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Monday, January 27, 2014

15 Planning and Preparedness Quotes From Master's in Their Professions

Planning and preparedness are things that every professional in every industry who is, or has been very successful or masterful at what they do makes a priority. 

They are proof that planning and preparation begets success. 

But it is also the way we think as much as it is the way we act.

Preparing and planning is more than just writing down a goal or two and posting them on a wall. Knowing how to get where your are going, anticipating obstacles along the way, how to overcome them if they happen and how to deal with the angst that setbacks can bring all dictate when and how success comes, or even if it does at all.

The right mindset is a key aspect of success as much as the planning is.

Some of the greatest leaders and masters in their industries know this and live or lived by it. Planning and preparation for what does, or might lie ahead is the very way these people achieved what they did.

From Sun Tzu ( 544–496 BC) and Confucius (551–479 BC) to modern day successes like Elon Musk, Will Smith and Oprah Winfrey, all of them advocated planning and preparing.

Plan, be prepared and be willing to do what it takes to be successful. Opportunity will arrive. 

Business Continuity is a planning discipline that these same principals apply too. 

Here are fifteen (15) planning and preparedness quotes from great thinkers and planners spanning 2500 years.
1) "Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure". - Confucius  
2) "The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand". - Sun Tzu
3) "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish".’Luke 14:28-33 ~ Holy Bible
4) "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe" - Abraham Lincoln  
5) "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success". - Alexander Graham Bell
6) "Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning". - Winston Churchill
7) "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining". - John F. Kennedy
8) "Your biggest enemy is the unknown and assumptions.” -  LTG Christianson
9) "Our thinking and our behavior are always in anticipation of a response. It is therefore fear-based". - Deepak Chopra
10) “Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”. - Warren Buffett 
11) "Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we're still at the mercy of nature". - Neil deGrasse Tyson
12) "Fundamental preparation is always effective.". - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 
13) "Some people don't like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster". - Elon Musk
14) "I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity". - Oprah Winfrey
15) "I've always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation". - Will Smith

Mike Minzes is the Founder and CEO of INEVOLVE SB, a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning and Implementation company located in Kennesaw, Georgia. Mike has over 20 year of experience on the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Industry. For more information on INEVOLVE SB, please visit them at GOBCP.NET.

Monday, January 20, 2014

10 Tips To Bring Business Continuity To Your Organization

If you want to successfully bring Business Continuity to your organization, there are 10 factors in deciding if they will support it, or reject it, or worse, something in between that makes your job almost impossible to do.

There are other cases where organizations will get the process going, but over time interest will drop off.  This is where many Continuity Programs end up.  If the organization is not involved in the development and maintenance of the program, it's likely to put it aside for more pressing issues.

If you want to get the organization to adopt and support Business Continuity for the long term, here are Ten Tips.

Feel free to share these tips.

Mike Minzes is the Founder and CEO of INEVOLVE SB, a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning and Implementation company located in Kennesaw, Georgia. Mike has over 20 year of experience on the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Industry. For more information on INEVOLVE SB, please visit them at GOBCP.NET .


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Redefining the BIA – Usefulness and Uses

By Geary W. Sikich
Copyright© Geary W. Sikich 2014. World rights reserved. Published with permission of the author.

If we agree on the basic premise that Business Continuity can be defined as sustaining what is critical to the enterprise’s survivability during periods of discontinuity; then we must recognize that the activity known as the Business Impact Assessment (Analysis) or BIA needs to be redefined. The BIA, as currently practiced does not necessarily achieve the following:

  • Define what is critical to the organization;
  • Develop strategies to recover/sustain during times of discontinuity.

I posit a two phase BIA framework consisting of a pre-event general analysis and a post-event identification and assessment of business impacts and potential consequences for the enterprise. Events are nonlinear and therefore carry uncertain outcomes. As a result, traditional pre-event BIAs are of little value when conducted using concepts such as mission critical, recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives, etc. Events evolve; the elements of randomness and nonlinearity create opaqueness (opacity: the quality of being difficult to understand or explain) that a traditional BIA underestimates.

