KingsBridge Blog

Stop Confusing Emergency Response with Business ContinuityKnow the difference and know when to initiate your BCP.

Stop Confusing Emergency Response with Business Continuity know the difference and know when to initiate your BCP.

Imagine the following:

You are sitting in your office when you hear the fire alarm go off. You sigh, look around you to see if anyone else is leaving, logout of your computer, and head toward the stairs to exit the building. Once outside it is evident that there is a problem; smoke is streaming from an upper office window and people on the sidewalk are taking photos, messaging family members and offering reassurance that they are ok. The fire department has pulled up, and ambulances arrive to assist the wounded. It takes an hour for the fire to be located and put out, then the building is cleared and the injured are taken to the hospital. It is obvious that no one is going back to work today; so what happens tomorrow? Or the next day? Next week?

A lot of businesses have difficulties sorting out the difference between Emergency Response vs Business Continuity when an incident occurs; this is why organizations should identify and understand this distinction in advance, and consequently know what emergency response services and stakeholders expect of them.  

In a nutshell, Emergency Response focuses on the safety and protection of life, assets, and the environment, whereas Business Continuity focuses on continuing the operations of the business until it can return back to normal.

Many organizations use an Incident Flow Chart, similar to the one shown in Figure 1 below, to help assist them through Emergency Response steps and determine whether to enact their Business Continuity Plan (BCP).


Figure 1 – Incident Flow Chart
*ERMT = Emergency Response Management Team

All of the steps that take place from the time the incident occurs up to the point where the ERMT chooses to declare a disaster (the second diamond shape in Figure 1 – Incident Flow Chart) are Emergency Response steps. Only when an organization chooses to declare a disaster is the BCP enacted.

Some organizations might choose to declare immediately, given the extent of the damage that is evident. Others might wait for 24 hours to gather more information before making this decision. Regardless of when that decision occurs, there should be a previously identified standard that describes the guidelines for choosing to enact, or not enact, the BCP. It is important to remember, too, that while Emergency Response and Business Continuity are two different things, it is possible that some Emergency Response steps will be carried out at the same time as some Business Continuity steps, depending on the incident.

Not sure what to prepare for or how? Need software to help manage your business continuity plan or maybe you need some help getting your plan written or exercised? We can help. Find out more at http://www.disasterrecovery.com.

Why the new Shield 2.0?

 

If you’re an existing Shield user, you might be wondering why KingsBridge decided to give its Shield tool a face lift.  While Shield 2.0 might just look like another pretty face, there’s some amazing functionality going on behind the scenes to make your planning easier and faster.  If you’re new to Shield, or considering KingsBridge for your Business Continuity Plan, these updates are also pretty exciting.  Here are just a few of the features we’ve added:  

  1. It’s faster!  We’ve done a lot of optimizing to make core elements of your Shield experience faster.  Lots of data table edits to make?  No problem.  Giant databases to manage?  Simple stuff.  Think a browser based tool will have trouble? Not Shield!!  In just a few clicks your edits are complete.  Shield is optimized to limit the reloading needed between changes.
  2. Data tables are paginated.  No more endless scrolling to find what you’re looking for.  Slice and dice your data tables by 10, 20, or 50 rows per page to show you exactly what you want to see when you need to see it.
  3. Table column re-ordering.  Shield has a default Data Table Column order, but if you want to see the content differently it’s no problem!!  Change the order to whatever you need.
  4. Hyperlinking to Shield sections.  Tired of trying to navigate through complex websites?  Shield uses hyperlinking to take you to your next response step or critical document, making your tasks just a little bit easier.  
  5. Breadcrumb Trail.  Hopefully you don’t have to use your response plan frequently, meaning your users might not be really familiar with the plan layout.  To avoid unnecessary clicks, use the new breadcrumb trail to navigate back to where you came from with ease.
  6. Fully customized publishing.  Need a PDF of your plan but don’t want to include EVERYTHING?  Tired of selecting a million subcategories?  Publishing is now fully customizable.  Select as much or as little as you like and then with a single mouse click your PDF is created.
  7. All new Help Resources.  Shield 1.0 did away with the “manual” and introduced topic specific help videos for when you needed them.  In Shield 2.0 we’ve re-recorded all of the Shield Help videos as well as created step by step instructions for all the major functions of Shield.  Have a question?  Visit our support page at https://blog.disasterrecovery.com/help/ to find all the new content we’ve created for you.
  8. Groundwork for future features.  Our roadmap for future features requires a very secure foundation.  We took the time with Shield 2.0 to put down a strong foundation before we continue to move forward.  We use Shield every day for our consulting work and are always looking for better ways to complete repetitive tasks.  With the foundation work out of the way, we are building a whole new suite of tools to make your planning faster and easier!

