Business Continuity Planning Failures

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Research attributes only thirteen percent of most companies downtown caused by natural disasters
Downtown time due to other types of incidents, not including natural disasters, is a whopping eighty-seven percent.  Which is quite alarming when the statistics show that every year seventy-five percent of company’s experience outages.  With company’s revenue losses totaling more than $25 billion a year due to IT Outages in America alone.  Yet nearly sixty percent of businesses in the USA have no Disaster Recovery Plan implemented.  The worse fact of all is that more than a quarter of these businesses that close due to downtown never re-open!

A Business Continuity Plan needs to be structured and implemented properly

Most companies put off the planning and implementing a Continuity Plan because it can be quite costly and time-consuming.  So, they adopt the “It will never happen to us” attitude and put it to the back of their mind each day breathing a sigh of relief that it did not happen today!

If a business is going to put the time, money and effort into creating a Continuity Plan they must do so with the utmost commitment and ensure that it is basically an iron-clad one.

There is noway one could ever predict every single threat, disaster, incident or casualty that could occur.  There are just too many variables not to mention it would probably take a lifetime to do so!

But a good place to start is with some company research and a good old Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment!

Once they are done it will give the company a better understanding of the core processes, key personnel and acceptable loss levels.  The Risk Assessment covers the potential threats from which is a good grounding to start.

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Some of the common mistakes made by companies with their Continuity Plan are:

  • Not covering all potential threats
    • Has the company consideredthreats and potential risks from within companies, such as employees? Research showed that a high percentage of security breaches came from employees either unintentionally or intentionally not securing their passwords
    • Have acts of nature been considered right down to infestation with insects? There was an incident whereby an entire organization shut down for days due to an infestation of small flies.
    • What about power-outages due to many reasons such a power box being struck by lightning?
  • Lack of communications amongst peers
    Just like the mandatory fire drills that have companies piling their employees out of the building for a drill and having the procedures for the drill clearly defined for them, a companies Continuity Plan should be administrated and communicated along the same lines. With staff aware of the key personnel to contact and actions to take.  Just as the “fire-escape Plan” is mounted to the walls at various points in a company so should an outline of the Business Continuity plan.
  • Lack of knowledge about the business, its operations and key processes
    As Business continuity requires a complete knowledge of the company, it processes, etc. The BCM Manager should be someone who knows the business inside out and preferably from top-level management with the support and backing of their peers!


The Business Continuity Plan is a vital part of a company’s recovery process and should be implemented by key personnel with an in-depth knowledge of the company.

They should also be committed to the keeping the plan updated, well documented and communicated throughout the company.

The Importance of Executive Protection Services In The Tech Industry

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The tech industry might seem pretty calm and relaxed from the outside and it certainly has a reputation for being a little more laidback just look at Google’s HQ! But just because things seem a little less serious that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for executive protection services.

In fact, executive protection services are in high-demand when it comes to the tech industry, you might not really notice it but if you ever see footage of tech leaders like Mark Zuckerberg out in public he will usually be flanked by bodyguards.

These bodyguards will be part of a professional executive protection services team and be responsible for ensuring the safety of important business leaders. Sticking with Facebook for a moment do you know how much it costs the business to protect their founder and leader?

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news lately you might have already seen a report about it but if you haven’t then I’ll answer the question for you. In 2017 alone, it was reported that Facebook spent $7.3 million dollars on personal security for Mark Zuckerberg, a 50% increase on the amount spent in 2016.

Robert Frank, writing for CNBC estimated the cost at around $20,000 dollars a day which goes to show how important keeping their leader and founder safe is. While available data shows Facebook spend the most when it comes to executive protection services many other leading tech figures also have large budgets when it comes to their protection.

Amazon reportedly spent $1.6 million on executive protection services for Jeff Bezos in 2016 while Apple spent $224,000 on protection services for Tim Cook. These might seem relatively small when compared to the amount spent on Mark Zuckerberg, but while the amounts are smaller they still show that tech companies are willing to spend a lot when it comes to protection services.

