Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Preparedness at Home

This week, we present our annual home preparedness edition of the NewsBriefs. Make sure that you don't neglect your home family when you're thinking about continuity. There are many things you can do to help ensure that a disaster doesn't become a personal disaster. The articles below can be very helpful in making your home preparedness plan.

Evaluate your personal needs and make a plan to meet those needs. (Item #1) In the event you have to evacuate, here is some help on how to go about it – or how to shelter in place at home if need be. (Item #2) Read this father's story about how a disaster got his family to understand why he was so concerned about preparedness. (Item #3)

House fires always increase this time of year; there is much you can do to ensure you can avoid fire. (Item #4) If earthquake preparedness at home is your concern, this is the article for you! (Item #5) This website gives you some idea of the kind of supplies you can get for home preparedness; there are many more such sites out there. (Item #6)

Learn more about how to have a safe 2012 at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shelter in Place

This week, shots once again were heard on the campus of Virginia Tech, and a shelter-in-place (SiP) situation followed. We don't know if they had SiP supplies in all the campus buildings, because the situation fortunately did not last very long. But the incident should give us all pause to consider how prepared we are for such a situation. This week's links will take you to sites that will help you plan and prepare.

The CDC offers advice on how to shelter in place. (Item #1) These helpful sites can make your SiP planning easier. (Item #2) This might or might not work for you, but the federal government's new snowstorm policy is worth considering. (Item #3)

ChicagoFirst offers best practice guidelines for sheltering in place. (Item #4) has supplies and tools for sheltering in place. (Item #5) also offers a line of kits and information for an SiP situation. (Item #6)

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter Weather Preparedness

You can't do anything about the weather except be prepared for it... with winter just weeks away we should be thinking about those preparations. Snow on the roads and the roof, freezing precipitation, blizzards and high winds can impact everything from product distribution to whether employees can get to work. The potential impacts of weather are as varied as the organizations they affect; weather affects everyone. This week's articles can help you with preparing to weather any storms.

Start now to plan for winter weather as it affects your building and operations. (Item #1) The potential impacts of winter weather are discussed here, as well as suggestions to maintain business continuity. (Item #2) Even new construction and renovations can be impacted by severe winter weather. (Item #3)

Power failures are always a possible result of winter storms. (Item #4) Winter weather covers a range of conditions; are you prepared for all of them? (Item #5) The flu can have a great impact on some organizations; here are some tips to minimize its impact on yours. (Item #6)

Read the entire issue or subscribe at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Testing Your Plan

One of the biggest difficulties that organizations face is testing and exercising their business continuity plans. Because it is perceived to be expensive and time-consuming, plan testing is simply not done by many companies. What is often overlooked is the fact that testing the plan could be the only thing between it working when it's needed and failure. Testing doesn't have to be an overwhelming task... see articles below for some ideas on how you can do it.

As plan testing matures, there are some notable trends in how it's conducted. (Item #1) Worldwide, as many as 50% of businesses do not test their BC plans; this survey done in Australia reveals typical results. (Item #2) Don't forget to make sure you test employees' remote access to critical applications in case no one can get to the office. (Item #3)

The benefits of testing and training far outweigh the cost. (Item #4) Several types of training are completely doable by almost any business. (Item #5) Are you ready for a disaster if it happens to your data center? (Item #6)

Read the entire issue or subscribe at

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Emergency Supplies

Just in case you have to shelter in place at home or at work, or evacuate your premises, do you know what you need to have available for survival? Even if there is no immediate threat, there is always the chance that weather will give use reason to leave or stay in place and we need to know what to have on hand so we can get through whatever happens. In this week’s articles, you’ll find some checklists and also a sampling of suppliers. (These companies are not necessarily supported by Attainium, they are only included to provide some information about the types of supplies available.)

The Red Cross is always a good first stop when you’re figuring out what you need. (Item #1) What you need for winter survival -- tips from mountaineers. (Item #2) Here is one supplier of emergency items with an assessment to help you figure out what you need. (Item #3)

We all know what it’s like to be in the dark when the power goes out; here are some products that can provide light and communication. (Item #4) Food is another important survival component... this site offers products (also available from other suppliers) to address the nutrition challenge. (Item #5) Here’s one of many sites that offer shelter-in-place kits in case you end up having to keep employees in the building for any length of time. (Item #6) And lastly, a short list of companies that provide emergency supplies.  (Item #7)

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holiday Issues

With Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away, workplace holiday celebrations/observations are just around the corner... and so is the potential for all kinds of problems. Have you given thought to exactly how your organization will celebrate the holidays this year? Will there be a party? Workplace decorations? Can you avoid ruffling feathers over religious issues, party drinking, and other things that can cause you legal trouble? Whether you have thought this out or not, take a look at this week's articles for help.

