disaster recovery

Global Assessment Report 2015 - Manage the Risks, not just the disaster

UN GAR report Disaster Risk Reduction project and risk management
 
Governments and organization need to better understand and actively manage Risks rather than just be responding to the disasters as they happen.  
 
Thats the conclusion of the United Nations Global Assessment Report 2015 that aims to set the future direction for Disaster Risks around the world.   
 
The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) is a biennial global assessment of disaster risk reduction and a comprehensive review and analysis of the natural hazards that are affecting humanity.
 

BS 12999 | Draft For Comment | Damage management

BSI Standards development The BSI has been working to produce standaised Guidance for Damage Management that outlines the processes followed to facilitate the reinstatement and future integrity of affected public, commercial or domestic property, contents, facilities and assets, in the event of an incident or peril that causes damage.  The consultation closes at the end of April 2015.

This code of practice called BS 12999 builds on the already recognized BDMA Standards and connects and supports other standards covering Business Continuity and Recovery Management . 

ICM wins expanded Recovery contract with Experian

ICM Business Continuity Services
 
Experian now has more than 300 work area recovery seats at ICM’s Nottingham centre for both call centre and back office staff.
 
Edward Sherley-Price, Head of Business Continuity at Experian, explains: "The location of ICM’s work area recovery centre is ideal for us. Should our offices become unavailable, the centre is on a city tram stop, near a motorway junction and has plenty of parking. It means that our staff can carry on work without disruption and get there in the usual way that they commute."
 

Latest Strategic guidance on Building decontamination for CBRN

 
The guidance is part of sensible contingency and business continuity planning and does not mean that there is an increased risk of terrorist attack using CBRN materials. It gives basic information on the decontamination and remediation that may be required following a deliberate or accidental release in the UK as outlined below. 
 
This document replaces guidance published in 2004 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now the Department for Communities and Local Government).
 

New York Hospital System Increases Communication to Improve Care

MIR3 Mass notification systemsHospitals are busy places where protecting the health and safety of patients, employees and visitors is vital. Find out how North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System ensures safety while minimizing interruptions that could impact the business of taking care of patients.

More from MIR3 ... Mass Notification systems 

 


Flooding - the case to better protect your facilities

 
Submitted by Russell Greig-Bartram, MD Disasternet Ltd
 
A case to better protect your facility
 
It is a fact that a better risk managed facility leads to significantly reduced volatility of earnings for an enterprise, and yet we continue to see little evidence of organisations implementing plans and Business Continuity measures to recover the temporary loss of their facility following an incident.
 

Avanti win £4.5m Contract

Business Continuity Forum satellite broadband communications and Business Continuity

Avanti (AIM: AVN), the broadband satellite operator, is pleased to announce that it has signed a three year contract with Computerlinks which becomes a major distributor for Avanti’s Business Continuity products including its patented Business Internet Continuity (BIC) service.

Computerlinks will enable its channel partners, of whom there are over 5,000, to address the rapidly growing market demand for disaster recovery telecoms services. They will now be able to provide true Business Internet Continuity to their installed and new customers who are becoming increasingly wary of reliance on single circuits to connect them to the “Cloud” or to their own application and data servers.

Avanti has secured international patent protection for its Business Internet Continuity product, which is capable of instantly restoring, by satellite, not only connectivity but also IP addressing in the event of a failure of customers’ primary telecoms circuit. The contract is worth up to £4.5 million.

Commenting, David Williams, Avanti Chief Executive, said:

“This contract brings an important new revenue stream to Avanti and our first major sale of our patented Business Internet Continuity product to a large and highly expert customer. With the increasing importance of cloud computing in the Enterprise market, simple, cost effective and scalable Business Continuity solutions will be in demand across the World. Avanti’s patented Business Internet Continuity product has potential application for almost every connected business in the World and takes satellite broadband beyond core rural and enterprise markets. With the global reach of Computerlinks working together with the coverage offered by the HYLAS fleet of three satellites, the possibilities are very exciting.”