After all, can anyone really argue that even the smallest of the three figures is not a lot of money? You also have to take into the account the amount of traveling Mark Zuckerberg did in the last year compared to the other tech leaders. Travel protection is what usually increases the price of executive protection services.

But whether it’s a million dollars or ten thousand many tech companies will be willing to pay to protect their leaders and other key figures. Executive protection services are also rarely focused on a single person they can be used to ensure the protection of larger groups like a group of board members or a tech leader and their family.

You might be reading this and thinking well that’s all well and good but what does any of it mean for me and my business? You might be the leader of a smaller business or in the process of setting one up and thinking I don’t need that level of protection, it’s way too over the top.

That’s understandable and you might even be right in your assumption at least right now but what about in the future? You might also be underestimating just how valuable you actually are, even in the early days of your business, you could need the high level of protection on offer from professional executive protection service providers. Let’s look at the benefits in more detail, shall we?

Why You Need Executive Protection Services

Many people reading this might be in the early stages of setting up their business, or you might even have it set-up and could be doing business right now. You probably fit somewhere into the rather wide category encompassed by SME’s don’t you? But while every SME is different I’ am willing to bet many don’t have executive protection services.

Many small to medium-sized business leaders probably don’t see the point or can’t justify the expense. But remember you can get professional protection services on a smaller budget you don’t have to spend millions like Facebook did, many service providers know that level of expense is an exception and not a common occurrence.

But even when you know you can afford it many SME tech business leaders will still think the money could be better spent elsewhere or think they won’t need the level of protection an executive protection service provider could offer. There’s a variety of reasons why they could believe this but some of it does go back to what I said at the beginning of this piece.

Many people hold a very common misconception when it comes to the tech industry, they see it as being more playful and relaxed unlike other big industries like finance or the media. But the tech industry is arguably the most important business industry around today and it is heavily connected to almost every other industry.

It might all seem like fun and games but many of the leading businesses today need the protection provided by executive protection services. And it’s not just the tech leaders who need high levels of protection but their families as well and you might be a smaller tech business owner, but you could still need a high level of protection.

Think about it like this every big tech business you see today started out as a small business somewhere. Some leading tech companies expanded an insane amount in just a few months so don’t think just because you’re a small business now that you’ll stay that way.

And even if you are a small business that doesn’t mean you won’t be a target! Yes, it’s not as common but small tech business leaders have found themselves targets of a variety of crimes because of the ideas they have. So, every tech business leader out there big or small should think about hiring executive protection services from a professional provider.

That way you can ensure you, your employees and even your family are always protected and remember despite what you might have heard you can still get high-quality protection on a smaller budget.


Business Continuity Planning

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Every Business Continuity Plan should be about preparation

A Business Continuity Plan offers a company many key benefits besides being prepared for almost anything.

Some Key Benefits of Business Continuity Planning:

  • Identification of Risk
    As one of the building blocks for the Continuity Plan, a Risk Assessment needs to be carried out for each function and process for various threats and vulnerabilities which would have to be done at every office or factory site within the organizations jurisdiction.
  • Compliance
    With the many new regulatory compliance requirements that are becoming mandatory by various governments and worldwide governing and or regulatory bodies, companies have started to ensure that all their operations and systems conform to the required standards, rules and regulations as stipulated by each one.
  • Improvements to Operational processes
    When a business sets about analyzing various processes it gives them a unique opportunity to examine the current processes and implement changes that could improve the efficiency and increase productivity.

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·         Staff Training and Support requirements/needs Identification

Whilst examining the various procedures a company can assess and evaluate staff requirements in forms of training and support they may need.  This, in turn, leads to a better working environment for all, cutting down on tired, overworked staff members that could get injured or cause a potential incident.

