Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ready for Winter Weather

It’s important that your business, as well as your home and family, be prepared well in advance for the wide variety of dangerous conditions that winter storms and extreme weather can bring. This week’s articles focus on safety issues you, your employees and their families can put to use. Be safe!

Check out this winter hazards checklist. (Item #1) Do you know how to prepare for a winter storm before it hits? (Item #2) A worker safety consulting firm explains how companies can avoid being paralyzed by relentless winter storms. (Item #3)

We hope you never need this information, but here’s all you need to know about surviving a blizzard. (Item #4) Risks of winter weather are particularly bad for workers who have to be outside in all kinds of conditions. Items #5 and #6 provide safety tips for outdoor workers.

Read it all at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Testing and Exercising

Disaster recovery plans are essential to business continuity, but these plans will lose value if they are not tested on a regular basis. Frequent testing leads to peace of mind. You can't wait until disaster strikes to find out if your plan will work. Testing is essential for disaster recovery success, and, a proactive test plan will reap benefits to the organization. Read this week’s articles for more on the importance of testing your business continuity/disaster recovery plans.

When your plan is complete, the work has only just begun. (Item #1) Effective plan testing is the topic of this article on best practices. (Item #2) What flaws could your test have missed? (Item #3)

Internal communication is a critical part of every plan and should be tested as well. (Item #4) Healthcare organizations have special concerns when testing plans. (Item #5) San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency had a real event during which to test their plan. (Item #6)

The full issue is available at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Careers for the Next Decade - Nightly Business Report

I had the pleasure of being featured in a segment of the Nightly Business Report on the November 26th. The story was entitled "Careers for the Next Decade." The segment that I was featured in was on Emergency Planning Managers. This is an acknowledgment of the important work we Emergency, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planners perform. If you are already a part of this industry, congratulations. If you are considering it as a career, what are you waiting for?

The video of the segment is available at - http://www.pbs.org/nbr/info/local-player.html?s=nbre07s35e3qcd0

H1N1 Pandemic

According to the World Health Organization, more than 207 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including more than 7820 deaths. In the United States and Canada, influenza transmission remains very active and geographically widespread. It’s difficult to say what the winter will bring, particularly since seasonal flu outbreaks have yet to begin. To be best prepared, you should take heed of the advice in the following articles.

Small businesses need to have flexible plans to respond to flu outbreaks. (Item #1) This kit can help you follow the CDC’s guidance for businesses for the 2009-2010 season. (Item #2) A continuity expert offers her thoughts on the flu pandemic. (Item #3)

A pandemic flu checklist from the state of Arizona can be helpful to all organizations. (Item #4) Another checklist from the Red Cross is in poster form, handy for posting. (Item #5) The emergence of flu in the 1918 pandemic may be helping weaken the impact of today’s H1N1 flu. (Item #6)

Read the full issue at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Parties

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, followed closely, in many cased, by the office holiday party. In recent years, many companies have decided not to hold a party and to do something else instead. For most organizations, however, the party is still a reality, even in tough economic times. Fancy hotel parties are replaced by office potlucks or other activities. Whatever type of party you decide on, this week’s articles will help you avoid some of the potential problems such parties present.

Don’t let your holiday party become a source of liability. (Item #1) What are the areas of greatest legal exposure presented by office parties? (Item #2) To some, the office holiday party feels like walking a tightrope and that’s reason enough to just want to stay home. But you can’t. (Item #3)

Avoid lawsuits after a holiday party. (Item #4) Do you cancel the party or hold it? Either way, you can be sending unintended messages. (Item #5) Just for fun, a humorist offers a lighthearted look at holiday parties. (Item #6)

Get the full issue or subscribe at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Friday, November 13, 2009

Reputation Management

In the case of your organization’s reputation, what took years to build could be destroyed in only a matter of moments. And it’s not just the big things that can do you in… one unhappy member, customer, former employee with access to the Internet is all it takes. There are things you can do to protect yourself, however, and several of these are in the articles below.

If you don’t control your brand online, someone else will. (Item #1) Without proactively monitoring your online reputation, trademarks and copyrighted material, you're exposed to a rats-nest of damaging public relations and inappropriate use of your business's brand. (Item #2) Because of the openness and anonymity of the Web, every business is vulnerable to reputation management issues. (Item #3)

The outcome of a reputation crisis can be devastating; but it doesn't have to be. (Item #4) The fact that reputation matters online is beyond debate. (Item #5) There are very tangible and numerous benefits to taking the time to build yourself a presence on business networking sites. (Item #6)

Read the full issue at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Corporate Identity Theft and Data Breaches

Identity theft impacts businesses and consumers, and it’s important that businesses institute safeguards to prevent identity theft – and its high cost. The articles in this issue provide some tips and best practices for helping you prevent breaches of the information you store.

