This Week in Business Continuity: Geotagging Your Every Move, Cyberattacks Here To Stay and The Real Cost of a Snow Day

An article in the Economist online about the recent Business Travel Show in London highlights a key issue for any business traveler: the future of geotagging devices and, more importantly, their place of prominence in each of our futures.  It certainly bears consideration.  A company’s ability to track each of its employees’ specific locations is becoming more and more an available option and will become, at least for willing participants, ever more ubiquitous within a very few years.  Those who aren’t willing to participate, it is assumed, will be invited to seek employment elsewhere.

Geotagging has been around for a while now but it was previously relegated to other activities such as geocaching and naval and aerial real-time navigation.  Now days the technology is being used to show each of us how to get where we’re going, to provide a host of locally available and even automated services for our convenience . . . and to track us.  Even as I type ‘geotag’ in the Word file as I write this, it’s telling me that the auto-correcting spellcheck is just fine with the word.

geolocationNot that the tech is without upsides.  One company is exploring sourcing real-time travel data directly from air traffic control even before the airlines announce any delays to passengers and using the information to proactively rebook connecting flights and/or book a hotel for those employees who will be affected.  A little spooky, sure, but definitely handy.  Or how about an app that gives you step-by-step (literally) directions from the jetway to a cab that’s already been booked for you upon landing?  Or this one:  “Once at the hotel, beacons that can recognise (sic) travelers’ phones will mean that there is no need to check-in at reception; the device will guide a traveler straight to his room, where, in concert with that room’s BLE transmitter, his phone will also act as his key. Once he is ensconced in his chamber, establishments can keep tabs on whether he has remained there (in which case they can offer deals on dinner and the like) or left the building (in which case they can send the maid up to clean the room).”  Change happens quickly these days.

How do you feel about all this tracking, even if we’re fairly powerless to stop the evolution and adoption?  Is the admittedly considerable convenience offered worth the sacrifice of yet a little more privacy in a world where privacy in general is becoming little more than a quaint historical notion?  And how might it apply to your organization’s continuity plan and communication protocols?

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In other mildly disquieting news, fending off cyberattacks and potentially resultant disruptions will soon become a permanent and growing priority for chief information security officers and business continuity managers.  We all remember what happened to Sony last year.  It’s a good reminder to start or refine your continuity plans relevant to a possible hack because it can happen to any company without any warning and, seemingly, without any cause.  As well as a reminder to always, always keep your own digital nose clean, not only on the job but also on any social media you engage in.

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And what’s the real cost of a snow day . . . or a whole series of them?  How about a billion dollars?  That’s the amount that IHS Global Insight estimates was lost in wages and profits this harrowing winter just in the state of Massachusetts alone.  Massachusetts, the seventh smallest state in the U.S.  Share that one at your next budgeting meeting should anyone question the need for a solid continuity plan.

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or if you’d like a free 30-minute planning session, let us know.

$500 Million In Losses In The Last Week. Is Your Company Deployed Because of The Blizzard?

This article in The Boston Globe about massive economic losses due to severe weather is a couple of days old but the only thing that’s not current about it is, ironically, the verb tense.  “Caused” should be updated to “still causing” given that for the third Monday in a row – with a couple of other smaller systems thrown into the mix in the interim – massive amounts of snow are falling in the northeast U.S. causing schools, highways and many, many businesses to shut down.

FEMA-declaresGranted, that figure pales in comparison to the damage caused by a typical hurricane.  1991’s hurricane Bob is the 32nd costliest storm in recorded U.S. history with more than $2 billion in damages but have you ever even heard of Bob?  Nonetheless, $500 million is a lot of money.  And the northeast U.S. isn’t faring any better this week.  Cindy Fitzgibbon, Boston meteorologist with WCVB, said this morning that prior to January 23rd, Boston had only received about 5″ of snow this season but more than 6 feet of it in the 18 days since.