Pre-Event General Analysis: Points and Questions

1. Customers – Sustainability within current markets, capacity to overcome disruptions and continually transform to meet the changing needs and expectations of customers, shareholders and stakeholders.
2. Current Competitors – Define immediate market areas and determine strength of competition to influence market share, human capital, customer base.
3. Providers – Sustainability, strength in markets served, loyalty, capacity to manage surge.
4. Suppliers – Ability to influence capabilities to provide product/services, readily available alternatives.
5. Stakeholders – Capability to meet expectations.
6. Government/Geo-Political – Regulatory agencies and compliance scrutiny, potential actions – direct impact, potential actions – indirect impact.
7. Substitutes – Readily available alternatives, differentiating qualities.
8. New Entrants – Barriers to entry, financial challenges, customer loyalty, customer tolerance level.
9. Economic – Changing market demands for services/products (internal/external).
10. Social – Human capital, skills, perception/image, moral, ethical impacts.
11. Technology – Infrastructure (internal/external) ability to handle surges, vulnerabilities, cascade effects of failure.
12. Financial Capacity – Ability to draw on reserves to offset cash flow disruption.

The second phase BIA focuses on the evolving situation (nonlinearity, uncertain outcomes, etc.) – identification and assessment of business impacts and potential consequences for the enterprise as they are unfolding. We rarely make a credible attempt to identify post-incident impacts and consequences in any significant detail. So, re-entry, recovery, restoration and resumption of operations are step-children that are skimmed over in the traditional BIA process.
Below are key analysis areas for an “Active Analysis” framework, as follows:

  • Human Capital – consisting of management, employees, stakeholders, suppliers, providers, partners, contract/vendor entities, etc.
  • Clients – consisting of current, new and former customers.
  • Systems – consisting of internal operating systems and critical external infrastructures.
  • Suppliers – consisting of providers of essential business logistics/services, etc.
  • Utilities – consisting of electric, gas, water and telephone service providers.
  • Telecommunications – consisting of internal telecommunications systems linked to external telecommunications providers.
  • Energy Supply – consisting of energy delivery systems and energy support systems.
  • Government Services – consisting of emergency management, police, fire, emergency medical, Federal, State and local government bodies and political support systems.
  • Transportation – consisting of air, land and water transportation system and support systems.
  • Financial Services – consisting of financial markets, investments, statutory deposit requirements and cash flow systems.

Each of these elements would be constantly assessed as part of an “Active Analysis” post-event BIA framework to determine the potential impact of loss or degradation to the enterprise and its networks. The above is an example and is not meant to be exhaustive. In the post-event environment you will have to be creative and you will have to be responsive.


When it comes to building your BIA program, focusing on survivability is the right approach, provided you have thoroughly done your homework and understand what survivability means to the organization. Post-event opacity will produce numerous situations that challenge survivability. Looking in the rearview mirror of the traditional BIA can result in confusion, chaos and unintended consequences.

Copyright© Geary W. Sikich 2014. World rights reserved. Published with permission of the author.
Copyright 2014, Geary W. Sikich and Logical Management Systems, Corp., all rights reserved.

Geary Sikich is a Principal with Logical Management Systems, Corp., a management consulting and executive education firm with a focus on enterprise risk management and issues analysis; the firm's web site is

Monday, January 13, 2014

4 Things About Business Continuity Every Small Business Owner Should Know

Business Continuity seems like a huge undertaking for a small business.  Small business owners are focused on providing their products and services to their customers and have little time to devote to recovery and sustainment efforts. 
However, developing a Business Continuity Plan/Program is much easier and less time consuming than many business owners are lead to believe.  With all of the free resources available, it’s really just a matter of committing a little extra time to developing it.

Here are 4 things you can do right now to get the process of developing and implementing Business Continuity in your business started.