What decorations will you hang and exactly what holiday(s) will your party celebrate? (Item #1) Are holiday parties worth the potential risks? (Item #2) Should you serve liquor at your holiday party and, if you're the employee, should you drink? (Item #3)

Does your vacation policy ensure you won't be understaffed during the holidays? (Item #4) If liquor is on your party agenda, exactly what are your liabilities? (Item #5) Today's diverse workplaces often make it difficult to make holiday events appeal to all. (Item #6)

Read the entire NewsBrief at

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The State of Business Continuity Standards

It may seem that standards are multiplying by leaps and bounds, and that's almost true. We thought it would be a good idea to take a look at what standards are around and what they can do for us. We hope you will find this week's articles helpful as you determine which standards you should adopt or not.

What role do standards play in dealing with disruptions? (Item #1) Here's a listing of today's standards from all around the world. (Item #2) If you're wondering how these standards relate to each other, here is a side-by-side comparison. (Item #3)

Do you have to choose between the two leading standards or can you adopt both? (Item #4) Why ARE there so many standards? (Item #5) Here's how one company used standards certification to demonstrate best practices. (Item #6)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our Annual Halloween Edition

Halloween is but a few days away, leading us once again to consider strange and unusual disasters that could befall us. No matter how far-fetched these incidents may seem, they do spur us to consider what we would do in such situations. Can you imagine how you would respond to these unimaginable events? How your crisis team would respond? Perhaps you need to put them to the test and encourage them to think about your BC plan and what adjustments they might make respond to some of the situations below.

Even the CDC is getting in on the fun... here's their guide to staying safe in a zombie attack. (Item #1) If you think zombies aren't real, perhaps you should read about these zombie outbreaks in the US. (Item #2) The University of Florida's disaster exercise featuring a zombie attack could a good test for your team. (Item #3)

Is Halloween unlucky? This awful disaster on Halloween night 1963 in Indianapolis might make you think so. (Item #4) In 1918, Halloween occurred in the midst of the Spanish flu pandemic; many cities had no Halloween. (Item #5) A sinkhole in Guatemala swallowed a 3-story building... what could you possibly do to prepare for such a disaster? (Item #6)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


"US foils Iran terror plot" read a recent headline in a British newspaper, describing the plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador... Once again, we have had an attempted act of terror at home, and it is likely such incidents will continue into the foreseeable future. In light of this, we felt we should revisit some information on dealing with such incidents.

Terrorism can happen anywhere; your organization could become a target as well. (Item #1) There are ways to prepare for terrorism just as for other threats. (Item #2) Here's an online program to help you and your organization become more aware of terrorism. (Item #3)

Suspicious letters and packages? Here's what to do. (Item #4) Good news for your events – hotels now emphasize terror training. (Item #5) If your organization does experience a traumatic event, here are some symptoms you might want to watch out for. (Item #6)

Read back issues or subscribe at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Crisis Communications

Just because you have a communications strategy or component in your business continuity plan, don't assume you have a crisis communications plan that will work when you need it. There's communication... and there's communication. How much do you say? Who says it? When do you say it? Does everyone know what the plan is? Below are some articles that can help you transform your communication plan into a crisis communication plan.

Despite the addition of social media to crisis communication tools, some things have not changed. (Item #1) Your emergency communication strategy is like a fire drill for your communication plan. (Item #2) Business continuity plans lacking a communications ingredient are plans with a gaping hole. (Item #3)

Mishandling information during a crisis could result in a damaged reputation as well as lawsuits. (Item #4) The best of communication plans are less effective if they don't have effective emergency communication built in. (Item #5) This effective crisis communication strategy is known as A-C-T N-O-W. (Item #6)

Read the entire issue at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Meetings & Events

Are you one of the folks who think "it can't happen here?" Think again. The potential for crisis is in attendance at every conference or meeting you plan or attend. The question you should be asking yourself is, "Have I really considered all the possibilities for crisis and do I have some way to deal with them?" The articles below can help you answer this question.

Every meeting plan should start with a risk assessment. (Item #1) Are your events in compliance with the revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act? (Item #2) Drinks at receptions… consider the risks. (Item #3)

Here are some meeting-specific tips for dealing with crisis. (Item #4) Association meeting planners need contingency plans more than their corporate counterparts. (Item #5) In an evacuation situation, if you think everything's okay when everyone's out of the building, think again. (Item #6)

The full issue as well as back issues are available at

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mass Notification Systems

Communication is key to every aspect of the business continuity process – before, during or after any disruption. If you haven't invested in a mass notification system, perhaps it's time you considered how these systems can help you improve your chances of surviving a disruption. The articles below provide information to help you improve your current emergency notification procedures.

Do you know all you need to about mass notification systems? (Item #1)  Through contemporary mass notification systems, quick communication to a broad contact base can be simplified and streamlined. (Item #2) The issue of voice intelligibility in mass notification systems has become more important as the technology has evolved. (Item #3)

Here are nine ways you can make the most of your mass notification system. (Item #4) Integrating social networks adds value to emergency mass notification systems without added costs. (Item #5) Read how to decipher new codes and track the latest trends for effective emergency communications. (Item #6)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Management Buy-In

If you're having difficulty getting management to approve a business continuity program – or the costs of updating it or acquiring shelter-in-place supplies -- this week's articles may be helpful. Getting management buy-in is critical to getting the approvals you need... below are some ways you can set about doing just that.