Given that severe weather is the number one reason FEMA declares disasters in the U.S., it makes me wonder how many companies have had to finally deploy staff to fail-over sites in order to ensure division or enterprise continuity.  Similar in scale if not in origin, it reminds me of Continuity Housing’s handling of the urgent, massive and substantially prolonged need for deployment housing following the tragic Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010.  At the peak of the response – which itself lasted four years  – housing management was provided for thousands of people each night – month after month – saving millions of dollars for our client, not to mention sparing them the headache of managing the logistics of whose head was on which pillow in what building, as well as a nightmarish stack of invoices.

Photo: wn.com

Snow in Boston this week. Photo: wn.com

Is your company or organization currently deploying staff to keep operations running smoothly in response to the blizzards?  If so, how’s it going?  Comment (anonymously if you prefer) below.  Business continuity management only improves with each shared experience and that’s the permanent goal: improving the solutions that we provide for our employers, our clients, our vendors, our employees and their families (and even their pets, if necessary).  Here’s hoping the onslaught from Mother Nature lets up in the coming days and weeks.  After all, the spring severe weather season is right around the corner.  And then comes June 1st.

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Both of the most recent webinars in the Association of Contingency Planners webinar series are now up and available for viewing at your leisure.  Complete descriptions for both are available at the links below where you can watch.

  • Recent Developments: ISO/Technical Committee 292, Security. Watch here.
  • Bioterrorism Preparedness for Businesses: How to Stay Operational, Even During an Anthrax Attack. Watch here.

Posted by Fred Rogers on 10 February 2015.

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or if you’d like a free 30-minute consultation, let us know.

Business Continuity Highlights from January Including Where You’ll Soon Be Able To Get Checked In At A Hotel By A Robot

Once again much of the U.S. is in the throes of a severe winter storm with both Chicago and Boston recording near-record amounts of snowfall.  But what about the blown (pardon the pun) weather forecast from early last week that predicted that snow would practically bury New York City and surrounding areas?  I’ve worked in both the media and in the private weather forecasting industry and there are two parts to any severe weather forecast: the data and forecast as stand-alone information provided by the meteorologists . . . and the different ways media organizations decide to communicate that information.  I don’t have a problem with last week’s forecast in and of itself.  They really do their very best and weather forecasting accuracy has advanced light years in the last, um, 20 years.

sky-fallingBut the media abuses the information to boost ratings and inflate their ad rates and that practice isn’t going to change any time soon.  What concerns me is how the public will respond the next time we’re told the sky is falling.  People might decide to heed the warnings and they might not.  The major snowfall last week missed NYC by as few as 30 miles so the forecast was technically fairly accurate.  As for how the media over-reacted and how the local governments indicated the citizens were supposed to respond, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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An interesting side note to the storms last week and this week (the one this week being obnoxiously referred to as both “Darius” and “Linus”) is what’s apparently the new normal of local and regional government entities imposing a flat-out ban on civilian travel on the roadways.  That’s both logical and a little bit scary.  There’s no question that such a ban both reduces the number of weather-associated injuries and deaths as well as the amount of risk and expense incurred by emergency response agencies.  But how often can we expect such similar curfews in the future and for what other reasons might they be enacted?  What do you think?

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Last week was Continuity Housing’s annual retreat and general meeting.  As always it was a good chance to spend time in-person with the entire team considering that we’re based from coast to coast and quite a few places in between.  Achievements were reviewed, new client solutions were discussed and a lot of new goals were set.  One of the more interesting aspects of the meeting came at the very start in the hotel conference room when the captain of the catering department gave the now-standard safety chat.  “There are no fire drills scheduled today so if you hear the alarm, act immediately.”  Nice touch.

Continuity Housing’s Global Account Management team. As always, we needed a bigger conference room this year.

Continuity Housing’s Global Account Management team. As always, we needed a bigger conference room this year.

A new one I hadn’t heard before?  “In the event of a medical emergency, one of you begin CPR, one of you dial the desk with the house phone and tell the operator to call an ambulance and two of you call 911 on your cell phones.  We’ve found that the more people who place calls, the faster the response.”