Define What Is Critical To Your Business

Most of what is important to small business owners is generating revenue from their products and services offerings.  In that respect, everything that generates revenue is critical to the business.  Therefore, defining what is critical to the business is very easy.  If it generates revenue for the business, it’s considered critical to the business.
In every small business I have developed plans for, I recommended first developing a products and services catalog to capture all of the products and services the business provides.  Then with this document business owners can define what is most critical to the operation and what order things have to be recovered in a disaster or crisis.

Define The Essential Functions

Essential Functions are what staff do to provide the products and services to the customers and for the business.  One critical product or service many have a few or many Essential Function that support it.  Others may support multiple Critical Services. Using the Products and Services Catalog, define what functions are essential to support the end-to-end delivery of all critical products and services.

Determine the Employees and Third Party Vendors Support The Essential Functions

Employees are the core delivery system of a small businesses.  They keep the business operating and are an essential  part of most small and large businesses alike.  However, unlike large businesses, the small business doesn't have the same resources or size of workforce to maintain a limited crew for a period of time, as is the case with Organizational Continuity.  With this in mind, the small business owner has to consider that all of the stall are critical in some way to the operations of the business.  Therefore, a critical staffing plan is necessary.  The same thing going for 3rd party or vendor support, but in this case, the vendor or 3rd party is obligated to provide staff regardless of the condition (unless safety is at stake).  This should be agreed upon in service agreements and contracts beforehand.

Determine the Support Requirement that are Necessary to support Staff and Third Party Vendors

This will be the part that requires the most detailed consideration.  What services and required necessities do the staff need to perform their jobs at the most basic level without compromising quality or output during a crisis or disaster?  What alternate facilities are available to conduct operations?  What level of safety and security is required? What IT Services do they need access to?  How will these things be secured?  Who is responsible for securing them?  These are detailed considerations that need to be made in order to recovery or sustain revenue streams for the business. 

Armed with this information, you can now begin to develop strategies and actions plans to recover or sustain your business though any kind of crisis or disaster. 

There are all kinks of scary reasons you should have a Business Continuity Plan in place for your business, but those are not the reasons you should be concerned most with.  The most important reason is to have the capability to recover or sustain your business in the event of a crisis or disaster is:  It’s your business.  It’s worth protecting.


1) Develop a Products and Service Catalog (not required, but it's a good idea)
2) Define what is critical to the business (Critical Services)
3) Define the Essential Functions that support the Critical Services
4) Determine the staff that support Essential Functions
5) Determine what support is required for staff during a crisis or disaster

Business Continuity is not insurance for your business.  Business Continuity is assurance that your business will continue to operate during a crisis or disaster.  

And that is just good business.

Mike Minzes is the Founder and CEO of INEVOLVE SB, a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning and Implementation company located in Kennesaw, Georgia. Mike has over 20 year of experience on the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Industry. For more information on INEVOLVE SB, please visit them at GOBCP.NET . 

Monday, January 6, 2014

6 Things You Need to Know About Business Continuity

By Mike Minzes

The Business Continuity Industry has a problem.

A continuity problem.

It can’t agree on what Business Continuity is and how to go about implementing and managing it. 

It’s all over the place. 

Some see it as Disaster Prevention and Management.  Others see it as Safety and Security. Still others see it as a risk management discipline. Some even say it's Emergency Management.

To add to the confusion, there are several, continuity firms, industry trade organizations and agencies that say different things about what Business Continuity is and what it should do for an organization.

There are those who see it as a complex set of requirements and others who see it as a discipline that can't be done by any organization on their own.

There are even software companies that package complex document management systems into software packages and call it Business Continuity Planning (as long as you pay the huge purchase price and recurring fees).

With all this “lack of continuity” in the industry is it any wonder why more businesses and organizations don’t adopt it?

So, let’s take a step back and look at Business Continuity from a "Continuity" stand point.

Business Continuity is not hard to figure out, nor is it complex or confusing. It’s simply a change in thinking and understanding of what Business Continuity really is and how a business or organization goes about implementing it. More importantly, it’s knowing what Business Continuity means.