The negative effects of identity theft or a breach of information to a business can have long term and far reaching ramifications. (Item #1) One of the keys to preventing identity theft, therefore, is to safeguard personal information within the workplace, whether it's a business, government agency, or nonprofit. (Item #2) Do the benefits of biometrics outweigh the risks? (Item #3)

Guidance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help you make smart, sound decisions if personal information you hold is compromised. (Item #4) Your health as well as your finances can be compromised by medical identity theft. (Item #5) Best practices for handling social security numbers are provided by the California Office of Privacy Protection. (Item #6)

Read the entire issue at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here are some very off-beat disasters - would your plan handle them.

Halloween is but a few days off, and the first article this week seemed to be appropriate for the season. But it then got us thinking about how we would plan for some disruptions or disasters that simply aren’t predictable – and may never be. This could be a good test for your business continuity plan… how could you adapt what you have to respond to some of the situations in this week’s issue?

You haven’t planned for a zombie invasion, have you? (Item #1) This molasses manufacturer might have wished he had a disaster plan. (Item #2) Should we be preparing for a mega tsunami to hit the east coast? (Item #3)

The dog ate my homework is nothing compared to what happened to some of this data. (Item #4) Was this really the last great subsistence crisis in the US? (Item #5) How likely is it that you have considered destruction from a meteorite in your business continuity plan? (Item #6)

Read the entire issue at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mass Notification Systems to expedite their response to crises.

In the last several years, business, government, and education continuity planners have begun to us mass notification systems to expedite their response to crises, using technology to deliver recorded messages to large numbers of people in a very short time via telephone, email, pager, fax, PDA, and other channels. The education community in particular has gotten on board this bandwagon, and their efforts offer us a lot of good information on the subject of mass notification. This issue also point out that establishing best practices should be the first step in setting up a mass notification system.

If you've been wondering how to select a mass notification system, here's help. (Item #1)   There are two elements to a comprehensive mass notification system: real-time public address and electronic notification. (Item #2)   Technology alone won't save the day when a crisis hits. (Item #3) 

Organizations must be prepared to respond quickly to events that interrupt their operations. (Item #4)   Wondering about the effectiveness of various kinds of emergency alerts? Check out this cheat sheet. (Item #5)   If you'd like a little information on how mass notification systems began, the technology they use, etc., read this. (Item #6)  

The full issue is available at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Being prepared for the worst can mitigate the damaging effects of terrorism.

Terrorist acts result in destruction, but they also can have extensive physical and other collateral consequences. Along with the physical and psychological effects, major re-allocation of resources occurs in order to repair the damage, recreate a sense of normality, and institute protective actions after the fact. Being prepared for the worst is the most important action you can take to mitigate the damaging effects of terrorism.

How can business leaders lead in the wake of terrorist actions? (Item #1) Terrorism can hit your organization hard; what can you do to decrease terrorism risk? (Item #2) Counter-terrorism brings to mind police, military and the CIA, but corporations? (Item #3)

Even small organizations have been targeted by terrorists; how can you protect yours? (Item #4) Threats of cyber terrorism are increasing daily. (Item #5) Facilities managers underestimate the vulnerability of buildings to terrorist attack, may have misconceptions about likely targets and may be unprepared for such an eventuality. (Item #6)

Read the full issue at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

As H1N1 spreads, are you prepared to shelter-in-place for a few days? A few months?

As the H1N1 swine flu virus is increasing in various parts of the country, some experts are advising that we must be prepared to shelter in place for anywhere from a few days to a few months. We hope it won’t come to that. It is important, however, to make sure we know what to do just in case – and having supplies and information on hand can only be a positive thing. The items below may be helpful to you in your preparations for sheltering in place for any reason that might turn up.

Shelter-in-place and areas of refuge have a place in today’s high-rise buildings. (#1) It's important for landlords to be familiar with their shelter-in-place. (#2) It’s important to understand how “lockdown” and “shelter in place” differ. (#3)

Here are some instructions on how to shelter in place at home, work, or school. (#4) This article provides a collection of techniques that are the accepted practices for achieving maximum safety for employees in shelter-in-place situations. (#5) Where to get emergency shelter-in-place supplies. (#6)

Read the entire issue of this week's NewsBriefs at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Workplace Violence -- nearly 1,000 workers are murdered & 1.5 million are assaulted annually.