What's the ROI for business continuity costs? That's what you have show to management. (Item #1) These nine steps can make it easier to get buy-in. (Item #2) Here are some tips IT can use to get approval for business continuity expenditures. (Item #3)

Here are some ways business continuity teams can get management buy-in. (Item #4) To win support for a business continuity plan, emphasize ways it can give your company a competitive edge. (Item #5) We need everyone's buy-in for business continuity; how do you get it? (Item #6)

The full issue as well as back issues are available at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reputation Management

What does your reputation, your brand, mean to your success? Are you worried that something in your company's past could come back to damage its future? If so, you need to consider reputation management. This is a field that has become more important as the Internet becomes more and more a part of everyday life, and everyone needs to be aware of it.

Consider this article a primer to reputation management in the online era. (Item #1) If you don't control your brand online, someone else will. (Item #2) These free tools can help you begin to track your online reputation. (Item #3)

If you can prevent reputation damage, that's a good thing. (Item #4) You probably can't sue, so what can you do to deal with online nastiness? (Item #5) Reputation management is actually two jobs: trying to be more loved and trying to be less hated. (Item #6)

This week's articles focus on preventing and controlling reputation damage... take a look at

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Terrorism never ends...

The U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion dollars on the war on terrorism since 9/11. As the 10th anniversary of that terrible day approaches, we take another look at the impact of terrorism on our lives and business and recommend that you continue your business continuity efforts.

Key threats to business continuity include terrorism and political unrest, an Aon report finds. (Item #1)  Lyndon Bird, director of the Business Continuity Institute, looks at terrorism as a threat to business continuity and its potential to interrupt activity, and how to approach prevention. (Item #2) It’s not just the 10 largest cities that should be concerned about terrorism. (Item #3)

This paper examines the impact of terrorism on five business sectors: the equities market, aviation, tourism, insurance and corporate security. (Item #4) Read this compilation of observations on the impact of terrorism on business. (Item #5) What can business do to cope more successfully with terrorism? (Item #6)

Get all of the details at

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Earthquakes, hurricanes & floods... Oh, my!

The east coast has had its share of business interruptions during the past two weeks. Hurricanes and flooding? Pretty typical in this part of the woods. But earthquakes? Who knew? Most of us in the DC area were thinking terrorist attack, not earthquake. Yet Virginia earthquakes, while quite rare, are not unexpected, we're told. While out-of-pocket expenses for the Virginia shaker that was felt all along the East Coast were estimated to be less than $100 million, Irene's price tag was already expected to reach into the billions. Time to ramp up your business continuity plan to include earthquakes and major hurricanes/flooding? This week's articles can help.

Maybe it will be decades until the next earthquake, but who knows? Be prepared… Items 1, 2, 3, and 4 tell you how.

Irene's floods should have all of us running back to our BC plans to ensure we included flooding as a risk – and planned for it. Check out items 5 and 6 for some help in this regard.

Read more about keeping your Business Continuity Plans current at

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

National Preparedness Month: "A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare."

September is National Preparedness month, and this year NPM 2011 is a call to action urging our nation to remember the disasters of our past while preparing for the disasters of the future. And, although that original September 11th disaster is a prominent part of National Preparedness Month 2011, it is very important to also stress that preparedness is needed for ALL hazards, both natural and man-made.

FEMA is encouraging everyone to help prepare their business, family and community for emergencies of all kinds. (Item #1) Staying in business means you have to be ready to take on any emergency that arises. (Item #2)  Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. That is why this holiday season, you should Resolve to be Ready. (Item #3)

The Federal government encourages everyone to prepare for the worst. (Item #4) Use National Preparedness Month as an opportunity to ensure you are prepared for whatever may happen. (Item #5) If you're wondering how to help your employees become more aware of preparedness, here are some ideas. (Item #6)

Keep preparedness in the forefront at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Business Continuity Planning

Is your business continuity plan up-to-date with any changes in your organization? Does it reflect any new potential risks? Are the right people in charge or in the know? Check your plan to answer these questions and take a look at these articles to give you some new insights on how to make your plan better.

If there was a catastrophe like a dirty bomb, many of the affected small-and-medium-sized businesses would go out of business. (Item #1) Here are some important points to consider when developing a business continuity plan. (Item #2) Do you know how cloud computing impacts business continuity planning? (Item #3) 

For some businesses in the World Trade Center, their business continuity plans were truly their lifelines; they could be for your nonprofit, as well. (Item #4) BCP is not a functional agenda; it is one of the top-10 risks covered by enterprise risk functions of organizations. (Item #5) The advent of virtualization technology has improved business continuity planning and execution for many organizations, but, if deployed or managed carelessly, virtualization can itself create business disruptions or data disasters. (Item #6)

Learn more at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cyber Issues

Cybercrime, cyber terrorism, cyber-espionage and cyber war are escalating issues in the 21st century. Every organization needs to take steps to ensure they are prepared to deal with – or prevent -- an instance of hacking, because it seems cyber issues can impact everyone at one time or another. This week's articles shed some light on some of the concerns you should have about protecting your organization from cyber issues of all kinds.