We have spent a lot of time speaking to and working with our users to understand their needs.  Shield 2.0 represents their feedback and our best efforts to exceed the expectations of Shield – The Plan Builder.  Our goal is to continually deliver a product that makes your planning quicker, easier and more customizeable.

If you have features you’d like to see in Shield or would like to become part of our beta testing group, please contact us at support@disasterrecovery.com.  We’d love to hear from you.

About KingsBridge

KingsBridge offers private businesses and government organizations a unique combination of industry knowledge and cost-effective disaster recovery / business continuity solutions. KingsBridge SHIELD and Consulting provide the tools to assess possible threats and create tailored plans which mitigate risks and minimize losses in the event of a disruption to business.

 

The Essentials in Business Continuity Program Management

I was recently asked the question, “So we have this Business Continuity Plan.  All of the steps are documented, the contact information is confirmed, and the supporting documentation is up to date.  Now what?”  An excellent question!  And one that requires a little bit of explanation.

The Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is simply that; a plan to help your business continue operating when there is a disaster.  As my inquiring associate outlined, it should include everything your business needs in order to continue operations after an incident.  But there needs to be a structure in place at your business in order to maintain this plan.  Enter the Business Continuity Program.

The Business Continuity Program lays out all of the steps needed to make sure your plan will be implemented smoothly when a disaster occurs.  It includes a plan of action for:

  • Socializing the plan throughout your organization.  It can’t be implemented if people don’t know about it!
  • Maintaining the plan content.  The information in your plan is only as helpful as it is accurate, so it needs to be reviewed on a regular basis.
  • Training employees on their responsibilities.  Everyone at your business needs to know what to do – and what not to do – when the BCP is enacted.
  • Exercising the plan.  Ask your employees to sit down and run through the BCP in a hypothetical scenario (like a fire, bomb threat, or tornado).  Exercising helps to socialize and maintain the plan, as well as train employees on their responsibilities.
  • Auditing the plan against industry standards.  Different industries or countries have different requirements for their BCPs.  It is important that your BCP comply with appropriate standards to achieve a successful recovery.

This might seem like a lot of work when you are just starting out, so start small.  Start with drafting the schedule for how often each of these will be completed (quarterly, annually, or every three years).  Then determine how they will be completed.  In Part 1 of “BCP on a Budget”, it was suggested that standard evacuation drills can be used to do a quick exercise by asking employees what they would do if they could not re-enter the building for the day.  Other suggestions include socializing the plan by adding it to the agenda for monthly or quarterly department meetings, or including BCP responsibilities in employees’ job descriptions and performance reviews.

Regardless of the methods used, putting the time and effort into developing the Business Continuity Program now will save you and the organization from missteps if or when disaster strikes later.  

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to Business Continuity Program Management. Want to learn more about how to build a BC Plan and develop a BC Program?  Our software and services can help.

Find out more at www.disasterrecovery.com.

BCP on a Budget Part II:

Earlier this month we set you up with six tips for getting your business continuity plan started without breaking the bank.  This week we continue the series with six new ideas to get your plan off the ground when dollars are tight.