It’s only a matter of time before instructions on how to respond to an active shooter situation is included in the pre-game huddle but the sooner the better.

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More than a year after publicity and lobbying started for hotels to make it easier for anyone, especially children, to dial 911 from a hotel room – i.e., without having to dial 9911 or wait for the second dial tone, etc. – the vast majority of hotel chains have made the change or are beginning the process.  The process began last year following the death of a woman in a hotel room when her daughter was unable to quickly dial for help after her mother had been shot.  More than 70% of hotel properties, which translates to roughly 7,800 properties, are engaged in the modification and more are expected to do so by the end of this year.

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Kudos to Marriott for doing the right thing and vowing never to block wifi access at properties they manage, a decision announced in a communique to industry professionals and posted on their website on January 15th and updated a few days ago.  Well, never again that is.  A belated move, perhaps, but it shows their willingness to respond to guest concerns.  We salute Marriott for supporting business continuity professionals by making sure that it’s always safe to do business while you’re staying there.

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You can still register for this Wednesday’s Association of Contingency Planners webinar, Bioterrorism Preparedness for Businesses: How to Stay Operational, Even During an Anthrax Attack.  You can get more information and register here for free (as always since the ACP webinar series is sponsored by Continuity Housing).  Go ahead and register even if you’re not available on Wednesday morning so that you automatically receive the link to the recording of the webinar.  [Update 04Feb15: the recording of that webinar is now posted.]

And you can watch the ACP webinar from last week – Recent Developments: ISO/Technical Committee 292, Securityhere on Continuity Housing’s YouTube channel.

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What happens if your email host (be it corporate or generic mass market) tweaks the spam folders and forgets or decides not to tell you?  Take a moment and imagine the problems that could cause, especially if some of your clients or vendors use mass-market email services such as sbcglobal.net or even Gmail.  Email server hosts typically make these and similar adjustments very early on Sunday mornings and over major holidays when traffic is slower.  Consider setting up a monthly reminder to email yourself from several different types of accounts and check which ones make it through and which ones don’t.  Yet another picky little thing to put on the list but one that could pay off large.  And besides, we’re business continuity professionals.  It’s the picky little things that help us sleep at night.

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Here’s something to look forward to, maybe.  A Japanese firm will open a theme park hotel this summer staffed up to 90% by robots “Robots will provide porter service, room cleaning, front desk and other services to reduce costs and to ensure comfort.”  Comfort?  They’ve evidently never seen Westworld.

robot

“Checkout is at 11:00. Enjoy your stay!” Photo: telegraph.co.uk

The hotel will also utilize facial recognition for guest room door access thereby eliminating the need for keys.  I’m usually an early adopter of new technology but I don’t know if I like that any more than I do the idea of using your smartphone as a credit card.  At least your IT folks will like it when it’s time for a fail-over deployment.

Off-peak single rooms will only run about $60 a night with that cost doubling during the busy season, although the theme park utilizes “actual-sized copies of old Dutch buildings to bring the experience of the Netherlands to Japan” and I’m not quite sure when the busy season is for that.

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or if you’d like a free 30-minute consultation, let us know.

Posted by Fred Rogers on 03 February 2015.

Texas Ranks Lowest In Disaster Preparedness, FEMA’s Not Ready And Other ‘Highlights’ To Keep You On Your Toes

A colleague recently forwarded me an article detailing the results of an interesting study* that estimates how well the citizens of each state in the U.S. are prepared to survive a natural disaster versus how prone each state is to suffer natural disasters of different types.  Vermont ranked as “most prepared” and Wyoming as “most safe” whereas Texas came in dead last in both of those rankings.  (Texas ended up in the exact middle of last year’s analysis of how well each of the states would be able to resist a zombie apocalypse.  Certainly welcome news for those of us who live here.)  Frankly, I was a little surprised by the results.  Considering the number of hurricanes and tropical storms that have impacted the Gulf Coast over the last 130 years – not to mention the constant threat of severe flooding and tornadoes – I’d always thought of those in the region as being a fairly well-prepared bunch.