According to the FBI, 71% of American companies endanger their financial stability by not having insurance that will cover Internet liability.  (Item #1) Lack of appropriate insurance leaves a company vulnerable to a wide-range of financially devastating cyber exposures. (Item #2) IT keeps you open for business, but if you're not careful it can close you down for good. (Item #3)

An analysis of the impact and business risks of cybercrime attacks, plus the preferred security solution to effectively protect corporate networks and data. (Item #4) The e-mails may look authentic, but are they? (Item #5) Cyber security is now a major international concern, with hackers gaining access sensitive corporate and military secrets, including intellectual property. (Item #6)

Read it all at

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Workplace Violence

For years now, violence in the workplace has been one of the biggest threats to employees, as well as to corporate reputation. With workplace murders increasing every year, some experts say that the workplace is the most dangerous place to be in America. This week's articles were selected to provide assistance in keeping your workplace a safer place to be.

Check out these 10 warning signs of violence in the workplace. (Item #1) Do your managers and employees know how to deal with potential incidents of violence? (Item #2) If your organization won't take action against an employee, you should read this. (Item #3)

Perhaps, if your workplace violence policies were improved, the risk of violence would decrease. (Item #4) Terminations carry with them a great potential for violence; here are some tips for safer terminations. (Item #5) What's an employer to do to prevent workplace violence? (Item #6)

Learn more about Workplace Violence and other Business Continuity related issues at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Facility Concerns

Within every organization and/or facility, someone is in charge of the safety and security of the people and the facility. In large organizations, this might be the facility manager; in smaller organizations, this task probably falls to someone else, possibly whoever is responsible for business continuity. Information in this week's articles could be very helpful to whoever has this responsibility; consider passing them on.

The single most important issue is to protect the security and safety of building occupants. (Item #1) Did you ever think of your outside smoking area as a security risk? (Item #2) If your building suffers a disruption, it's important to morale to get things back to normal as soon as possible. (Item #3)

Emergency evacuation procedures are focused on the safety of the people, not the facility. (Item #4) One of the most important – perhaps even the most important – tools of the facility manager is a method of communicating with everyone in the building. (Item #5) If you're building a data center, it's better to build in some security measures rather than adding them later. (Item #6)

Dig deeper at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BCP Testing and Training

You can't count on your business continuity plan until you've tested it. Completing the plan is just the beginning – the testing is the critical next step, along with training your employees and ensuring that everyone knows what they're supposed to do when and how. Read this week's articles to learn more about how to test your plan.

Once tested, your plan adds security and value to your organization. (Item #1) The benefits of testing far outweigh any costs. (Item #2) You can learn from the successes and failures of others how to ensure your plan works. (Item #3)

The effectiveness of an exercise is directly related to the planning beforehand. (Item #4) Just how do you come up scenarios for your test? And what about plot lines? (Item #5) If you don't want the next disaster to test your plan, you'd better test it first. (Item #6)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Social Media and Business Continuity

More organizations today have instituted social media usage policies and many have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and blogs. Their business continuity plans, however, don't usually contain social media strategies. It seems that the time is ripe to update those plans to reflect the usage of these social media tools in your plans. This week's articles can help point out how to use social media as disaster response and recovery tools.

If you're one of the many who have questions about social media, here are some answers for you. (Item #1) Read how Facebook, text messages, and telehealth technologies play a role in emergency response. (Item #2) Today's technologically savvy employees  are connected through social media… you can take advantage of this in your BC plans. (Item #3)

Is social media the new crisis response tool? (Item #4) Don't be caught on the sidelines of the social media movement; put these tools to work for you. (Item #5) What's the point of Twitter in a business context? (Item #6)

Read it all at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crisis Communications

Regardless of what you might believe, there IS a crisis in your future... maybe next week or next year or even five years from now... but it's lurking there. The only real uncertainty is whether you'll be ready for it. Will you handle it on the fly? We hope not... and we've selected this week's articles to help you plan for the crisis in your future.

This list of do's and don't's can help you stay ahead of dealing with a crisis and handling it in the best possible way. (Item #1) The basic steps of crisis communications are not difficult, but you do have to be prepared in order to minimize damage. (Item #2) In today's social media climate, the mainstream media is not always as careful as it should be in the rush to be first with the news; how can you cope? (Item #3)

Like it or lump it, Twitter has become a key tool in crisis management; better learn to manage it. (Item #4) Businesses, brands, and organizations, we'll say it again: Get your crisis comms plan ready. (Item #5) What can we learn from the tech companies that made business mistakes and didn't address them immediately? (Item #6)

Past issues of the NewsBriefs are available at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Identity Theft and Phishing

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but if it's your organization that's being imitated, the results could be catastrophic. Identity theft, which is not limited to individuals, can cause businesses time and money and damage reputations. Read this week's articles to see how you can protect your organization from this threat.

