple of spare dollars that you’d like to send to a good cause, head to our team page and sponsor your favourite KingsBridgian. Thanks for anything you can give!
Been to the iOS App store lately?
Do you subscribe to our newsletter? If you do, you’re going to hear great news next week. If you don’t, but want to – send a note to email@example.com and he’ll put you on the list.
Watching Spectre, the new James Bond movie, I had some thoughts on how a good Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery consultant could make life a lot easier for everyone’s favourite secret agent.
(Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here. We’re talking about generic Bond situations over the years, nothing specific to Spectre. You can safely read on even if you haven’t seen it yet!)
So what could a seemingly invincible super-spy possibly need from a boring old BC/DR practitioner? Quite a bit, actually.
Threat Risk Assessment: Had James put more research and thought into who & what might threaten his ability to operate, he may have identified The Bad Guy well in advance and been in better position to avoid that whole, “getting cut in half by a laser” thing.
BIA: Running a Business Impact Analysis is a controversial process these days. Not quite as controversial as sending a tuxedo-wearing assassin out to “silence” someone, but there are some solid arguments for not going through that preliminary step of planning. Having said that, if Mr. Bond had run a proper BIA on MI-6, he may have had a jump on what parts of it were going to fail him. Planning for that wouldn’t be as exciting as rappelling out of a helicopter with a machine gun, but it might have saved him some hospital time.
So with all those overlooked steps to a good plan, how in the world does 007 manage to win every time? Simple: He exercises his response tasks with more frequency and passion than any of us ever will! James has run through every scenario imaginable, so even though his plan had huge gaps in it, he is able to make up for that by constantly challenging himself and becoming one with the tools he has at hand.
That’s what the “mix” is all about; No plan is going to be perfect from top to bottom, but if you and your team put maximum time and effort into all the components of the plan you can control, you’ll help shore-up those weak spots and still be able to beat “The Bad Guy”, be it a power outage, a storm, or a global crime syndicate.
KingsBridge has never successfully knocked-out a space-based laser weapon run by a maniac with a pet cat, but we know a thing or two about BC/DR planning. Give us a call if you want help, and we’ll make sure that your plan is strong enough that even if you get hit by a major incident, it will leave you merely stirred, not shaken.
Kevin was a client of mine in a previous life. I was a sales rep for a company that produced manufactured goods, very different from the software and professional services that KingsBridge offers, but I learned a valuable lesson from him that applies to what all of us do every day.
The company I worked for built a component that became part of a larger product that Kevin’s business sold. You can probably see where this is going– If I didn’t deliver, he couldn’t deliver, and that would be bad.
Sure enough, the day came that the wheels fell off at our end, and the shipment to Kevin looked like it was going to be late, very late. I froze. Normally I would update Kevin with exact delivery timing on the day, but with no idea when that was going to happen, I didn’t make my usual call.
Long story short, the team pulled off a small miracle, and the shipment DID happen on time, barely. Kevin could probably hear the relief in my voice when I called him to confirm that the shipment was going to arrive as per the contract, all was good. He asked why I hadn’t called at the usual time, so I told him- it was looking dicey for a while and I didn’t want to tell him something that wasn’t true. That’s when the title of this post came out of his mouth.
No one likes to give, much less receive bad news, but communication at the worst of times is the most import communication there is. Your Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity (DR/BC) plan should include communication strategies for keeping your “clients” (in quotes because I’m using the word “client” to mean anyone who relies on the output of your work, whether there’s a dollar attached to it or not.) in the know, even when the situation is bad. A solid DR/BC plan will demonstrate that you were ahead of the game, knew that a problem could occur, and therefore you are in the best position possible to fix it. Done correctly, your clients will remain loyal even after a major incident, because you demonstrated that you pulled things back to normal as quickly as any other person or organization possibly could have.
If you’re going into response mode, that first update should look something like this:
A problem occurred. Be as specific and detailed as possible to show that you have a full understanding of the situation.
We saw it coming. Outline how your BC/DR planning detected this as a possibility, and as a result you are not surprised or taken off-guard, instead you are in the best position to recover from it quickly.
Best Case / Worst Case effect on your client. Be honest, tell them what the range is in terms of the depth of the impact to them.
Next steps. Give as much detail as you can about what you’re doing to show that you’re not a deer in the headlights.
“More news at 11” Tell them when they can expect another update from you, and make sure you make it happen, to the minute. If you stick to those times, they’ll have that much more trust in your recovery efforts, and your phone will ring less often with them anxiously trying to reach you for news.