For more on Avanti click here


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Business Continuity for Print proves its worth

Business Continuity Forum, Support, Advice, events and guidance 

Argos and Homebase could have been crippled following the collapse of Bemrosebooth, a key supplier of Print Services to the Home Retail Group (HRG), when they fell into administration.

HRG though had the foresight to have a plan and invoked their contract with specialist Print Support company Business Continuity.  While HRG seek alternate providers of this specialised service Business Continuity will be maintaining the service to Argos and Homebase customers with all their paperwork covering statements, letters and mailings amounting to hundreds of thousands of documents each week continuing to sent uninterrupted. 

SME's still lack Back up protection


 

Most small and medium-size businesses are still failing to protect their firms vital data. This is the finding of a survey undertaken by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Acronis.

DeBoer Structures - Gold Partner

Category - Business Continuity Management - Partner listing


Special Circumstances Demand Special Solutions

Adequate and readily available accommodation is a primary requirement and concern. Fires, floods, storms, hurricanes and other disasters leave people and businesses without a roof over their heads. War and unstable governments cause whole communities to flee.

All over the world, people are migrating. But those who are sent out to maintain the peace, or provide disaster relief also need accommodation. Epidemics could necessitate setting up an emergency hospital or medical post.

These are housing situations for which De Boer offers a solution in the form of high-endurance, secure temporary accommodation. Located all over the world, these shelters serve as reception centres for refugees and displaced persons, as medical posts, offices, schools or even as extra prison space. They are also used as army barracks: during the Gulf War De Boer tents served as temporary accommodation.

End User IT Disaster Recovery Lessons Learned in Katrina's Wake

Practical lessons from a user perspective


On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina blew through New Orleans. With the hindsight of 18 months, here are some changes we implemented, and ideas we expanded based on our experience. We hope they help you develop your firm's disaster recovery/business continuity plans.

REVIEW AND UPDATE

It's critical to keep your DR/BC plan current and realistic. An outdated plan, or one that assumes the impossible, won't help you in real life. We now review our plan every six months, which helps us revise it to incorporate new technology or ideas. For example, if a new application is added to your network, someone should ensure that the data it produces is replicated, and that the application itself will be available remotely, and at your "hot site". Should this be overlooked at the time the new application is installed, the periodic review, if done properly, will catch the oversight and make the DR/BC plan accurate again.

DESIGNATE A REMOTE OFFICE

I can't say enough of the value in having a remote office ready to set up shop in after a disaster. Even if that office isn't large enough to accommodate the entire staff, it's a start and is better than nothing at all. After Katrina, our Baton Rouge branch office instantly became our main office.

Other firms that only had an office in New Orleans were still scrambling to find floor space while we were wrapping up our network restore. You can bet during a regional disaster like Katrina, available space will go very quickly. If you have multiple offices, designate one as the expected backup main office, and consider making it a hot site where you can continuously replicate your data. Be sure that the remote office is not so geographically close to your main office that it might be equally hit by calamity.

Alternatively, if your firm doesn't have a secondary office, consider a co-location arrangement with a vendor who has a data center within a few hundred miles of your main office, or close enough to drive to within a few hours. (Again, factor in possible regional events).

You might also consider a "mutual aid" partnership with another firm in a different region, obviously not a direct competitor, in the event of a major regional catastrophe. Don't forget to incorporate remote access tools into your hot site, especially if you think people will be dispersed and not all working at the hot site.

TEST, REVISE AND RE-TEST

Post-Katrina, we now schedule tests of our hot-site systems at least twice a year, tied to the beginning and end of hurricane season. Our goal is to ensure that we can duplicate network operations as closely as possible and according to our established plan.

It is important to realize that a hot site likely won't be an exact twin of your production network. It's important to have critical applications and data current and available; however, from our users' perspective there will be subtle, noncritical differences such as invalid printer names, and invalid shortcuts to programs that are not available. Document these differences well enough and incorporate back into your plan. This will ensure that when a real failover occurs, everyone involved will know what to expect.

