New Month – New News!

Welcome to December!  For some of us that means a colder time of year than for others, but regardless of where you live it’s coming to the close of another year.

Time to update your address book!

Since 2003 we have been using the website address of www.DisasterRecovery.com; it was a very descriptive address (and one that we’ll still have), but to keep our website address as descriptive as possible of who we are, we’ve decided to change it address to www.KingsBridgeBCP.com.  This wasn’t an easy decision as it means a lot of things have to change!  So you’ll see; new email addresses, new collateral, new website, new mailing address, new Twitter and Facebook names, but still the same amazing team working with you to ensure we stay true to our core value of being your plan builder.

New website

We launched our new website on November 24th and are feverously working out the kinks at  www.KingsBridgeBCP.com.  We want to make getting information as simple as possible, but also make the path to finding that information as predictable as possible.  We still have our amazing Help/How To section, and have doubled down on the effort to get our blog updated every second Thursday.  So if you are stuck somewhere and aren’t sure what step is critical to your planning, check out our website and/or blog to learn or gather some amazing tips!

Green Office

We’ve changed our website, our emails, and our social media, so let’s take some time to share things with you…  KingsBridge has been a “green office” since 2003 and we want to take this to the next level.  To be clear, there’s no WWF designation, but we don’t print paper (no printers), don’t receive faxes (no fax machines), do not use  paper calendars/pads/books, and all garbage we generate is either recycled or composted.  What does this mean to you?  We are highly encouraging all of our customers to move their payments to ACH and not mailing checks.  We will happily share with you the details so you/your Accounts Payable can make the adjustments.  If you don’t want to or can’t do ACH transfers, nothing changes and we can continue as we have been since 2003.

One more thing

We’d like to take this time to wish you and yours an amazing holiday season and we hope that 2017 is as fruitful for you as 2016 has been!

About KingsBridge

KingsBridge offers small to medium sized private businesses a unique combination of industry knowledge and cost-effective business continuity solutions. KingsBridge SHIELD and Services 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.

Learn more at www.KingsBridgeBCP.com

To Merge or Replace, that is the question…

Keeping your business continuity plan up-to-date with current personnel information is critical to the success of your business continuity plan.  At KingsBridge we recognize the importance of this and have built features into our Shield software to help you quickly import a CSV file of the latest contact information for your personnel.

However, if you’re new to Shield, sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether to use the Merge or Replace function when importing a personnel file.  In today’s post, we’ll look at how each of these functions work and when to use each.

So let’s start with the following: what is the basic difference between Merge and Replace?

When Shield imports a CSV file of personnel information, it uses the email address as a unique identifier to match entries in the incoming file with entries in Shield.  For both merge and replace, when Shield finds a match on an email address, the associated information in the personnel database is updated with what is in the incoming file.   In addition, Shield will add any new email addresses and their associated information to the personnel database.  These two actions will always take place when either Merge or Replace is used.

The big difference comes when dealing with personnel that are in the current personnel database in Shield but NOT in the incoming file.  When merging, Shield will not take any action on personnel that are in the existing personnel database but not in the incoming file.  The merge function will never result in deleting or prompting you to delete entries from the personnel database.  

Replace however, is a different story.  The replace function will look for entries that are in the current Shield personnel database but are not in the incoming file, and will prompt you to delete these entries from Shield prior to proceeding with the Replace function.  If the entries aren’t deleted, we’re not really fully replacing the existing personnel table with the incoming one hence the need to proceed with the deletion process and then trying again to replace the file.

As the table below demonstrates, the only difference between merge and replace is whether or not you are prompted to remove people that are not in the incoming file.

Merge Replace
Adds new/updates information for an email address when a match is found Adds new/updates information for an email address when a match is found
Adds new personnel that are not already in the personnel database in Shield Adds new personnel that are not already in the personnel database in Shield
Does not remove nor does it prompt you to remove personnel that are not in the incoming file Prompts you to remove personnel that are not in the incoming file.