Business identity theft seems to be a growing phenomenon. (Item #1) Phishing and identity theft criminals get more sophisticated all the time. (Item #2) Small businesses should be especially concerned about their vulnerability to identity theft. (Item #3)

Here's a guide to protecting your business and recovering from business identity theft. (Item #4) Is your organization a tempting target for identity theft? (Item #5) This list of FAQs can help you protect your identity in the workplace. (Item #6)

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Business Continuity and the Economy

No matter how critical it is to have a business continuity plan, a bad economy seems to make it less important to management. That is, however, the worst response – hard times make it more difficult for organizations to survive and a continuity plan is especially important now. Read this week’s articles to see how your organization can leverage business continuity in an economic downturn.

Here are 12 tips you can use to assist you in planning in a recession. (Item #1) This special report deals with changes in business continuity due to the economic downturn. (Item #2) Read what risk managers have to say about what’s happening this year with business continuity. (Item #3)

Companies generally undervalue their business continuity plans, whether the economy is good or not. (Item #4) Is funding business continuity in this economy an issue in your organization? (Item #5) The traditional business continuity concerns are still in play, but new concerns have arisen with the troubled economy. (Item #6)

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Meetings and Events

Anyone who's ever planned or managed an event knows that things go wrong. No matter how well you plan, how careful you are, some things just are not in your control. For this reason, you really must have a plan for dealing with the unexpected glitches, disasters and other interruptions that could possibly derail your event. Take some hints on what your plan should include from this week's articles.

Tragedies can happen anywhere, including at your event; have you answered all the “what if” questions? (Item #1) If you're not familiar with the force majeure clause, this article will help you understanding this important tool. (Item #2) This article reveals what we can learn from the tsunami tragedy in Japan. (Item #3)

If your last off-site meeting was a disaster, here are some tips for a success next time. (Item #4) This conference company provides a look at the top five conference disasters they've dealt with. (Item #5) If a crisis interrupts your meeting, can your organization respond effectively? (Item #6)

Get it all at

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Business Continuity Plan - Testing and Training

In spite of the fact that a plan untested is a plan that might not work, there are many organizations that fail to update and test their plans regularly – or at all. As one of this week's articles says, testing is a reality check for your plan; if you're betting your business and employees lives on it, it had better work. The articles presented this week may give you some new insights into the importance of testing and training.

Testing is the best way to find out what works and what doesn't. (Item #1) Just because you've checked the box that says "BC plan," don't assume you're prepared. (Item #2)  Here are all the reasons you've probably used for not testing... and also some ideas on how you can get your organization to dedicate resources to testing. (Item #3)

Scheduled (and sometimes unscheduled) rehearsals, workshops and training events should be woven into the fabric of normal business culture. (Item #4) If you don't do the reality check, you might as well not even have done the plan. (Item #5) No matter how small, your business should have a business continuity plan. (Item #6)

The entire issue, as well as past ones, are available at

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hurricane Season Began June 1

Hurricanes are the most powerful and destructive storms on the planet, accounting for a large percent of the country's catastrophic losses – and loss of life. The only way to help ensure that you can protect your organization's records and employees is to be prepared and to take all the necessary steps to avoid being caught in a hurricane. This week's articles provide important safety information you should know.

We could have an active hurricane season this year. (Item #1) ReadyAmerica provides safety information about hurricanes. (Item #2) These checklists can help you prepare for coming storms. (Item #3)

Most of us don't think about danger from fire during or after hurricanes. (Item #4) How to react safely in a hurricane. (Item #5) Is good insurance part of your emergency response? (Item #6)

Get prepared for hurricane season at

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

June is National Safety Month

Each June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to get involved and participate in National Safety Month. Take a look at this week’s articles for some ideas on how your organization can take part. Also, Friday is Heat Safety Awareness Day. According to the National Weather Service, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, killing more people each year than floods, lightning, tornados and hurricanes combined. Be careful out there!

Information from NIOSH provides information on violence in the workplace. (Item #1) OSHA provides information for building owners, managers and employers on sources of indoor air pollutants, applicable OSHA standards, and preventing or minimizing IAQ problems. (Item #2) Do you have an off-the-job safety program? (Item #3)

NIOSH offers a lot of information on workplace safety; look it over. (Item #4) Every organization should be concerned about parking lot safety; is yours? (Item #5) It’s your responsibility to ensure you stay safe at work; here are some tips you can put to good use. (Item #6)

Check out the entire issue at

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mass Notification Systems

One of the main reasons for the failure of business continuity and/or disaster response plans is lack of communication... for whatever reason, those who need it do not receive targeted, actionable information so they can carry out their roles. This week, our articles focus on what you need to know about mass notification systems (MNS) and, finally, providing information on various MSN products.