Throughout the year, we also continuously perform data integrity tests of our replication software. While we have faith in the reliability of our replication system, and monitor its status, it's very easy to fire up the hot-site databases and perform a quick query to just be sure everything is in sync.

In fact, the software allows us to automate that process completely, all without ever stopping the real-time replication. You don't want to come to discover that your hot-site data is actually six months out of date.

PEOPLE AND COMMUNICATIONS

Do not forget about the most important component of your firm: the people.

The best technology won't be worth a dime without the human resources. After Katrina, many of our staff lost everything and were scattered throughout the region. Those who could make it to our Baton Rouge office did so as quickly as their situation allowed, while others were in other nearby cities.

In preparing your own disaster plan, most specific details regarding human resources can't be ironed out in advance. However, you can develop a protocol about what the firm will expect of employees and what employees can expect of the firm following a disaster, for example, how will the firm contact employees, and vice versa? Keep employee data updated and keep a printed hard copy offsite. Be sure your management team always has a copy. Also remember to include the contact list in any type of disaster "hotbox" you create.

Given the annual threat of hurricane evacuations, we went one step further and asked that employees also provide contact information about where they might evacuate (e.g., friends and family.) We now hold biannual meetings to remind empoyees about emergency procedures.

One specific thing we have done to help maintain communications during and immediately following a disaster is to establish service with a Web-based SMS (text-messaging) service.

Post-Katrina, Gulf Coast residents quickly discovered that though cellular service was nearly nonexistent, text messaging generally worked flawlessly. We will use this to broadcast vital information to employee cell phones via a simple Web interface.

RISKS AND PLAN

Understand your firm's specific threats and plan for those scenarios first. Although our firm is vulnerable to other disasters, being located in New Orleans (and having gone through Katrina) our disaster planning revolves around hurricane scenarios.

I would imagine folks on the West Coast would likely plan for earthquakes and wild fires. But also consider disasters that may only briefly interrupt your operations, such as a defective sprinker system, as well those that can potentially keep you out of your office for extended time, or completely destroy your main site. Each day when you leave your office, stop and think about what you would do if the next morning you discover the main office was completely destroyed.

In addition, it is your job to get a new office running by the end of the day, or sooner. Do you have servers? Do you have tapes? Do you have a disaster plan?

James Zeller is network manager at Chaffe McCall, in New Orleans, and won an honorable mention in the 2006 Law Technology News Awards' IT Director of the Year competition.

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SMB Companies ignoring web site disaster recovery

Research suggests organisations could lose revenue & customers


Many mid-sized firms risk losing revenue and alienating customers because they do not have a disaster recovery plan in place for their web sites, according to new research from hosting specialist NetBenefit.

The survey of 100 UK IT directors found that a third did not have a disaster recovery plan in place. Of the firms that did, only 38 percent said they tested their plans more than once a year.

Revisit disaster plans, councils warned

Public sector IT systems at risk


By Steve Ranger Public Sector Magazine

Councils are missing chances to establish up-to-date disaster recovery plans for their IT services. Local government user group Socitm has warned its research from recent disasters that have impacted local authority IT services raises "serious concerns" as to whether councils understand the expectations of the Civil Contingencies Act and are sufficiently prepared to cope with threats to business continuity.

The research focuses on six case studies from local authorities that have experienced major disasters, from an arson attack to major flooding and the Buncefield oil storage depot explosion.

Securing your IT continuity

Many organisations are dangerously unaware of the risks of not having an IT continuity plan in the event of disaster


Many organisations are operating under the dangerous illusion that they will never suffer a major loss of IT systems, or that such a loss will have a relatively low impact, research from the British Standards Institute has warned.

BSI's Publicly Available Specification (PAS) advisory paper, IT Service Continuity Management Code of Practice (reference 77:2006), paints a grim picture of the potential disaster facing ill-prepared organisations. It cautions that while many firms believe that they have invested in adequate systems resilience, in reality most do not have adequate plans to protect themselves from natural disasters or human error.

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