So back to our original question, when do I use merge vs replace?  Here are two examples.

  1. The HR manager provides you with a new file of ALL personnel in the organization for you to upload to Shield.  They aren’t sure how many people have changed their contact information since the last file was provided to you but they are confident that the information in the file is current.  Which function should you use?  REPLACE

    Replace ensures that all existing personnel in Shield will have their information updated with what HR has provided, all new personnel will be added as new entries AND it will find any personnel that are no longer with the organization and prompt you to remove them from Shield.  This will ensure that your Shield personnel database is exactly the same as what HR has provided.

  2. You just went through a big hiring blitz and HR has provided you with the contact information for all of the new hires and updated contact information for a handful of existing personnel that changed positions as a result of the hires.  You need to ensure this information is reflected in Shield.  Which function should you use? MERGE

Merge will ensure that all of the new personnel are added to Shield, any updated contact information for the handful of personnel that changed roles is captured, but does not concern you with the need to remove any personnel.  We have no way of knowing, based on the information provided by HR, whether anyone has left the organization.  With Merge, we’re just interested in adding and updating information.  

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.

Lessons Learned from Matthew’s Aftermath

Hurricane Matthew, a category 5 hurricane that disrupted life along the Western Atlantic for nearly two weeks last month, is an unwelcome reminder of the importance of business continuity planning and preparedness. In any disaster, there are many lessons learned for all persons and organizations involved. Here we look to Matthews’ to highlight some lessons we can all take away to enhance business continuity planning for not just hurricanes, but disasters of any kind.

For those who didn’t follow the hurricane, it’s effects were great and widespread. Wind gusts up to 107 mph were measured at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Water levels rose up to eight feet above normal levels as a result of the storm surge. Some areas reported up to 14 inches of rainfall, furthering flood risks and concurrent impacts miles from the coastline.

If directly inside this impact zone, many immediate effects can inhibit your business operations:

  • Roads and bridges washed out, affecting staff, goods transport, and more
  • Buildings flooded – these could be businesses, or the homes of employees
  • Downed power and telephone lines can be widespread and affect businesses and their nearby alternate sites
  • Downed trees could damage buildings and vehicles, close roads and more
  • Flight cancellations can interrupt staff travel or business processes that rely on flights for transporting time-sensitive items including products
  • Trains may be held on tracks, routes interrupted and delivery or pick-up dates delayed

These are all impacts that businesses have had to face during, and after, the recent hurricane. If you are not directly within the impact zone, you might be wondering “How does this affect my business?”. Supply chain disruptions can drastically affect businesses whose materials and supplies come from the east coast. Additionally, businesses with multiple locations may have to assist in the recovery of those within the impact zone. This can result in staffing shortages, overtime and increased stress, to name just a few expected consequences. Planning for how to assist other locations is important and solutions can range from moving call-centre volume in advance of a disaster, coordinating additional shift rotations, hiring additional temporary staff, and more.

But what about those businesses affected? We know they’ve triggered their Business Continuity Plans and are busy picking up the pieces and restarting operations. Often times the focus of recovery is on physical repairs, leaving the administrative fallout unattended or unprioritized. One major consideration in the aftermath of a disaster is managing the insurance claims process. Here are a few items to remember:

  • Understand the policy, and the jargon. Before any chance of having to rely on insurance comes to pass, it is extremely important to understand the policies your business holds. As a business can have many types of insurance, there will be many policies to become familiar with. This leads to;
  • A false sense of security. When you do not understand your policy there can be an exaggerated sense of comfort and preparedness. However, conversely, not knowing the ins and outs of the policies can also lead to lost insurance proceeds through missed reporting and documentation of losses. Therefore, it is critical to;
  • Document losses. Physical losses and any lost revenues from business interruptions and contingent business interruptions may be covered by insurance. These can include losses due to road closures, evacuations and any closures required by civil authorities. Having proof of revenues during normal operations can help document the loss during contingent business interruptions.