  1. Don’t get bogged down in the Threat Risk Assessment.  While the threat risk assessment is important for risk mitigation, it’s not a necessity for getting your plan started.  Regardless of what causes a business interruption, it’s likely to result in one of four possible results; no building, no people, no systems or no third party providers.  Writing your plan to prepare for these four possibilities will allow you to skip the arduous threat risk assessment process (for now) and ensure that regardless of what strikes, you’ll have a plan to address it.
  2. Try a ‘light’ Business Impact Assessment.  If you don’t have the time to look at all the business processes within your organization, just start with the obvious.  If your business is making widgets then you better make sure your widget sales, manufacturing and distribution business processes are addressed.  Get the basics covered and save the rest for another phase of the project.
  3. Incorporate business impact assessment thinking into the change management process.  Adding another widget line or bringing on a new piece of software?  Ask yourself how critical that new widget line or software will be to your business before you implement them and then revisit your recovery priorities.  Your business impact assessment will remain up to date every time your business changes without having to go through a formal ‘business impact analysis’ process.
  4. Keep old hardware ‘just in case’.  While it’s great that the workforce is getting more mobile, not everyone has a laptop and those that do, don’t always take them home at the end of the day.  When replacing hardware, consider storing the ‘expired’ laptops, cell phones etc. in an offsite location where they can be put back into use should they be needed.
  5. Do an after-hours laptop audit.  Wondering if those laptops really are going home at the end of the day?  If this is your organization’s policy, roam the offices once everyone has gone home for the day.  Find a laptop?  Pick it up and leave your business card.  The delinquent employee will need to make the ‘walk of shame’ to your office to reclaim their hardware – a definite deterrent to leaving it behind a second time.  This is one easy way to “exercise” an important policy that supports your BC plan.
  6. Leverage evacuation drills as mini-exercises.  While there is ‘no time’ to exercise the business continuity plan, evacuation drills are often required.  This is a perfect opportunity to pounce on an unsuspecting team at their assembly location, and do a little scenario exercise with them.  Questions like ‘What would you do if you were told you couldn’t go back to work today?’, ‘What if your office was in flames right now?’ and “How would you manage today’s critical tasks if this weren’t a drill?” will get them thinking.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this two-part series on BCP on a Budget.  If you missed Part I, you can find it below.

Need software to help manage your business continuity plan or maybe you need some help getting your plan written or exercised?  We can help.  Find out more at www.disasterrecovery.com.

BCP on a budget a two-part series:

You know you need a Business Continuity Plan but, like so many organizations, there’s no extra cash lying around to invest in the process.  Sound familiar?  In this two-part series, we provide you with a dozen tips and tricks to get started on your plan without breaking the bank.

  1. Talk to your insurance provider.  Business continuity plans demonstrate that an organization is aware of risk and willing to mitigate it.  Depending on your insurance provider, you may be able to negotiate a discount on your premiums if you present them with a copy of your plan.
  2. Check other budgets for extra cash.  Business continuity impacts every aspect of a business so it can be argued that a little bit of budget from every department should go toward the development and maintenance of the plan.  If you can negotiate a small slice from a number of budgets, you may find yourself with just enough to get your planning process off the ground.
  3. Talk to your sales department.  Are customers asking for you to have a business continuity plan?  This is becoming a common requirement and you may be losing business as a result.  Check with your sales department to see if they’ve lost deals as a result of not having a plan to offer.  Winning those deals may be enough to fund the planning process.
  4. Consider a software tool.  Time is money and you can save time by creating and managing your plan in a software tool.  KingsBridge Shield offers hundreds of pages of customizable templates and centralized databases to make your plan quick to write and easy to maintain.
  5. Negotiate payment plans with your vendor.  Don’t have the cash upfront to pay for software?  Negotiate monthly payment plans to reduce the impact on your cash flow.  This can work for consulting work too.  Sometimes investing a small amount in a few experts can save you a large amount time, and thus money, down the road.
  6. Leverage the near misses.  If you already have a plan, use that weekend flood or small storage room fire as opportunities to review how your plan might have stood up if the small incident had been something bigger.  If you don’t already have a plan, these near misses are great conversation starters.  Capturing the ideas that are generated can be just what you need to start pulling a plan together.

Watch for part II – “BCP on a Budget Part II”.

Need software to help manage your business continuity plan or maybe you need some help getting your plan written or exercised?  We can help.  Find out more at www.disasterrecovery.com.