job-securityWho is prepared?  Evidently people who live in states where heavy snowfall is a much more common occurrence.   Folks in Wyoming, Illinois, Vermont, New Hampshire and Alaska ranked among the most prepared.    Annual blizzards are a fact of life in those states so preparedness is a lot less about an event and much more about a wise lifestyle overall.  Relevant to other types of severe weather – which is the single highest cause of significant business interruptions according to yet another study published last week in The Washington Post – especially with regard to how people calculate the odds of experiencing another severe hurricane, most tend to fall within one of two highly diverse camps: those who think “we just had a bunch of those so we’re probably safe for a while” and on the other end, the “we haven’t had a hurricane in forever so I’m just not worried about it” crowd.  Both equally wrong and dangerous.

That same study ranks Houston as one of the most disaster-prone cities in the country (although Dallas, which is much more prone to hosting tornadoes, was evidently in the crosshairs four years ago) with 27 declared disasters of a wide variety – hurricane, flood, fire, one tornado – more than any year since 1964.  Several other areas, including Los Angeles with 54 disasters in the same time span, fared even worse.  It’s enough to make you think that our forebears intentionally chose some of the most dangerous places in the country to set up shop.  Other places to leave immediately include central Oklahoma (for severe storms), northern North Dakota (floods), Florida and the Mississippi River Delta (hurricanes).

All this punctuated by yet another study published by the GAO itself and reported on elsewhere that says that despite their huge budget, relatively recent experience and odious public relations history (remember Katrina?), overall FEMA is still not prepared.  According to the report, the Agency should stipulate specific policies for local communities to follow.  But that’s simply another reminder that crisis preparedness and response are best handled by local and regional authorities.

What does all this mean for business continuity professionals?  In a nutshell, job security.  But also yet another reminder that thorough preparedness is a mindset and not event-specific.

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There’s still time to register for the first ACP webinars of the year:

  • Recent Developments: ISO/Technical Committee 292, Security this Thursday the 29th.  Register.
  • Bioterrorism Preparedness for Businesses: How to Stay Operational, Even During an Anthrax Attack which is next Wednesday, February 4th.  Register.

More information and links to register (free, as always) are here.

Posted by Fred Rogers on 27 January 2015.

* 02 February update: After I posted this piece, the methodology of the survey indicated was called into question by quite a few business continuity professionals for a number of reasons.  Similar to how “America’s Fattest City” is annually awarded based on a loose estimation of the number of fast food restaurants versus the much lower number of fitness clubs in that year’s so-called fattest city, I concede that the way the results were derived in the disaster survey indicated may not have been the most scientifically irrefutable.

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or if you’d like a free 30-minute consultation, let us know.

Holiday Travelers Beware: New Third-Party Scams Target You Right In Your Hotel Room

Every once in a while, network news unwittingly contributes significantly to the safety and efficiency of a potential business continuity deployment.  That was the case Monday morning when ABC aired a segment on new scams being perpetrated by con artists on holiday travelers staying in hotels.  Watch it.  It’s less than three minutes long, and ABC gives you some simple and practical ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.  And the piece doesn’t just apply during the holidays.  The same scams can happen to anyone traveling and staying in a hotel at any time anywhere.  Specifically, four different new scams to be aware of:

  • holiday-scams

    Click to play.

    Professional-looking fake pizza delivery flyers that get slipped under your door, show up on your car windshield, etc. You call in to order a pizza and they ask for your credit card number.  I’d never heard of this one before and I have to say that it’s every bit as clever as it is annoying.

  • A phone call that’s supposedly from the front desk informing you that due to some type of outage, they’ve lost your credit card information and they need you to give it to them again over the phone.
  • Hacker-installed wifi access posing as official hotel wifi service. Log on and they can read everything on your computer including passwords, bank access information, etc. Always confirm with the hotel which wifi access is actually theirs.
  • Wireless key loggers installed on seemingly innocuous zip drives. Never share your zip drive or use one provided by anyone other than someone you know and trust.

