Sunday, November 27, 2011

Buisness Continuity: Withstanding Power Outages

According to the 2011 Business Continuity Management survey, loss of electricity was highlighted the sixth most damaging threat to an organisation. A report from SunGard availability services ‘causes of invocations 2010’ highlights that 27 percent of invocations was caused by power outage in 2010. A wide power loss is a threat that the government takes very seriously after the 28 August 2003 wide spread power cut covering an area of central London. Although the power was restored in 30 minutes, the resulting chaos lasted well into the night. Energy experts still believe that there is still a risk of major power outages because national grids are struggling to cope with the increasing demand for electricity.

With organisations operating ‘Just in time systems’ there is no time for a black out. As we  know one weak link in the supply chain can have a far reaching impact on the business operation. To ensure that power outage does not escalate into a disaster that result in business disruptions, loss or revenue or even damage to your reputation you need to be prepared. Organisations should be able to cope with this level of disruption quite easily.

Why plan?

Organisations without a power cut disruption or major incident plan can suffer fatal damage. Research shows that about 80 per cent of them close within 18 months, according to the London Prepared, a government organisation that provides information about business continuity.
Going forward the article we will recommend strategies on how your organisation can develop a response to power outage. But first of all you have to determine what you have by identifying and understanding the electrical distribution system layout and design in the facility to be protected. Most organisations have a very complex electrical power distribution system and to properly understand them, wiring documentation will need to be reviewed and brought up to dated.

Furthermore, it is also necessary to determine what your organisation’s mission critical requirements are for power. Critical electrical power requirements are usually driven as part of a business impact analysis and risk assessment. After all critical systems have been identified their source of power within the facilities need to be identified on electrical drawings to make sure it is understood that they are critical to the operation. If the electrical distribution system has been properly designed, all business equipment should be connected to common circuits and separated from non- critical equipment. We recommend this because it makes it much easier to isolate mission critical circuits and to connect them to emergency power source during an emergency. Don’t forget to keep documentations up to date for the equipment contained on these circuits. This will help identify the electrical load so as alternative back up power source can be deployed.

It is always good to have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in case of power failure. They can sustain power for up to an hour if they are properly sized and maintained. If it is absolutely critical to maintain power for an entire operation thought a power cut, regardless the duration of the incident, you might consider installing permanent emergency generators.  In addition, these types of installations are quite expensive and complex to install, operate and maintain and depending on your county it may not be viable due to building codes or environmental constraints.
As it is difficult to predict a power outage, a contractual agreement with an availability service such as SunGard that delivers secure workplace recovery centres and remote access solutions will be effective in minimising business impact as returning you to business as usual quickly.

Think Artco Solutions

Artco Solutions has a team of specialist partners that design crisis management and incident management plans, training events, projects, and conduct crisis rehearsals day-in, day-out. It is our core business to manage your uncertainty.
The Artco solution is a carefully designed mix of consultancy, professional services, products and solutions, that can help put your organisation on the front with business continuity planning, delivery and management.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An introduction to Business Continuity Management (BCM)

Business continuity can be defined as 'the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that an organisation can continue to function through an operational interruption'.
In other words it is about making proactive and reactive plans to help your organisation avoid crises and disasters and to be able to quickly return to 'business as usual' should they occur.

Why is BCM important?..

In an increasingly uncertain world, business continuity management is more relevant than ever. BCM identifies potential threats to an organisation and the impacts to business operations that those threats, if realised, might cause. Natural disasters, network intrusions, human error, security and terrorist concerns - the list of threats to organisations keep getting longer.  In today’s integrated digital networked economy, even a few hours of service disruption can have a devastating impact.

Who is It applicable to?..

All organisations might be subject to disruption; this may include technology failure, flooding, utility disruption, pandemic influenza, fire or terrorist attack. The standard is available to any organisation regardless of the size, scope or complexity, that wishes to manage their overall business risks and develop the capability to plan for, and respond to, incidents and business disruption.
The consequence of unexpected business disruptions may be far- reaching and might involve loss of life, loss of asset or income, or the inability to deliver products and services on which the organisation’s survival might depend. By proactive identification of the impact of disruption, BCM identifies those products and services that are crucial for the organisation’s existence, and help to establish what responses will be needed if a disruption occurs.

What are the benefits?..

·         Improving an organisation’s resilience against vulnerability
·         Maintaining an ability to manage uninsurable risks
·         Developing a capability to manage business disruption
·         Minimising consequences of unexpected disruption
·         Providing a method of restoring an organisation’s ability to supply its key products and services
·         Protecting and enhancing the organisation’s reputation and brand
·         Gaining a competitive advantage by demonstrating the ability to maintain delivery of its products and services

Why use Artco Solutions?..

 The first few hours of a crisis are critical. The failure to take control in the early stages of a crisis can lead to, at best, a loss of confidence. You could be facing a real financial loss or severe criticisms from stakeholders that may last many months.

Artco solutions believe that by training, exercising and rehearsing any organisation can make its plans, people and processes more resilient to a crisis. We call this managing with certainty. Our solutions enable companies to continue operations in the event of a disruption. Artco solutions help protect your staff, your reputation and your organisation’s business.