In addition to processing insurance claims, government aid and grants may be available to help businesses recover and rebuild. Registering for these types of aid and assistance is often time-sensitive. Researching what would be available to you regionally and nationally can save critical time during an incident, ensuring you can access this funding when you would need it most.

So, in summary, here are some “lessons learned” or takeaways from the recent hurricane:

  1. Carefully consider how a disaster of this nature can and would impact your business if it occurred in your region.
  2. Consider your supply chain for all goods and services. How would a disaster like this impact the resources you rely on most to support your operations?
  3. How would another office or location be able to support you in an incident? How would you be able to support them? What steps can you take now to make that process easier in the future?
  4. Know your insurance policies. Avoid surprises and get all the compensation you are entitled to.
  5. Access aid and assistance to help you fund your recovery and speed up your return to normal.

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 5 Phases of Business Continuity Planning – Part 2

In our last post we reviewed the Prevention and Mitigation phases of Business Continuity planning.  This week, we are looking at the remaining 3 phases; Response, Recovery, and Restoration.

3 – Response

The Response phase involves planning the steps for immediate response to an incident (this might sound familiar if you have read our blog on the difference between Emergency Response and Business Continuity).  The immediate Response steps are concerned with ensuring the safety and protection of life, assets, and the environment.  This might include the development of building evacuation plans or shelter in place procedures.

4 – Recovery

The fourth phase is the Recovery phase, where most business continuity professionals focus a lot of energy on the initial development of the Business Continuity Plan.  Recovery includes all of the steps that are taken to continue business critical operations after an incident.  For example, if an office building sustains water damage and needs to be shut down for clean up and repair, one of the recovery steps might be enacting the work from home process for all employees.

5 – Restoration (Return to Normal)

The fifth and final phase of business continuity planning is the Restoration phase, also known as the Return to Normal phase.  Essentially, Restoration occurs when the business is brought back to normal operations.  There can be a number of different interpretations of normal, and many business continuity professionals will make a distinction between the ‘old’ normal and the ‘new’ normal, especially if the event had a significant human impact (such as the loss of an employee/colleague).  Steps to initiate the Return to Normal phase might include bringing those employees back into the office once their building has been cleaned up and re-opened.

Understanding the phases of Business Continuity Planning can help break down a seemingly overwhelming task into smaller manageable pieces – like the old adage of eating an elephant one bit at a time.   

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 5 Phases of Business Continuity Planning – Part 1

The Business Continuity planning process can seem overwhelming if you are looking at it for the first time.  There are subtle differences in terminology, lots of acronyms, and a number of different moving parts that can be difficult to keep track of.  In order to make the process easier to manage, the industry has broken it down into 5 different phases:

  1. Prevention
  2. Mitigation
  3. Response
  4. Recovery
  5. Restoration

These phases can help you keep track of what needs to happen and when.  For this post, we are focussing on the Prevention and Mitigation phases.  Response, Recovery, and Restoration will be covered in our next post.

1 – Prevention

The Prevention phase is concerned with steps that can be taken now to lessen the likelihood that a threat could occur.  To put this in context, organizations start the Business Continuity planning process with a Threat Risk Assessment (TRA).  During the TRA process, an organization might discover that they are at a high risk of fire because they are storing highly flammable chemicals next to a heat source.  By relocating those chemicals away from the heat source, they are lessening the likelihood of a fire occurring.

2 – Mitigation

By contrast, Mitigation is concerned with steps that can be taken to lessen the impact on the business when a threat occurs.  There are some threats that organizations simply have no control over, such as a power outage.  But, the impact of a power outage can be lessened by installing a generator or Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) to ensure there is no immediate data loss and critical operations can continue for the short term.

Both of these phases address steps that can be taken in advance of an incident in order to ensure a more efficient and effective response and recovery.  In our next blog, we will discuss the phases involved in planning for what is required when an incident actually occurs.

Check back soon to learn more about the Business Continuity planning process.

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.