Based on my own decades of business travel, I’d like to add a few more tips on what to do and not do while you’re staying at a hotel.  Some of this advice came at much greater expense than I’d like to remember so please consider each one.

  • never-wear-badgeIf anyone calls your room asking you to meet them in the lobby and you don’t know the person, call hotel security and ask them to escort you until you give them the all-clear. (If you’re meeting the security guard in the lobby, make it easier on her or him by describing yourself when you call to make the request.)  This sounds like overkill but it’s simply common sense and hotel security will be happy to oblige.
  • Never, ever, ever wear your conference/convention badge or company photo ID in public. Obviously there are exceptions for people like utility company employees but if you’re required to wear a photo ID at work, put it in your purse or pocket the moment you step out the door at the end of the day.  If you’re attending a seminar or convention, trade show or conference, never under any circumstances wear your attendee badge (“Hi! My name is Distracted Traveler!”) anywhere but where it’s required for access.  For that matter, don’t hang it on your rear view mirror or leave it anywhere else in your car. Why?  Because at just a momentary glance, anyone can learn what you look like, your name, the company you work for and which car is yours.  Based on a particularly bad experience during a business trip to New Orleans in 1994, I feel so strongly about this matter that I used to fine my employees in the form of docking their per diem a full $100 if I caught them wearing their convention badge anywhere in public.
  • Use all the locks on your door when you arrive even if you only plan on being in your room for a few minutes.
  • Traveling with valuables? That safe in the closet in your room?  Use it.  Or arrange with the hotel to keep your valuables (within reason) in their safe.
  • No matter how late you arrive or how tired you are or how early you have to get up, don’t just plan at least two escape routes – WALK both of them before you turn in for the night. Even ‘official’ escape routes on clearly marked signs might be temporarily blocked during your stay.  And if you don’t like where your room is relevant to your ability to make a quick exit, request a room change.
    • The same goes for any meeting room or convention ballroom or theater or office space that you’re meeting in.
  • Don’t wear shoes that you can’t run in. I realize that one’s a whole lot easier for men than it is for women but if I can’t skedaddle in a pair of shoes, I don’t wear them.  In fact, except for fishing waders and cowboy boots, if I can’t run in a pair of shoes I don’t own
  • This one’s a little off-topic but always make sure you’re parking your vehicle in the right place and that you’re paying the right person. Embarrassing myself for the sake of your safer, happier travels, that parking lot employee where I parked my truck at the Georgia World Congress Center in 1997?  He wasn’t a parking lot employee.  My lack of attention to detail cost me $385 in ‘oversized vehicle’ towing charges and several hours in a part of town I didn’t have the time to be in.
  • Use common sense. Even if you’ve stayed at a particular property before and are very familiar with it, you’re still in unfamiliar waters when you’re traveling.  Be on your guard.

What did I miss here?  What safety tips do you actively practice?  Let us know in the comments and we’ll share them in a follow-up.

Arrive safely, get your work done, enjoy yourself to the greatest extent possible and get home intact.  And if you’re traveling for the holidays, pack a little extra patience and have fun!

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or if you’d like a free 30-minute consultation, let us know.

ACP Webinar “The Importance of a Resilient Supply Chain” – Recording Now Available

The last Association of Contingency Planners Webinar Series presentation of the year – The Importance of a Resilient Supply Chain – was yesterday and there were a lot more attendees than I’d expected given that it’s Thanksgiving week.  As usual, about 55% of those who registered for the webinar actually attended so, as always, we recorded the presentation and posted it here so that anyone who couldn’t attend can watch it whenever they want to.

supply-2The presentation was made by Patrick Alcantara and Andrew Scott, both with the The Business Continuity Institute, and details the results of The BCI’s annual Supply Chain Resilience survey, just how big an impact these disruptions can have and how frequently they occur.  Because, as the webinar description reminds us, it’s no longer enough to ensure that you have your own contingency plan in place, it’s vital to ensure that everyone within your supply chain has one, too.  The recording runs just under 36 minutes and the ACP Webinar Series is sponsored by Continuity Housing.