  • Resilience
    By training and bringing about more staff awareness programs, it gives them the tools to react more efficiently and effectively to counteract the more minor incidents that occur daily,before they escalate into a major incident thus strengthening the organization by empowering their employees.
  • Effective Cost Savings
    A tried and tested Business Continuation Plan is usually looked upon favorably by most insurance companies so can potentially cut down insurance costs. Better trained employees with great support systems cut down the costs for temporary staff to pick up the slack.  More streamlined processes could potentially cut down costs like materials, etc.

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·         Organized and Structured Knowledgebase

Usually, a company’s data is rather scattered across shared directories or hoarded on management laptops.  Implementing the Business Continuity Plan is a great excuse to start gathering up and sorting out the information into more accessible and document controlled environment.  This also ensures the data is being correctly backed up and is easily accessible should it be needed for some reason.


Having an efficient and effective Business Continuity Plan can help prevent negative publicity a lot of companies are plagued with due to disruptions, disgruntled staff members and poor organization.

Implementing a Disaster Recovery Plan

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The Disaster Recovery Plans Value

A Disaster Recovery Plan when in place is the instrument that ensures the company has the tools and knowledge to efficiently and effectively recover from an incident, event or disaster with the minimal amount of downtime as possible!

The Planning and Responsibility of the Disaster Recovery Plan

The responsibility for the planning and implementing of the Disaster Recovery Plan is that of a senior managers function who must have the support and backing of the rest of the management and higher-arci of the company for the plan to succeed.  Once the plan has been approved and tested it must be made clear to the rest of the company’s staff!

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The Disaster Recovery Team

The Disaster Recovery Plan is vast and concerns most of all departments of a company, so a Disaster Recovery Team should be established.  The team members should comprise of a manager or supervise from each department and or various department functions, for instance in IT you may need a person from the Infrastructure Team, another from the backup team, another from the support desk team, etc.

There should be a timeframe in place for the deadline of the plan to be in place.

The plan should be tested, maintained and updated on a regular basis the times of which must be agreed upon by the DR Committee.

DR Team Roles and Responsibilities

The Plan should include the roles and responsibilities of each of the key members of the DR Plan and or the DR Committee.

Although each key member of the team will have a specific function and duty to perform considering a disaster, event or major incident it should be the explicit and documented role of the DR Manager or Co-Ordinator to declare a disaster and the put into the action the Disaster Recovery Plan.
This will require sign off and authority from the governing bodies and heads.

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Some of the Procedures to Include:

There must be instructions on who and how to contact key personnel in event of various situations, as well as any suppliers, standby teams and remote teams.

There should be clear and concise instructions on what constitutes a major and or minor disasters with the policies, procedures and various contacts for both scenarios.


A comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan will include the phone number of the Fire Stations, Electricity Boards, The police, Hospital/ambulance services, Disaster Management, Environmental Agencies, etc.

Getting started with Risk Assessment

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Risk assessment

The ISO defines Risk as being “The effect of uncertainty on an object!”
The “effect” would be any possible outcome that would deviate from the usual objective

We make plans based on various assumptions

We make plans nearly every day, for instance we are going to awake at six am to be ready to leave for work by eight am, leaving about forty minutes for travel time to work we should be there well before nine am because the average trip time to work in my own car, is only twenty minutes so you allow for another twenty incase of unusually heavy traffic.

In making plans we are making a prediction of the future.  We are stating that by following a certain routine or pattern we will achieve our desired result or goal.

In this, we have made various assumptions as to how certain elements and factors that surround us will work and perform.

Sometimes assumptions can misfire, and our predictions can go awry by a near miss or completely off the rails.

Thus, any of the assumptions we had made that were wrong will bring about very different or varied outcomes some that could have a minor effect and others a drastic effect giving rise to various questions:

  • What were our assumptions when we set about constructing the plan?
  • What uncertainty arises about the value of our assumptions?
  • To what degree does our uncertainty vary over those values?
  • What is the potential effect of that uncertainty on the desired outcome?
  • What can be done to cut down on the level of uncertainty?