Here are eight steps to take to create an effective mass notification system. (Item #1) Regulation of mass notification systems is currently being studied. (Item #2) What’s the best way to deploy network-centric notification systems? (Item #3)

This article aims to give you the know-how you need to select a mass notification plan. (Item #4) The key to a good MNS is choosing not only the right mix of emergency communications systems to meet the facility’s needs, but also understanding and complying with the latest minimum requirements. (Item #5) This mass notification product showcase will provide you with a number of products to consider. (Item #6)

Everything you need to know about mass notification systems is available at

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Business Continuity Planning

In any crisis or emergency, there are a large number of business continuity requirements within the organization’s business and service processes, facilities, personnel, and other areas. The state of business continuity and disaster recovery planning is dismal in most organizations and nonexistent in many. Many plans in place simply won’t work... this week’s articles will help you ensure your plan works or, if you don’t have one, get you on the road to creating one.

Investing in a BCP is making an investment with a return nearly impossible to estimate; but the price of failure can be incalculable. (Item #1) How long should it take to create a BCP? (Item #2) Here you will see suggested steps and considerations, in an abbreviated way, for small companies to create a BCP that will improve their chances of continuing operations during or after significant disasters. (Item #3)

Although we can’t predict the future, we still need to mitigate risk and heed warnings carefully. (Item #4) What are the pros and cons of one plan versus many branch plans? (Item #5) Companies that don't take the time to prepare disaster recovery and business continuity plans (BCPs) are more likely to close in the first two years of trading. (Item #6)

The full issue is available at

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Employee Issues

There are two areas employers must be aware of with regard to employees: how to keep them safe and how to prevent disruptions caused – accidentally or on purpose – by employees. Some experts cite statistics that show that 80% of business disruptions are caused by employees – perhaps maliciously by mailing a customer list to a competitor, but also carelessly by leaving confidential information where it can be seen by anyone. This week's articles can help you with training so employees know how their actions impact the organization, as well as what you can do to ensure their safety.

While most businesses have continuity plans in place, many don't address a company's most precious assets: its employees. (Item #1) It is very common for managers to be concerned about how they will be able to effectively manage offsite employees. (Item #2) A number of concerns motivate employers to monitor employees surfing the Web at work. (Item #3)

You can lower the risk of litigation with a commitment to strategic e-mail management, combining written policies, employee education and technology tools. (Item #4) Even though employers have a policy against sexual harassment, they still can be held vicariously liable in cases where a supervisor uses sexual content to discriminate against an employee. (Item #5) There are pros and cons about the electronic surveillance of employees at work. (Item #6)

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Testing and Training

It's not only critical that your crisis team is trained to use your business continuity plan, it's also important that all employees are aware of the plan and understand their roles and the roles of everyone else. It is this type of training that can help ensure that employees won't panic in a crisis and will be aware that steps are being taken to handle any situation that arises. You'll find help with this in the articles below.

Here are some steps in developing and implementing your test. (Item #1) Some say there is no better learning curve in crisis management than managing through an actual crisis. (Item #2) Use this template to build and execute your test. (Item #3)

All employees need to be trained so they fully understand that continuing the business after a disaster may not mean an immediate return to “business as usual.” (Item #4) In this article, you'll find help for building awareness of your plan among employees. (Item #5) All employees are critical to the success of your Business Continuity Program and need to receive the appropriate level of education and training. (Item #6)

The full issue as well as back issues are available at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting Management Buy-In

There's more than adequate evidence that business continuity planning is critical in today's world, but it's still difficult to convince some senior managers of that fact. Perhaps you can take the advice in some of this week's NewsBriefs articles to help you get the buy-in you need.

Despite major disasters like the tsunami in Japan, management isn't jumping to approve disaster recovery and business continuity. (Item #1) Many senior managers provide only less-than-full buy-in for BC plans. (Item #2) Use one of these five methods to gain management buy-in. (Item #3)

Sometimes the Board isn't listening; here are some tips on how to position BC to get the Board to hear you. (Item #4) Here are some tips on how to get buy-in for your IT governance strategy. (Item #5) These strategies for getting your idea approved might help you get the CEO on board. (Item #6)

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Social Media and Business Continuity

Is your organization up to date on the most recent developments in enterprise social media? Have you observed how social media can aid an organization? Have you considered the possible drawbacks? Learn more about establishing and nurturing an enterprise social media and collaboration strategy in this week’s articles.

Is social media the ultimate BCM utility? (Item #1) Make sure to set up social media before a crisis hits. (Item #2) Emergency managers and business continuity planners agree that it’s smart practice to include social media in BCM and COOP programs. (Item #3)

Three common misperceptions have held back the use of social media in disaster response. (Item #4) It is critical that social media leaders determine the purpose of their initiatives before they deploy them. (Item #5) Social media has significantly changed how many companies communicate with their customers, employees and vendors. (Item #6)

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Facility Safety and Continuity

We always say that you have to think of people first in any disaster or disruption, but we also need to remember that we have to protect the facility – our building, our offices. This week’s articles will provide food for thought as you consider if you’ve covered all you can do in this area.