From an MSNBC report last week: The killing of Yale student Annie Le has shined a spotlight on the issue of workplace violence after police arrested a colleague at the lab where she worked and charged him with murder. As we have said before, OSHA finds that homicide is the fourth-leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S.; nearly 1,000 workers are murdered and 1.5 million are assaulted every year. We hope this week's articles will help you plan for workplace violence incidents and protect your employees and your organization.

Take steps to become better equipped to recognize and respond to workplace violence and protect their employees. (Item #1) Do you know the 13 early warning signs of workplace violence? (Item #2) Workplace attackers usually don't just explode; if you're attuned to warning signs, perpetrators usually telegraph their motives. (Item #3)

What do you know about negligent hiring and negligent retiring? (Item #4) Reactions to increased tension, stress, and in some instances shock have resulted in a variety of workplace violence incidents. (Item #5) Returning to work routines following any violent incident at the workplace can be very challenging. (Item #6)

Finally, Item #7 is a fact sheet on workplace violence that you can post and/or distribute to employees.

Read the full issue (or subscribe) at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

LinkedIn Group on BCP Testing and Exercising

In an effort to increase awareness in testing and exercising Business Continuity Plans, we've launched a LinkedIn group:
Business Continuity Plan - Testing & Exercising

The more valuable information and experiences we can exchange, the better our collective plans will be. Join today !!!

Compliance and Business Continuity

The regulatory environment means that monitoring what information leaves your organization is as vital as protecting it from external attacks. In the past 10 years, regulations have multiplied and compliance now often requires entire departments to handle. How does regulatory compliance affect business continuity? If non-compliance ends up in huge financial penalties or loss of reputation, you could be out of business fast. Read on...

The organization's leaders must be guided by certain core principles, without which they are unlikely to add value or contribute to the fulfillment of the company's mission. (Item #1) Are you familiar with new e-discovery requirements? If not, it could cost you millions. (Item #2) Do new regulations in effect pose a business continuity problem, a legal problem, or a technical question? (Item #3)

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas; the same is not true of what happens online. (Item #4) Companies that elevate business continuity and disaster recovery to a strategic level in their business and compliance activities do more than avoid risk. (Item #5) A lot of organizations are still in denial and, because the worst hasn't happened to them or anybody they know personally, they assume that it probably never will. (Item #6)

Read all about it in this weeks NewsBriefs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are your employees filing complaints with the EEOC?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each year reports thousands of complaints filed by employees in a variety of categories. Any one of these suits could be filed against your organization if you're not aware of how to avoid them. This week's articles focus on subjects that can help you handle many types of situations in ways that won't land you in court.

Do employers have the right to do background checks? Should you give your permission? (Item #1) The pros of having a properly drafted manual should outweigh the cons. (Item #2) Unless company policy specifically states otherwise (and even this is not assured), employers may listen, watch and read most of their employees' workplace communications. (Item #3)

These steps will help you hold difficult conversations when people need professional feedback. (Item #4) Employers must be proactive in order to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit. (Item #5) What are your rights and responsibilities regarding drug testing? (Item #6)

Read the full issue at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reputation Management

There are any number of reasons an organization’s reputation can be damaged. It has become extremely important, therefore, that we all must pay more attention to reputation risks. Firms with strong positive reputations can attract better talent, be perceived as providing more value, have customers who are more loyal, have higher market value and lower costs of capital, among other benefits. This week’s articles focus on ways you can protect, preserve, and, if necessary, repair your organization’s reputation.

It used to be said that the first 24 hours of a crisis were critical. Now, it’s the first hour. (Item #1) This article describes various actions that should be taken to boost and bolster reputation. (Item #2) When prospective customers, clients or employees are searching for you, what do they see? Is a hate site or Rip Off Report the number two listing for your name? (Item #3)

A great brand can take months, if not years, and millions of dollars to build, and it can be destroyed in hours by a blogger upset with your company. (Item #4) These tools can help you prevent damage to your online reputation. (Item #5) Hiring one of the companies that promise to help counter negative info may make nasty comments go away. (Item #6)


"It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it" -- Benjamin Franklin

Monday, September 7, 2009


I am in Denver to conduct a Disaster Experience - QuickFire for the Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association. A Disaster Experience - QuickFire is a shorter versions of our 3.5 hour Disaster Experience that fits nicely into 1.5 to 2 hour time slot. It too is highly interactive and runs the participants through a disaster scenario.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More on National Preparedness Month

In this weeks NewsBriefs we are covering the sixth annual National Preparedness Month (September). This year, NPM will focus on changing perceptions about emergency preparedness with the goal of helping Americans understand what it truly means to be Ready -- beyond fire alarms, smoke detectors, dead-bolt locks and extra food in the pantry. Remember to visit the NPM website - http://www.ready.gov/america/npm09/index.html - as they will be adding resources throughout the month.