There are notification solutions out there (Including KingsBridge’s own BEAM system) that can automate much of this process, but at the end of the day– regardless of the tools you use, it comes down to the planning you did in advance, and how well you stick to that plan at the time of incident that will measure how successfully you protect that client relationship in times of trouble.
If you’d like to hear more about how your BC/DR plan should include communication strategies, or about the options out there for adding notification software into the mix, we would love to hear from you, just ask!
FallWorld is a great show, coming at the perfect time. Back-to-school season is in full swing, the time of year we’re all ramping-up after enjoying the summer, re-focused on improving everything we do, with Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery planning included.
The Disaster Recovery Journal has been running SpringWorld and FallWorld for more years than I can count, so why do we keep going back? Because, while the theme is always the same, the information and people you have the chance to experience are always new and different.
Top 3 Reasons to attend FallWorld:
Whether you’re talking to a fellow attendee, one of the guest speakers, or those of us on the Exhibitor floor, it’s half a week of great conversations. The right mix of business and social, it’s fun way to catch up on what’s new in the industry.
Walking the show floor between sessions, you have the chance see some of the newest hardware and software designed to help you do your job better, easier, and faster. From planning tools like KingsBridge Shield to emergency survival kits, there is always a huge variety to see in your window-shopping between speakers.
San Diego is one of the most beautiful, dynamic cities you’ll ever visit. The show itself is at the Hilton San Diego Bay Front Hotel, so you can catch some fresh ocean air with a cold drink while you’re waiting for the next breakout session to start. The Gaslamp District, easily walkable from the hotel, has something for everyone: Great food at any of dozens of restaurants, shopping at the outlet stores, or just step across the street to Petco Park and catch a Padres game.
The KingsBridge crew usually finds time for a couple hours of fun after the show ends. We’ve gone flying at JetPack America, and rented SeaDoos to tour San Diego Bay. Our Steve Rogers is big into Geocaching so he took advantage of the SeaDoo to attempt to find a geocache located on a navigational buoy in the middle of the bay. As you can see below, a rather grumpy sea lion decided that Steve was not going to be successful. Maybe next year, Steve!
So, come out and soak up the FallWorld experience, and make sure to drop by and see us at the KingsBridge Booth, #416. Maybe we’ll even tell you more about what Matt and Steve are hiding on that roll-up…
Here at KingsBridge, we’re like anyone else in the business world: Before we’ll take any advice or instruction to heart, we want to know that it’s based on experience and proven past results. Just because someone talks a good game doesn’t mean they can play a good game.
So, coming at that from the other side– Why should you listen to the advice and recommendations we give you? How do you know we’re not just blowing hot air and throwing acronyms around to talk circles around you?
Because we don’t just preach it, we do it.
Take this upcoming weekend, for instance: On mid-afternoon Friday, a mixed team from various business units within KingsBridge is going to be dropped into a live exercise to test our own corporate Business Continuity plan. They’ll be pulled out of their familiar corporate offices and dropped into the middle of a lake (ok, they’ll be dropped on land, not actually INTO the lake) in a provincial park deep in the heart of Canada, and will attempt to maintain business as usual with only an iPhone and a fishing rod.
Though they know it will be intense, the whole team is confident of their success, and they fully support the chance to challenge themselves and their flagship planning software, Shield.
Chris Whitten, Software Developer & Munitions expert had this to say: “Ask the head IT person at any of a hundred different software companies what their single greatest worry is, and they’ll all say the same thing: What if a pack of hungry raccoons takes down the development server? I’m looking forward to seeing if KingsBridge’s own failover architecture is as rodent-proof as we think it is.”
We asked Skip Williams, CEO & Director of Mayhem, why he chose this particular scenario to exercise his own Business Continuity Plan, and his answer surprised us:
“When we’re hired to help an organization test it’s plan, we always emphasize that it is indeed the PLAN that is being tested, not the people. Too often, employees feel a lot of stress during an exercise, thinking they are the ones under the microscope, when really we’re watching how the recovery procedures fare, not giving a pass/fail mark on the people themselves. But this time it’s different. This is our own company, and I wanted to put my team in the high-stress environment of a campfire beside a crystal-clear lake to see how well they’ll perform. If they can’t go two nights without sleep, with nothing to live on but raw hot dogs and 5 cases of warm beer, then quite frankly– there’s no place for them at KingsBridge.”