Click to view the recording on YouTube.

Click to view the recording on YouTube.

We’re already working on the first two webinars of the new year and I’ll post about those in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Arrive safely, eat a little more than you should and make some great memories!

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or if you’d like a free 30-minute consultation, let us know.

$#@! Business Continuity People Say (Rated G)

A few weeks ago I was listening to a guy being interviewed who’d recently published a book aimed at college kids encouraging them to pick up some good habits and drop some of the bad ones in order to not only get a job but actually keep it.  One of his comments was that “Some of the older truisms are now considered cliché and therefore disregarded in general. But there’s a reason they’re called truisms.”

What's seriously wrong with this picture? Click to view our webinar on post-storm (and general) electricity safety webinar from last week presented by Warren Rogers of Connecticut Light & Power.

Recovery truism #439: any damaging storm has the potential to seriously impact the IQ of some of the people involved. What’s seriously wrong with this picture? Click to view our webinar on post-storm (and general) electricity safety presented by Warren Rogers of Connecticut Light & Power.

Which made me think of think of my habit of encouraging people to charge their phones whenever they have the opportunity because, “Even on a sunny day, you never know when the power might go out.”  I’m a BC geek. So I asked a bunch of our clients and friends – all BC pros – for their favorite examples of $#@! that BC people say.  Given the nature of the BC mindset, I wasn’t surprised that I got a lot of responses and here’s the list.

  • “Only a quarter tank left?  Time to fill up.”  (Same for AA batteries, toilet paper, etc.)
  • “So what’s your generator’s exercise schedule?”
  • “Come on over! We’re eating down last year’s hurricane supplies so we can go buy new ones.”
  • “You didn’t tell your neighbors you bought this, did you?!!”
  • “You dropped your cell in the toilet?  I don’t even take mine into the bathroom!”
  • “First one to fall asleep cleans the bathroom tomorrow.” (Said jokingly during a hurricane ride-out at headquarters.)
  • “Sandals?  Never.  Even to the beach.  If there’s an emergency, you can’t run in those.”
  • “Hope someone checked the emergency elevator brake.”  (Heard at EVERY BC/DR show while standing in elevator with multiple BC planners.)
  • “Never miss an opportunity to market a disaster.”
  • “Got a pen? Surely somebody has a pen.  We always have a writing tool backup.”
  • “SPAM and beanie wienies can taste amazing together.”
  • “I’m tired of IT saying their disaster plan is a ‘revised resume.’”
  • “Beware of sharks swimming in your neighborhood.”  (Beachside neighborhood after superstorm Sandy.)
  • “Good news, IT fixed my laptop.  Bad news, they cannibalized our disaster backup equipment to fix it.”
  • “Will we be getting some cots for this year?”
  • “Who’s in charge of catering for the long weekends?”
  • “Is the Last Person Out out of the building?”
  • “OK, where’s the fire?!” (With thanks to @BCMAC7 for those last four.)
  • “You and your friends ate all of the MREs while we were gone for the weekend?  Do you have any idea how many calories each one has?”
  • “Never run out of snacks and caffeine in the Command Center!”
  • “Always expect the worse and you will never be disappointed.”
  • “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – George Patton

Another submitter contributed the Top 10 Signs your BC program is in trouble:

10. Following your last disaster, the first words spoken by your Incident Commander were:  “Who’s in charge here?!”
9. Corporate Headquarters are right next to a nuclear plant in the flight path of Miami International.
8. You have more resources devoted to continuity efforts than to production systems.
7. You frequently hear the question, “We have a Business Continuity Program here??”
6. Instead of a plan, most people just keep a copy of the local yellow pages and a link to monster.com.
5. Your boss thinks resilience means being able to make the corporate softball tournament 3 years running.
4. The latest DR procedures mention something about punch cards and floppy disks.
3. Managers show up to your exercises . . . in gym clothes.
2. You see a Boy Scout Handbook and wonder if anything in it might improve your program.
1. You just realized this Top 10 list is meant to be humorous.