Dealing with an incident within the first few hours may reduce the total time of the disruptive event by weeks. (Item #1) Facility management is often overlooked when it comes to business continuity planning, but this group is vital to your safety and recovery success. (Item #2) How do you protect your critical documents in a disaster? (Item #3)

Prudent professionals must ensure that their properties, employees, and guests are well protected and prepared for any contingency. (Item #4) Don’t be destroyed by an it-can’t-happen-here mentality. (Item #5) This generic planning guide for facilities can help you ensure that your plan addresses all the necessary concerns. (Item #6)

How ready is your facility for a major disruption? Learn more at

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crisis Communication

The continuity of your entire organization could depend on whether or not you have a communications plan... and how good it is. If you don't have a strategy and plan for communicating to your employees, the public and any other stakeholders, you may find yourself behind the eight ball. This week's articles could help you stay in the game.

What are you doing to connect, protect and account for your people in a crisis? (Item #1) Analysts Frost & Sullivan: a well designed plan for crisis communications is a must. (Item #2) The author of this piece offers a free downloadable communications template you can use. (Item #3)

Behavior precedes communication, sometimes resulting in spin. (Item #4) Would you be able to use your email right after a disruption? (Item #5) Here's what you can take away from John Edwards' career suicide. (Item #6)

How will you communicate during a crisis? Learn more at

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reputation Management

Every organization is aware that its good reputation is priceless, but some companies aren't aware that their online reputation is just as critical. The Internet has provided a new battleground on which reputation battles must be fought. If you haven't done so, Google your organization's name and see what comes up. You may find some negatives along with the positives; if you do, this week's articles may be helpful in getting rid of them. The articles also can help you prevent negatives in the first place.

The public relations approach of "putting lipstick on the pig" is known as Reputation Management. (Item #1) Reputation management, in short, is two jobs: trying to be more loved and trying to be less hated. (Item #2) Your reputation in the search engines is becoming increasingly more important, and social media can help you maintain a good online reputation. (Item #3)

Welcome to the dark and sometimes ugly world of online reputation management. (Item #4) Here are essential ORM strategies & tactics that can save your assets. (Item #5) A new industry promises to help counter negative search results on the Web. (Item #6)

Read more about managing your organization's reputation at

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BCP Testing and Exercising

We keep saying it – you can’t count on your plan until you test it – and we will keep saying it because it couldn’t be truer. It only takes one wrong number, one missing link, and your plan may not work. So, take heed from this week’s articles and make sure you plan to test as soon as possible.

The trends in testing and exercising may give you some new ideas on testing your plan. (Item #1) The only way to ensure that your continuity plan will work is to test it with regular exercises and then to update the plans in the light of experience. (Item #2) Do you test your data backups? You should. (Item #3)

Setting up the exercise the right way can ensure that everyone benefits from it. (Item #4) Testing your plan is critical to its success. (Item #5) Don’t forget how important it is to train senior staff and others so they will know their jobs. (Item #6)

Learn more about testing and exercising at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Risk Management

Risk is anything that can derail your organization from accomplishing its mission. You need to identify the risks, determine their probable impact on your organization, then determine which risks to accept, which to mitigate, and how to deal with them. This week’s articles can help you with that task.

How are business continuity and risk management related in your organization? (Item #1) A Microsoft manager shares some insights into how his company reduces risk. (Item #2) Which approach to risk was right in this case? (Item #3)

Are you aware of the risks involved in ending relationships with employees and vendors? (Item #4) Don’t look too closely at risk… stepping back can give you a more critical view. (Item #5) Here are some tips to help you plan your risk management strategy. (Item #6)

Read all about it at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Chemical spills, storms and other events may require the need to shelter-in-place. If you find yourself in this situation, your organization should be prepared to host its employees until the shelter-in-place order is lifted. This week’s articles will help with those preparations.

You should understand and plan for both evacuating and sheltering-in-place. (Item #1) Depending on your location and the type of event, shelter in place plans will entail different responses. (Item #2) How effective – really – are duct tape and plastic? (Item #3)

Sheltering-in-place demands a safe environment. (Item #4) Experts at Stanford University have concluded that staying put could be the best option in the event of nuclear incident. (Item #5) What are a landlord’s obligations under a shelter-in-place order? (Item #6)

Learn what you need to know at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Workplace Violence

One in six violent crimes occurs in the workplace, according to the most recent Department of Justice study on crime. The workplace is the scene of almost 1 million violent crimes every year, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  About 10 percent--or 100,000--of these violent workplace crimes involve offenders armed with handguns. With numbers like this, you can’t assume your workplace is safe. Read this week’s articles to see how you prepare and perhaps avoid workplace violence.

HR is both the target of and its first line of defense against workplace violence. (Item #1) How do you prevent workplace violence eruptions? (Item #2) A no-tolerance policy and early intervention are the keys to preventing workplace violence. (Item #3)

A comprehensive workplace violence plan will include three critical elements. (Item #4) Violence in the workplace impacts all employees; what can you do after the fact to deal with their emotions? (Item #5) Here are some workplace violence statistics that may open your eyes to the scope of the problem. (Item #6)

The entire issue is available at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Business Continuity Plan ???