Learn more about potential disruptions and how to respond to them. (Item #1) What you do today affects your ability to handle unexpected events. (Item #2) How ready are you? Take this quiz and find out. (Item #3)

Keep in mind that you need to protect your most valuable asset - your employees. (Item #4) The most common business disaster is fire; make sure you know how to prevent fire at your location. (Item #5) The better your plan the quicker you are likely to be back in business after a disaster. (Item #6) Join the National Preparedness Month Coalition now! (Item #7)

Read this issue of the NewsBriefs at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Friday, August 28, 2009

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. Are you truly Ready. Go beyond fire alarms, smoke detectors, dead-bolts & extra food. Check out the National Preparedness Month at http://ping.fm/U2MH3

Thursday, August 27, 2009

H1N1 and the upcoming Flu Season

In June, the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic of H1N1 (swine flu). With Fall just a few weeks away, concern is growing about the pandemic and government, businesses and schools are preparing for a possible outbreak. We hope the articles below will provide you with some updated information on the swine flu and what you can do to maintain the continuity of your operations should the flu become widespread.

The CDC issued new guidance for businesses and employers on August 19; check it out. (Item #1) This document, also from the CDC, provides communication information and resources for employers. (Item #2) OSHA offers guidance on preparing your workplace for a flu pandemic. (Item #3)

What's the government doing to counter the delay in swine flu shots? (Item #4) Whether the flu strikes or not, many of us have anxiety about it; here are some ways to manage that anxiety. (Item #5) Will the military be called in to assist local authorities in case of a pandemic? (Item #6)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Employee Issues

Hiring, managing and firing employees all can be fraught with potential problems that can endanger your business or organization. Poor hiring practices result in about 30 percent of business failures, while, on average, about 50 percent of all new hires fail. Failure to handle employee conflict is another trouble area, and mishandling employee fires has resulted in everything from cyber attacks to shootings. This week's articles may help you avoid some of these problems.

Do you know the best way to fire someone? (Item #1) Don't let workplace conflict erupt into potential business disruptions. (Item #2) For your organization's sake, you cannot afford to ignore or mishandle employee problems. (Item #3)

Your telecommuting employees present special challenges. (Item #4) Whistleblowers can be important to your organization. (Item #5) The importance of employee background checks should not be underestimated. (Item #6)


Monday, August 10, 2009

Success Stories

In this week's Business Continuity NewsBriefs we present our annual success story issue, featuring articles that show how business continuity plans helped – or could have helped – businesses facing actual disruption scenarios. We often find value in seeing how someone else handled a situation we could face; we hope you will find some tips to apply to your own plans.

Here’s a two-part story that shows why intellectual property theft can be a genuine business continuity threat and offers some crisis management lessons from a real-life IP theft situation. (Item #1) What can other companies learn from the Mattel crisis? (Item #2) When pornographic spam threatened his company's reputation, a CSO got a lesson in calling for outside help. (Item #3)

AT&T has its business continuity planning down cold. (Item #4) This San Francisco firm’s considerable input to its business continuity plan saved the day. (Item #5) Effective business continuity planning has allowed clothes retailer Primark to restart its supply chain 48 hours after fire destroyed its principal stock warehouse last Tuesday. (Item #6)

Check this and previous issues at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Plan Testing and Exercising

Plan testing & exercising is the topic of this week's NewsBriefs - http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

A recent Forrester/Disaster Recovery Journal survey showed that most companies conduct business continuity tests only once a year and that does not include more extensive tests, which are run less often. When it comes to actually doing a simulation--actually carrying out all the appropriate response and recovery processes—only about one-third of organizations do that yearly. Thorough testing often finds shortcomings and parts of the plan that are missing.

If you are ready for a test, let me know. Attainium has tabletop exercise products starting at $595.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are Your Exercises Getting Stale?

Looking for new ideas for exercising your Business Continuity Plan? This is a request we're getting more and more frequently. Check out our Conduct It Yourself Tabletop Exercises. These are complete, ready to run exercises delivered on CD starting at $595. For more info visit http://www.attainium.net/ciy

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Physical Security, Safety and Infrastructure Protection

This week's issue of our Business Continuity NewsBriefs is available at http://www.attainium.net/newsbriefs

Bob Mellinger, CBCV

Bob Mellinger is now a Certified Business Continuity Vendor (CBCV) as granted by DRI International.