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Looking at the left for work scenario we would see that the following assumptions were made:

  • My car has enough fuel in it
  • My car is mechanically sound, and I am not expecting any trouble with it
  • There should be no major traffic delays that would delay me beyond the average of twenty minutes
  • There are no route detours or deviations for any reason

Now let’s identify the various risks with this scenario as should just one of these assumptions be wrong it could seriously impact and delay my journey:

  • The car does not start for some reason thus causing a delay whilst I must call a mechanic
  • The car either runs out of fuel or I must stop a petrol station which due to the time of the morning may be incredibly busy which would delay my journey.
  • There is a major detour on the route to work due to roadworks or an accident. Never having takenthe allotted detour, I stand the risk of getting horribly lost which would cause a delay, or due to the amount of traffic being funneled through the detour it causes a major delay in my journey


Risk Assessment is a vital process for any company no matter how large or small.  By establishing the various assumptions of the day-to-day operations and then evaluating the risks factors of those assumptions a company can create a valuable risk treatment and management process.

Risk Assessment vs Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

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Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis

To fully protect a company from disasters, threats, security risks and be fully ISO-compliant it is good practice for them to have both a Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment which is vital to any BCM and Disaster Recovery Plan.

Understanding the differences between Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment

Although the two practices complement each other and the foundations to any good Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan and have some common grounding and overlap they are different processes each contributing necessary information towards an efficient Business Resilience Plan.

Risk Assessment

Is a valuable process by which potential threats are identified and various actions are put in place to either prevent or to minimize the risk thereof by an acceptable degree of loss, downtime or failure.

By systematically managing these potential risks with various resources such a patching of Windows systems, upgrading of alarms, installing better VCR security systems, etc.

Risk Assessment focuses on all potential risks and what their chances of occurring are and it focuses on the potential impact of events.

Risk Assessment also takes the potential risks and breaks it into whatever components may make up the risk, failure, error or causality.

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Business Impact Analysis

Uses RTO’s (Recovery Time Objectives) to calculate and assess how a business would fair during downtime.  By assuming worse case scenarios and what the organization would stand to lose under certain conditions.

The Business Impact Analysis or BIA is more concerned with the impact on the stakeholders due to limited or no normal services and what the recovery time would be as to the acceptable tolerance level of such an event.

BIA makes use of various granular statistics and company data such as markets, account impacts etc.
By considering the entire companies operation and what it stands to lose during any disaster, event or crisis that would bring these operations or parts thereof to a stop.

Insight into BIA and Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment is usually done after the BIA has been done to priorities and measure the risks identified by the BIA.

The BIA, on the other hand, does not rely on the information from a Risk Assessment for any analytics to be processed.


With the different ISO standards that govern the BIA process and industries adopting these standards as stricter and tighter audit requirements and controls are put into place.  BIA and Risk Assessment practitioner can become quite confused with the different regulatory requirements for each.
With that in mind, there are many Business Continuity Software templates that can aid in the process.

The Coolest Offices From Around the World

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Imagine a typical office. Is it boring and stuffy? Is it filled with grey cubicles, with harsh lighting thanks to the ceiling strips overhead? You may think that this is how all offices look, but thankfully that isn’t the case. In fact, some offices are even cool! Around the world, companies are breaking free from the mould to create workspaces that are inspiring, comfortable, and above all, fun.

Here are some of the best offices around the world:


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Autodesk is a software company, renowned for their work with 3D design. In fact, the designers actually used Autodesk technology to develop their designs of the office space. They wanted the office to reflect the minimalist yet futuristic nature of 3D printing, which is why you’ll find a simple colour scheme and plenty of geometric shapes throughout the building. Different teams and parts of the office are connected to one another via the community tunnels, the walls of which double as whiteboards. Meanwhile, the adorably named ‘Cozy Corridor’ is instead a place filled with quiet nooks, for those in search of a tranquil spot to get in the zone. The office is made all the more special by the company’s quest to keep things environmentally friendly, with chairs made from 100% recycled materials and many other pieces of furniture sourced from local suppliers.


