Business continuity? Sure, but how much will we earn from it – or at least, how much will we save? Business continuity managers often appear to be destined to an eternal quest for hard data on the return on investment for their activity. The situation is complicated by the fact that business continuity is almost by definition a non-event: it’s the absence of business interruption that defines effective continuity. It’s rather like insurance, and getting organisations to fork out for their insurance premiums. Perhaps that’s why the insurance company below offers an online calculator to show companies how much they’ll save with improved risk management, an area of interest for BCM as well. Read the rest of this entry »
The Global Catastrophe Recap for April 2013 from reinsurance company Aon Benfield gives a region by region breakdown of recent damages and costs after different natural disasters. The Impact Forecasting organisation, part of Aon Benfield, uses data on disasters to build models of catastrophes to better understand the risks. This helps customers better understand the risks too, and creates an opportunity to improve business continuity. In April 2013, the sole natural disaster referenced in Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands) was the flooding in New Zealand. Three months earlier however, flooding in Australia had caused 100 times the level of damage of the April floods in New Zealand. Read the rest of this entry »
Crime-busting is a key part of their activities, but police forces in Australia also have a much wider remit to protect communities. People naturally turn to the police of help and guidance if there is an emergency, making police officers the first to respond to many situations requiring rescue or evacuation, for instance. Senior officers may be tasked with the job of controlling emergency situations and coordinating support for teams from other public organisations or government agencies. Police forces in different states also make information available on their websites on how disasters handled and business continuity maximised. In all of this, however, there’s one bit of info in particular that should be emphasized…
The 2013 Resilient Australia Awards (RAA) may put the accent more on measurable accomplishment, rather than “boisterous and uncritical enthusiasm and excitement” (an online dictionary definition of “rah-rah”). Notwithstanding the natural keenness of people to do a good job, the awards have been put in place to recognise achievement and innovation in resilience: increasing the safety and robustness of communities and their capability to manage any emergency situation. This annual program began in 2000 under the name of the “Australian Safer Communities Awards”. Does the name change also make a difference about who can enter?
The Data Centre Risk Index (DCRI) has been published for 2013. Companies looking for IT business continuity may have to choose between being the safest or the greenest when it comes to installing their data centres. Overall, the worldwide winner is the United States. In Europe, the top country is the United Kingdom. The UK is also second worldwide, but there is a significant gap between first (US) and second (UK) place in terms of comparative risk. Other results include Hong Kong maintaining its position as the place in Asia with the least risk for constructing a data centre. However, at least one mega-network company in the US chose to go outside both the UK and the US to a rather different, greener location. Read the rest of this entry »
Resilience as a subject is getting wider coverage nowadays. For example, Resilient Australia is an example of an organisation promoting the concept and holding competitions to award prizes to entities judged to have done outstanding work in the area of resilience. Resilient Organisations (ResOrgs) is a public research programme based in New Zealand as a collaboration between research and industry. What then is resilience? While there is always the dictionary definition of the word “resilience” to fall back on, it may also be helpful to use a resilience management model, in the same way that business continuity models exist. Yet is there actually anyone out there using a resilience management model? Read the rest of this entry »
Some areas of an enterprise are naturally more sensitive to business continuity than others. Whereas interruptions may be a nuisance in accounting, they may simply be unacceptable in manufacturing production lines aligned to lean and just-in-time manufacturing methods. As facilities increase in size, they tend to use more automation. The Manufacturing Execution System or MES is an example. It manages and monitors in real time what’s going on in the factory, which may include the activities of people, robots and machines. The MES has to be reliable or production won’t happen – sounds like a case for business continuity?
In the property business, the three most important things are (so they say) location, location and location. You can hear the wisdom of the ages in those words when it comes to buying, selling and renting – as long as the estate agent’s systems are in working order. And that according to a survey recently done by Travelers, a property insurance company in the US, is where the problem is. In a survey of 200 real estate (property) professionals, the company found that a whopping 57 per cent were operating without any plan for business continuity. But if you think that’s shocking, wait till you hear the other statistic that the survey revealed.
The Agile approach is currently in vogue in a number of business areas, one of the better-known examples being software development. The same principles that can help keep software applications aligned with business needs and available on a timely basis can also be applied to business continuity. The name “Agile” refers to the notion that the plan being followed can be modified relatively often if certain key principles are observed. It’s a concept that can offer a couple of advantages in getting business continuity both implemented and appreciated…
It’s that time of the year again, and surveys are running to see who will win the title of Business Continuity Person of the Year. Common criteria include the most effective, most innovative, most promising newcomer, and best lifetime achievement. There are even a couple of new categories being offered: best crisis communications and best business continuity through partnership. While there may well have been exceptional performances in these areas, it’s a fact that unsung heroes of business continuity also exist in other domains. Do any of the following “alternative awards” sound like ones you feel you deserve? Read the rest of this entry »
The bigger IT systems get, the more complex they get, the more chance there is a failure somewhere inside and a need for disaster recovery. It’s mathematical – as you multiply the number of components or the number of computer procedures called, you multiply the possibilities for something to go wrong. Even the biggest guns in computing experience this. Google has experienced problems recently with its Google Drive data storage, and also with its mail and application services. American Airlines suffered a technology failure in April that forced it to ground all its planes in the US for several hours on end. Does this mean that failure will eventually become a certainty as systems get even more complex? Read the rest of this entry »
When a global IT distributor like Ingram Micro gets on board the HaaS (Hardware as a Service) bandwagon, you know it’s really on the move. The concept behind Hardware as a Service is that organisations no longer have to own, support or in general worry about the IT hardware that is present on site. Instead, for a monthly fee, they offload all of these aspects onto a managed server provider and can thus redeploy IT staff on strategic business projects and avoid tying up capital. All of which begs the question – how reliable is that? Read the rest of this entry »
Every so often (business continuity plan updates, for example), figuratively speaking it’s time to get the crystal ball out and see what the future holds. This is an ambitious undertaking given how difficult it is to know what the weather will be like next week, let alone business in six months’ time. Modern science has also crushed lingering hopes that any certainty might exist anywhere in the universe. This means BC planners have to bite the bullet and accept that figuring out what might be coming down the line means building on uncertainties instead. But then which are the right uncertainties to consider? Read the rest of this entry »
By a quirk of language, the term “threat landscape” is currently used to refer specifically to cyber-threats. These threats alone already keep business continuity professionals on their toes, even if the nitty-gritty of protecting a company in this area is often the direct responsibility of the IT department. However, considering that threats were confined to the web would be short-sighted to say the least. BC practitioners may find themselves having to do educate their colleagues if they want their organisation to think beyond worms and viruses. Read the rest of this entry »
Want to know what’s on the radar screen for economic and technological risks? Or is your interest more in societal and environmental threats? The Global Risks 2012 report from the World Economic Forum has something for everything. It breaks risks out into five global categories – the four we’ve just mentioned, plus a fifth, geopolitical risks. While some of this is beyond the sphere of influence of most individual companies or associations (for example, the militarisation of space), other categories list risks over which they may have more control. Read the rest of this entry »