Our friend Aaron Milner at Agility Recovery Services contributed the following (he created the one at the bottom):

AARON-vert

 

And then there’s this fairly humorous video that Homeland Security produced.

Share your favorite $#@! BC people say.  Email me or comment and we’ll post them in a few weeks.  Include whether you want credit or not and we’ll link back to your company website or LinkedIn page.

And as a follow-up to all this, are BC professionals – at least the good ones – a little bit OCD?  Discuss.  We’ll follow up on that, too.

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or to find out about a free 30-minute consultation, let us know.

Don’t Forget to Register: Free, 35-Minute Webinar on Post-Storm Safety and Electric Utility Familiarization

Just a reminder that time is running out to register for our extremely educational and fast-paced 35-minute webinar at 10:30 Central / 11:30 Eastern on Thursday, June 12th.  Space is limited but you can register here now.  The webinar does include a sales pitch that lasts all of about 20 seconds. If there’s a conflict on your schedule, register and you’ll automatically get a link to the video recording the day after the webinar.

register-buttonI’ve been involved in the production of more than 100 webinars in the last 8 years and I’ve probably attended at least 100 more and this is one of the single best general information presentations I’ve ever seen.  The presenter is Warren Rogers, Safety Supervisor – Eastern District for Connecticut Light and Power.  He makes this and similar presentations almost weekly and he does an outstanding job.  I asked him to give me a few bullet points and this is what he sent:

Did you ever wonder . . .

• What is all that stuff on the utility pole and is it dangerous?

• Which is more dangerous, the wires coming to the house or the ones on top of the poles?

• If my family is in a car-versus-pole accident, what should they do to stay alive?

• What can I do to live a long time and not die by electrocution?

Obviously the presentation is not just about storms.  It also deals with your daily exposure to electrical hazards which are much more likely to be the cause of an injury or death.

I rarely suggest to anyone that they should do something because they’ll “be glad they did”; the phrase rings hollow and sounds disingenuous.  But you will.  Register and watch this one.  You’ll realize five minutes after it starts that it’s a great use of your time.

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or to find out about a free 30-minute consultation, let us know.

Thinking About Installing A Standby Power Generator? A 20-Minute Webinar To Increase Safety, Save You Money and Minimize The Hassle

register-buttonThere’s been a surge in sales of backup/standby power generators over the past few years and that’s for a variety of reasons. They’re conspicuously on display at Home Depot and Lowe’s, taking up floor space that just a couple of years ago would have been occupied by fertilizer or gas grills.  It could be that the frequency and nature of storms that disrupt our lives seem to have increased along with our reliance on power for everything we do. Or, with the media’s help, we may fear the worst: that the bulk electric power system is a great target for physical and/or cyber attack that results in a prolonged and widespread blackout.

generator-rentalDr. Ed Goldberg, CBCP has worked in the power industry for over twenty years, including over a decade in business continuity and disaster recovery planning as well as threat assessment. Join us for around 20 minutes – plus Q&A – at 10:30 a.m. Central on Wednesday, April 23rd as he discusses the rationale for making an investment in a generator as well as the ins and outs of shopping for, selecting, purchasing, installing and maintaining generators, including both portable and permanently installed varieties.  Two years ago, Ed installed a standby power generator at his home in Connecticut and his hands-on experience resulted in a new education and appreciation of the finer points of proper, efficient and hassle-free installation.  This presentation will also cover aspects of installing an industrial generator for use in corporate and other larger-scale environments as well as the pros and cons of incident-specific generator rental.  And no, this is not even close to being a sales pitch.