It's hard to believe that some organizations still do not have business continuity plans. Odds are that this lack of planning will catch up with them at some point. If you're one of those companies, or if your plan is outdated, check out this week’s articles and get busy safeguarding the future of your organization.

Begin planning now to ensure your survivability. (Item #1) Here are some steps for small businesses to take in creating a BCP. (Item #2) Continuity planning is something that many companies fail to plan for. (Item #3)

It’s more likely that a commonplace event will cause your disaster than any kind of cataclysmic event. (Item #4) Where does BCP report in your organization? (Item #5) Do you know how much a BCP would be worth to your organization? (Item #6)

Don't be one of the unprepared. Get valuable info at

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Don’t fall prey to the it-can’t-happen-here way of thinking with regard to cybercrime. It can and does happen anywhere, and no one seems to be immune. Take a look at this week’s articles and figure out your risk of cybercrime – and prepare for it in your business continuity plan.

Cybercrime costs businesses big bucks. (Item #1) Everyone in the workplace is responsible for computer security. (Item #2) HR plays an important role in fighting cybercrime. (Item #3)

Here’s how to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime. (Item #4) What can small businesses do about cybercrime? (Item #5) Cybercrime is the bane of online transactions. (Item #6)

Learn more at

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

BCP Testing and Training

We can't say it often enough... don't let your first disaster become the test for your business continuity plan! If you want to be sure the plan will work and everyone understands what they have to do, you must test your entire plan at least once a year and perhaps test different parts of it more often. This week's articles all discuss the importance of testing and training and provide some help in setting up your own tests.

Training doesn't have to be complicated to work well. (Item #1) How can you communicate the value of BC training? (Item #2) Financial institutions have some requirements for validating their plans. (Item #3)

Don't waste the resources you put into your plan… make sure everyone knows it's there and how to use it. (Item #4) Here are some keys to moving beyond the concept stage. (Item #5) Read about some of the issues in testing and see how some organizations got it wrong. (Item #6)

Check out the entire issue at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meeting and Event Continuity

If you agree with the principal that “anything that can go wrong, will,” you’ll understand why a contingency plan is so important to your meeting and event. The articles below can help you put one together or check to see that yours covers all it should.

You must have an emergency plan to ensure attendee safety and business continuity in a world where the occurrence of the unexpected is increasingly likely. (Item #1) The most important thing you can do for any event is to have a contingency plan. (Item #2) It is critical that an event contingency plan include a system for implementing the plan, including making sure that those it protects know of its existence and what it provides. (Item #3)

You do have to consider the problems individuals can cause at an event. (Item #4) If you can answer these questions your venue may put to you, you probably have a contingency plan. (Item #5) Video and virtual meetings can be the answer to meeting disruptions. (Item #6)

Learn more at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Getting Management Buy-In

In many organizations, the biggest business continuity issues are communication and getting buy-in and funding. Because business continuity has no instant return on investment, it is extremely difficult to measure its value. It is viewed as a cost center, not a revenue item. As a result, BC is often pushed into the background in favor of activities that positively affect the bottom line. This week’s articles are selected to help you gain the buy-in you need to get your BCP off the ground.

How do you get management attention for your BC project? (Item #1) Senior management is important, but how about everyone else in the organization? (Item #2) You want to do BC training, but you need management support. (Item #3)

Let management know what you and your BC team bring to the party. (Item #4) What does your presentation need to be effective and get the buy-in you want? (Item #5) Maybe communication is the answer to the problem of getting buy-in. (Item #6)

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Business Continuity in the Current Economy

Regardless of the state of the economy, it's critical to make sure your continuity planning doesn't fall by the wayside. You can't afford to think that bad things don't happen in bad times... they do. This week's articles, therefore, look at protecting your organization despite the economy.

IT projects may be on hold, but your infrastructure must be protected now. (Item #1) Reducing costs also may increase your risk; keep your plan ready to deal with the worst case. (Item #2) You need to do everything possible to ensure funds for recovery are available. (Item #3)

Maybe, instead of eliminating BC planning, you can take a modular approach. (Item #4) People in the field share their insights about keeping your plans alive in a recession. (Item #5) Is the down economy actually encouraging management to get more involved in BC planning? (Item #6)

Get this full text of issue plus all of our previous Newsbriefs are available at

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Six Key Business Continuity Activities for 2011

The New Year is underway, and I'd like to call to your attention to the following six activities that could help you survive a disruption to your organization. Here are links to several of our 2010 newsletter issues (in case you missed them) that offer more help on these six key activities:
  1. Get a plan or update your old one
  2. Develop emergency plans for any meetings, events, etc., that you plan, produce, or host
  3. Assess your risk for 2011
  4. Exercise your plan
  5. Make sure everyone knows about the plan
  6. Have you checked your emergency supplies lately?
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