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Each Airbnb office around the world has its own unique vibe, and nowhere is this more true than at the company’s international headquarters in Dublin. Airbnb is a global platform that allows individuals to rent out spare rooms or even entire homes to travellers. The décor of their HQ pays homage to the company’s purpose, with each meeting room offering a completely different style. Local staff provided the finishing touches to the décor, putting a personal stamp on their work environment.  In terms of desks, the design follows a ‘neighbourhood’ concept, with 29 separate (and yet connected) work areas designed to give employees a bit of privacy. Alternatively, teams can gather in the central space and work collaboratively. The ample choice of seating means staff can socialize and engage with members of different teams.


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For those of you who have been living under a rock, Pixar is a film studio that specializes in computer animation. The team at Pixar are responsible for creative classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. With so much creativity involved in their day-to-day work, the top dogs at the company decided that the office should be a place of inspiration. In reality, it’s much more than that! The Pixar office in California is made up of a lap pool, beautiful gardens and open plan steel frame buildings that look more like aircraft hangers than office spaces. When do I start?


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WeWork offices are co-working spaces, designed for companies and individuals to come together and be inspired by their surroundings. The company has work spaces in the UK, US and China. Shanghai’s office sits within what was previously a series of laneway houses. The building’s past is honoured in design features throughout. Visitors will also be impressed by the play of light and shadows, and the way such an open space can somehow feel enclosed and private. In honour of the local community, motifs from the streets of Shanghai are displayed within, while the wallpaper in each meeting room gives a nod to traditional Chinese games that are popular in the area.

Urban Outfitters

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The company was previously spread across Philadelphia in six different buildings, but can now be found on one giant campus in the city, which was once a navy shipyard. If you’ve visited an Urban Outfitters store then the office interior will seem familiar. It boasts the same mixture of the old and the new, meeting in a pared back, open and airy design. However, that doesn’t mean it feels empty. Instead, bursts of colour give the place a homely feel, and can be found everywhere from the giant sofas and the office chairs, to the spacious canteen. Since moving to the new premises, Urban Outfitters have reported an increase in staff morale and a decrease in the amount of sick leave being taken. It’s also lowered the staff turnover by 11%. Evidently, it’s a place that employees are happy to

Selgas Cano

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As an architecture firm, Selgas Cano decided that their office should be an example of their expertise. And their office in Madrid, Spain, surely delivers. It’s sleek and futuristic, and in direct contrast with the surrounding nature. The north-facing wall comprises a 20mm thick curved acrylic window, while the opaque south-facing wall is made of layers of fiber-glass and polyester, offering employees shade, and a touch of privacy from the outside world. At one end of the building, a hinged mechanism allows for the wall to be lifted, giving the office a natural ventilation system. Due to its size, the office has limited space for employees, but that doesn’t’ mean it’s cramped. Instead, employees enjoy giant desks, and control of their own lighting.


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Bright colours and open spaces are in great abundance at the Cisco-Meraki office in San Francisco. The company is a world leader in cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing and security. When the company moves offices in 2013, they began by asking employees what they enjoyed about their current workspace, and any requests they had for the future office. Taking on-board their feedback, Cisco-Meraki moved into a spacious, hangar-sized complex, with meeting rooms ranging from formal and fancy to relaxed and homely. Yurts, cabanas and phone rooms found within the building offer employees a moment respite from the lively atmosphere, while giant chalkboards and corkboards promote collaboration. To get from space to space, staff are welcome to walk, or hop onto one of the company unicycles and pedal. Colour plays an important role in the Cisco-Meraki office, working as a space separator, as there are few walls.