KingsBridge Blog

App-y 4th of July!

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You’ve been asking for it, now you’ve got it! KingsBridge Shield is available (for free!) for Android devices in the Google Play store.

While you’ve always been able to (and still can) log-in to your Shield account from a mobile device, the app now allows you to have a locally stored copy of your plan. So, even if you don’t have connectivity, you still have the most recently synced version of your plan in hand.

Download it, give it try, and let us know what you think. As with the full version of Shield, your suggestions will make future versions that much better.

(Be patient fellow Apple users, the iOS version is next!)

With Shield on your device, you can throw it in your pocket or backpack and get back to the more important things in life, like enjoying the 4th of July holiday!

Our own Skip Williams is enjoying the 4th in fine form mountain bike racing all this week in the BC Bike Race! You can catch a quick glimpse of him at the 1:30 mark in this video, and you’ll recognize The Director of Good Times, Brett Tippie running the interviews.

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Whether you’re racing through the trees like Skip, or just relaxing around a grill with family & friends, here’s wishing you a safe happy holiday with Shield in your pocket!

You need a break, but your plan doesn’t.

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The dog-days of summer are here! As you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re sitting in your favorite deck chair at the cottage instead of your office cubicle. We all need a break from the usual routine of the workday, a chance to relax, re-charge and spend some time away from the many screens that fill our days.

Your vacation provides an opportunity to do something that not enough of us do- let go of the reins of your Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) plan and put someone else in charge of maintaining and updating it.

Cross-training is a vital part of every cog in the organization, and your BC/DR plan is no different. It could be something minor, like just having someone else do the weekly update to the personnel records, or maybe you want to throw out a larger challenge and have your team run a table-top exercise while you’re not around to jump in and save the day. Are you confident that they would come through it with flying colours? If the answer is, “no”, all the more reason to do it!

It’s also a great time to run yourself through a drill or two. Do you use a BC/DR planning tool like KingsBridge Shield that allows you to access your plan from a mobile device? If so, when’s the last time you did? Next rainy afternoon, grab a mug of something hot (or a bottle of something cold) and run your own one-person exercise from your phone or tablet, you’ll likely find some holes to fill.

Meanwhile, stop reading this and get some fresh air & sun! Only 136 days until winter…

Shield news!

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For those of you who use KingsBridge Shield Gold or Platinum, you now have some powerful data export options for your Threat Risk Analysis and Business Impact Analysis results. Have a look at the new additions on the “Administration” page, and by all means let us know if you’d like a quick tour of the new features, we’ll be happy to show you how it works.

BCP: The ‘B’ stands for Bacon

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KingsBridge is having another great year! We’re busier than ever on both the software front (pretty exciting stuff coming, keep watching!) as well as our core business of Business Continuity Planning consulting.

So how do we find time to make a delicious, gourmet Bacon Explosion on the corporate smoker on a Thursday? It takes a bit of time to prepare and quite a while to cook.

No single one of us could blow-off a morning to dedicate to creating this feast, but when we make it a group effort – it happens pretty quickly! Chris showed up with a couple of pounds of bacon & sausages. Steve started cooking the bacon for the inside while Matt made the bacon weave. All under the watchful eye of Melanie and Jason who were mixing Caesar’s for the kitchen staff (Hey, it’s summer and it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!) and getting the smoker up to temperature.

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We’ve done this a number of times now, so we have it down to a pretty quick routine. In & out of the kitchen in less than 30 minutes, then just wait a few hours for the final product.

So what’s the connection to BCP? There are a few:

  • Delegate: If you try to do it all yourself, it’s not going to happen. Or- it’ll take a long, long time. Or- it’ll be a less-than-perfect plan. That’s not a cheap shot at your skills; it’s the reality of the many other tasks that you have to deal with on top of managing your BCP. So, break it up into smaller “bite size” tasks and spread the work around a handful of trusted team members. You’ll be surprised by A) How much faster things come together, and B) the quality of the work you get, assuming you picked the right sous-chefs.
  • Practice, practice, practice. We’ve burned a couple of Bacon Explosions, and made one particularly cheesy mess in the smoker on one occasion. But, with practice – we get a superior product now. Same goes for your planning: Run table-top exercises, test the plan, keep your people engaged in continually updating and improving the plan.   Do this for a year, and you’ll be impressed with how robust your plan will become.
  • Use the right tools: We couldn’t make the masterpiece that is the KingsBridge Bacon Explosion without our Traeger Smoker. (Yes, a shameless plug for Traeger, but they deserve it – our lunches are off the hook now!) Similarly, you need the right software to manage your plans efficiently and reliably. MS Word and Excel are great, but do they provide the full solution you need to write, manage, & access your plans? Whether you choose KingsBridge Shield or another package, we hope you’ll use SOMETHING that is designed for BCP.

