VSAT launched in the South West

The Continuity Forum was delighted to once again be working with our colleagues at NaTSCO, Dorset Police and the Counter Terrorism Intelligence unit at this weeks South West Regional launch of the Vulnerability Self Assessment Toolkit (VSAT). The launch was held for around 100 people and included many of the areas leading employers. 
Opening the session Damian from the Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit (CTIU) outlined the importance of preparation and Business Continuity to organisations across the country, stressing that terrorism wasn't just a London 'Problem' by providing real examples of the threats posed in recent years in the West Country. 
Jason and Lee from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office provided very valuable advice and an overview of the work of both NACTSO and the Counter Terrorism Security Advisers (CTSA) nationally and across the region and took the opportunity to introduce the CTSA's from across the region to the delegates. They covered the development of the Vulnerability Self Assessment Toolkit from its initial concepts, through its development and just how organisations can use it.  The core principle behind VSAT is to enable organisations of all types to quickly 'reality check' their security and business continuity measures and impartially highlight vulnerabilities.
VSAT provides guidance on how to plug any gaps uncovered and delivers a host of advice on Security, Business Continuity and Resilience topics. Lee reinforced the message that this was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the free resources available. CTSA's are also available to work directly alongside organisations to reduce risk and improve resilience. Full demonstrations were also given to the delegates on the VSAT system illustrating just how simple and easy it is to use and urging organisations to register. The value to the SME business community was clear and this free to use service offers even the smallest business extremely practical help.
For larger organisations, VSAT can be deployed to provide local and regional assessments for use by head office and the system is likely to develop to provide even more functionality in the this area making the difficult job of Security or Business Continuity Manager a little easier!
Simon from Dorset Police gave a fascinating insight into the Olympics preparations and challenges faced by the county in staging the Sailing events in Weymouth. Huge progress has been made in developing the infrastructure needed for the biggest Olympic centre outside of London. He stressed that organisations needed to prepare for an influx of additional visitors to the already popular tourist destination and make sure that planning was underway and in place in time in order to cope with what will inevitably be a very significant surge in the local economy and adding pressure on the local infrastructure. 
Russell, from the Continuity Forum, provided insight into the Forums work on VSAT and how it aligned and supported the development of Business Continuity across all sectors. He illustrated how the BCM, security and risk fields needed to work effectively together to generate real resilience and improve not just the safety of our communities, but bolster the economic well-being of companies and ultimately the country. Using examples of disruptions small and large, he highlighted the value to be gained from following a structured Business Continuity Management framework for all organisations, but especially the SME sector where adoption rates are lowest, yet the risks often greatest. Russell also stressed the connections and amplified value that arose from sensible planning where preparation for the effects of disruption frequently helped hugely across a range of circumstances not previously foreseen. He provided practical examples of the value of agility in Business Continuity and Resilience planning and added in insights of what really happens when things go wrong and that reinforced the positive value of BCM. 
Paul from J P Morgan provided a user perspective on VSAT showing how they had benefited from the Toolkit and making recommendations on how to gain the best value form the time invested. Paul stressed that although J P Morgan were a large employer, with some special security concerns and a well developed resilience culture, VSAT stilled managed to deliver great additional value and that for those less evolved, or perhaps even just starting out, it provided invaluable advice and guidance and all for free.   
We were delighted to be joined on the day by NonVerba, MIR3, Vicon and GP Films who supported the event providing added insight and expertise to the delegates.
Further Regional launches will be happening throughout 2011 and do get in touch if you would like to attend.