Ed-largeAbout the presenter: Dr. Ed Goldberg, CBCP manages Northeast Utilities’ BC, DR and Threat Assessment Programs in Berlin, CT. Ed served 10 years as IT manager at Millstone Nuclear Power Station.  Ed is a CBCP with 25+ years IT and management experience. He served 4 terms as president of Connecticut ACP, is in his 5th year on the ACP Corporate Board, chairs its Education Committee, and is a popular conference speaker and published author.  Ed has a BSEE and MBA, an advanced Graduate Certificate in Computer Communication Networks and a Doctorate in Management and Organizational Leadership.  He has Professional Engineering and amateur radio licenses.  Ed serves as faculty at Capella University since 2003 and taught at Albertus Magnus College for 11 years.  He has firsthand experience designing military computer systems, fire alarm control panels, web offset printing press accessories, and electrofinishing/plating computerized controls. And as if that’s not enough, he has a patent for sub-ambient fluid circulation systems used in the printing industry.

If you’re even thinking about installing a generator either at home or for your organization, spend a few minutes with us on the 23rd to find out how you can avoid unnecessary expense, increase safety and avoid some major headaches. Register now.

dark-night-generator

Image: kohlergenerators.com

Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.  Subscribe to the Continuity Housing blog (in sidebar at right) and follow us on Twitter, on YouTube, on LinkedIn and on Facebook.  To subscribe to our mailing list and/or to find out about a free 30-minute consultation, email us.

Next on the Business Continuity Calendar: Winter’s Finally Winding Down . . . So Here Come the Floods

Winter weather still dominates the headlines but it’s time to think about what’s next.  Typically for the continental U.S., that would be the turbulent spring weather season, which too often includes tornadoes, and then we start focusing on the tropics.  But for many regions of the Plains States and areas east, there’s something else to consider.

Noah, the movie, comes out March 28th and the timing might indeed be prophetic in that the Next Big Weather Story is probably going to be thaw-related flooding.  A much larger than usual portion of the country has been in relative permafrost  the last few months and news coverage of the Great Lakes and even Niagara Falls has been astonishing.

Lake-Michigan

The St. Joseph Lighthouse on North Pier, Lake Michigan, Jan. 6, 2014. Photo: canadianawareness.org

Bad weather is the leading cause of business disruptions* but the good news is that, as opposed to many other types of interruptions, we can prepare for it.  Keep an eye on where the flooding will probably have the greatest impact and make sure your company is as prepared for it as possible, especially if any of your assets are in regions that will be potentially affected.

Just as importantly, consider whether any of your vendors or suppliers are in a potential flood region and remember that your customers might also be affected and that the effect on those suppliers might affect how your organization provides services to those customers when they need it.

flowing-waterFlooding is bad, much worse than most people realize.  In addition to causing widespread property damage, flooding is the number one weather-related cause of death in the U.S. (see yellow 30-year average column).  And remember to never, ever drive through flowing water – or ANY water if you’re not exactly sure of the depths involved – and to be extremely careful when traversing flood waters on foot.  The rule of thumb is that each knot of speed of flowing water is equal to 20 knots of wind speed.  A single inch of rapidly flowing water can knock a person down and carry him or her away and vehicles can be swept away in only 6 inches of moving water.

Finally, keep an eye on changes in flood insurance regulations. ‘Guaranteed’ coverage looks like it will soon favor property owners but the pendulum of legislation on different types of coverage is swinging fairly wide lately.  And any changes in flood insurance regulations usually take a while to go into effect.  Make sure you’re covered and start by checking to see whether or not any of your assets are in flood zones using the official flooding maps that were updated just last month.  And then let’s hope March doesn’t go out like a lion.

* Top 3 Leading Causes of Business Disruptions: 1. severe weather, 2. power outages (commonly weather-related); 3. IT failure (occasionally weather-related): Forrester Research / Disaster Recovery Journal Business Continuity Plan Survey, December 2011.

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Continuity Housing helps companies enhance their business continuity plans by pre-arranging guaranteed housing and providing logistical support for mission-critical employees during disasters.