Do all of the above on an ongoing basis and you’ll have a reliable, tested, up-to-date plan in place. You never know, it might save your bacon one day.

What’s the point?

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Work life at KingsBridge is fantastic, best place I’ve ever been employed. Having said that, when a warm sunny Friday in July rolls along, I still can’t wait to bust out for the weekend!

Last week I went camping at a beautiful back-country spot, accessible only by boat. Miles from civilization (and my laptop), it was the perfect way to turn off the rest of the world and just enjoy the sound of waves lapping against the rocks as I sipped something cold by the campfire.

So why did that damn Bumblebee get me thinking about work?

It was Saturday afternoon and, walking in bare feet, I was paying close attention to the rocky ground when I spotted a Bee, dutifully working away at pulling nectar out of small flowers. Nothing out of the ordinary, it’s what they do.

Then I looked closer… The poor guy must have been in a fight, or flown through a fire or something. Whatever the reason, his wings were almost gone and flight was no longer an option. Yet still, there he was collecting nectar that he’d never be able to get back to the hive.

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Why? It was driving me crazy watching him pour so much effort into something that would never be realized.

So how does this tie in to Business Continuity Planning (BCP)? It reminded me of a talk our Skip Williams gave at a recent Disaster Recovery Journal SpringWorld show. Historically, BCP involved thinking through different responses for all possible scenarios that might impact you. Hurricane? Use this plan. Water main break? Use that plan… dozens of plans for dozens of possibilities. Countless hours of work for plans that may never see the light of day. Just like the Bee pouring his last efforts into something that will never be used.

Skip’s point is that we should all be thinking about how to fix the situation we’re in, not worrying about whether it was a fire or a flood that put us there. It will make for less work, and a smarter, more effective plan.

So, the next time you’re updating your plan (you do that on a frequent, scheduled basis, RIGHT?) think about the Bee: Are you spending time on scenarios that will never happen, or are you focusing on how you can get your organization off the ground again after something clips your wings?

Wear a helmet!

Brett's new helmet

Why in the world is KingsBridge so excited about Brett Tippie’s new helmet?

Because his shiny new brain-bucket is a lot like our flagship software tool, KingsBridge Shield.

That helmet protects Brett in the event of a gravity-related disaster. Inside it is every piece of information that he needs to continue running the machine that is Brett… contact info for the critical “personnel” in his life, it houses the “computer” that keeps his lungs breathing & his heart pumping, and it contains the knowledge of how to keep the bike on track even when there’s an unexpected interruption on the trail.

Photo ~ Scott Markewitz

Brett Tippie going huge!  (Photo ~ Scott Markewitz)

Shield does the same thing for your organization. It contains and protects databases of all the people, systems, and information critical to continuing on in the face of anything from the minor annoyance of a brief power-outage to a crippling event like a hurricane. Shield is the interface between all those people, systems, and information. On their own, they are not enough to see you through an incident. The key is to have all that content organized and connected in the form of a well-written plan so you don’t have to lose precious time wondering what to do next, you just follow the steps you thought through and tested well before they were needed.

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See that red and yellow shield on the side of the helmet?  That’s our “KDRLife” tag.  KDR stands for KingsBridge Disaster Recovery.  The “Life” part means that we want you to get out there and live your life, not worrying about the “what if’s” that might interrupt it.  The helmet lets Brett ride without worrying, our Shield software lets you ride, or do whatever it is that you have passion for, without worrying.

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We hope our Director of Good Times never finds out how well that helmet works, and likewise – we hope you never find out how well Shield will help you through a business interruption. Just the same, we do hope Brett wears that helmet, and we hope you’ll continue using Shield.

See you on the trails!

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