There are a thousand definitions of what Business Continuity is but there is only one that matters to an organization.

There are 6 things you need to know about Business Continuity before you implement it in your organization, agency or business and be successful at it.

1) Business Continuity is what it is

Business Continuity simply put, is the activity performed by an organization to ensure that critical business functions will be available to customers, suppliers, regulators, and other entities that must have access to those functions.   Nothing more, nothing less.  It’s defining what is critical to the organization and developing strategies to recovery or sustain these services in the event of a crisis or disaster.  Practitioners who don’t understand this, don’t understand what Business Continuity is and can’t develop it in a way that meets the Continuity needs of the organization.

2) Business Continuity is made up of only 4 elements

Critical Services – Services that if lost would have an adverse impact on the organization ability to operate.

Essential Functions that support Critical Services – Functions that support one or more Critical Services

Critical Staff that support Essential Functions – Staff members that support one or more Essential Functions

Operational requirements that support Critical Staff – Necessities that will support Critical Staff during a crisis or disaster (IT Services, Vital Records, Facilities, Orders of Succession, Transportation, Safety and Security, etc.).

If you have this information about your organization, 90% of the Continuity work is done.

3) There are only 3 steps in the management of Continuity

Step 1: Development and Implementation

Initial development of the program and implementation across the organization.

Step 2: Test and Exercise
Testing, exercising and drilling of the plans and strategies.

Step 3: Update and Refine

Updating and refining based on exercise results.

Steps 2 and 3 are repeated every quarter or when something changes in the organization (leadership roles change, new employee that supports an essential function(s) is hired, essential employee(s) leave the organization, new critical services added, etc.).

4) Business Continuity is not a full time job

Business Continuity is an extension of Operations and therefor it is everybody’s job, not just for one or two people and certainly not for a consulting firm. After development and implementation (12 to 18 months) the management of the Business Continuity life cycle needs to be handed over to the organization, not remain with outside resources like continuity firms or contractors. In order for the program to be actionable, the organization needs to take the lead in managing, testing, exercising and updating the plans associated with the program.

Many firms that offer Business Continuity services spend most of their time convincing their customers that they need their firms continued help and support. 

This simply isn't true.

Many of these firms are not offering anything new.  The just take something that has been around for 20 years and repackage it under the title "Too Hard For Your Business To Do"

There are free training and development resources available to use by anyone wanting to maintain and/or improve Continuity in their organization. The organization is more than capable of managing the program because they are already supporting the organization under normal conditions. Nobody knows an organization better than the people employed by it.

Once the program is active, contract support should end.

5) Practitioners need to stand by their work

If a Business Continuity Professional is not willing to submit the entire program to a certification and accreditation agency like FEMA or ISO, then the program has little or no value to the organization. Certification and Accreditation (C and;A) validates that the program is actionable by an outside non-profit organization who specializes in the practice. If a practitioner is confident that the program is actionable, they will be more than happy to have to reviewed and validated by a C and;A organization.

Certification and accreditation should be the primary goal of any Business Continuity Program.

6) There is no software package or consulting firm on the planet that can do Business Continuity better than the organization itself


Critical Staff are already supporting critical services under normal operations. Why would it be any different under any other condition?

Business Continuity Professionals need to teach the organization how to maintain and execute the program so the organization will know how to survive a crisis or disaster. That is the role of a Business Continuity Professional.

These are the 6 keys to understanding Business Continuity.  Understanding  the true nature of what Business Continuity means and what it is supposed to do makes the program actionable and more likely to succeed in the event of a crisis or disaster.

Once you understand what Business Continuity really is and what it needs to provide to an organization, you can developed a program that serves the interests of the organization. 

And that’s where the true value of any Continuity program lives. In service to the Organization.

Mike Minzes is the Founder and CEO of INEVOLVE SB, a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning and Implementation company located in Kennesaw, Georgia. Mike has over 20 year of experience on the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Industry. For more information on INEVOLVE SB, please visit them at GOBCP.NET