Archive for Disaster Recovery

Marketplace Empathy

Safe Harbor Consulting has been successful in assisting a number of organizations with their Table Top Exercise Programs for business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management solutions.  One of the first challenges we face in the exercise planning process is to settle on the right scenario for the exercise.

Of course, the first thing we do is to get our client to forget about the scenario for a moment and list those things within your programs that you want emphasized in the exercise.  For example, we ask questions like:

Do you want the scenario to include death and injury of employees and guests?  Or, keep the focus on business interruption?

Do you want to address damage assessment procedures or just have the scenario result in the loss of access to facilities?

Do you want the scenario to result in a long term outage (weeks or months)?  Or, a short term loss (hours or days)?

Do you want the scenario to be an immediate impact and obvious disaster?  Or, an escalating problem that “rolls” into a disaster?

Knowing the answer to these questions will help us land on the proper scenario.

But, this scenario discussion also leads us to talk about another interesting phenomena in business continuity planning that I am not sure I have heard anyone else talk about.  Many times, I find myself trying to talk the client down from those “spectacular” disaster scenarios to scenarios that are more likely to occur and, believe it or not, more likely to offer a greater challenge to your organization.

The phenomena I speak of is a concept I call “Marketplace Empathy”.

One of the factors that will measure your success in responding to and recovering from a business interruption event is how well do you meet the outside world’s expectations?  In those newsworthy, high impact, catastrophic events that impact you, your costumers and your competitors alike, you are not necessarily expected to be up and running the next day, or even weeks or longer.  The marketplace, as a whole, can empathize with your dilemma and will allow you the luxury of time to get back to business as usual.

This will not be the case when your business interruption event is caused by a less newsworthy, low impact event that only impacts you.  If your Call Center is down because of a fire in your telecom office that takes your PBX down you are not going to be granted that same level of forgiveness as when a tornado wipes out the entire town where your Call Center happens to be located.

Marketplace Empathy.

With it, RTEs (Recovery Time Expectations) will expand.  Without it, RTEs will shrink.

With it, the news will center on the event.  Without it, the news will center on your inability to deliver.

I do not believe Marketplace Empathy is a concept that should influence your planning process, but it is something you should consider when planning for and/or executing your Table Top Exercises.

The fact is, RTOs (Recovery Time Objectives) and MADs (Maximum Acceptable Downtimes) are planning targets based on BIAs and other informational input, but the RTEs will be influenced by the scenario you are impacted by and responding to.  When you go with the Tom Clancy-esque type of scenarios in your Table Top Exercise you risk having your participants focusing on the event itself and you allow people to challenge the real need to recover the business when the impact is so great and so many people are affected.

Marketplace Empathy.  Just something to consider when planning your next exercise.

Planning versus Being Prepared

Many organizations engage in business continuity and disaster recovery planning; few organizations are prepared for a business interruption event or a disaster.  There is a difference.

My wife is a terrific party planner.  We just threw a birthday party for our youngest son who turned eleven years old this past Sunday.  My wife “planned” his party weeks in advance, but, until we got the invitations sent, the supplies purchased, the house cleaned, the balloons and decorations put up, the gifts wrapped and the cake baked, we were not “prepared” for the party.

The Allied Forces “planned” the D-Day Invasion months in advance; but, until they recruited for, trained, transported the forces and equipment to where they were needed, ran simulations, drills and practices, monitored the weather, performed reconnaissance, set up Command Centers and established communications channels and protocol, they were not “prepared” for the invasion.

Simply going through the motions of creating Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans does not necessarily mean your organization is prepared to respond to, operate through or recover from a business interruption event or disaster.  There are many organizations who have followed the standard and accepted business continuity planning methodology, resulting in numerous, well-documented plans, that are NOT prepared for a disaster.  How can this be?  Here are some contributing factors that can result in that kind of dichotomy:

Invalid Planning Assumptions.  Almost every plan written includes a list of planning assumptions in the Introduction or Overview sections.  Many times these “assumptions” are really planning requirements, caveats or downright erroneous assumptions that invalidate the plans and continuity strategies in place.

For example:

  • A plan might include the assumption that employees are trained and have copies of the plans in their homes. This should not be a plan assumption; this should be a program requirement.  This requirement is auditable and should be tracked.  Your plan should not “assume” this to be true; your program should “ensure” that this is true.
  • A plan that utilizes a work from home solution might include the assumption that employees routinely take their laptops home with them every night. Again this is an example of a program requirement, not a plan assumption.  If your business continuity solution relies on corporate assets, such as laptops, being available in certain employee’s homes at time of a disaster, you need to ensure that these assets are there when needed.
  • Sometimes, plans “assume” that the disaster impacts only the facility that the plan is written for. In cases when the continuity or recovery strategies rely on alternate sites (or employees working from home) that share a common footprint of known risks and threats in the area; that may not be a plausible assumption.  In these cases, it is important that management know “what” they are prepared for.  For example, management might be told that you are prepared for a building outage but not a wide-area outage caused by an earthquake or flood or hurricane.  This could be important information to know if you are in an earthquake, flood or hurricane zone.
  • Many plans include the “assumption” that the strategies and technologies the plan relies upon are available, functional and usable at time of need. Many times, management reads this “assumption” as a “given” when, in fact, these solutions are yet to be implemented, contracted for or proven reliable.

When assessing an organization’s level of preparedness, plan assumptions should not be glossed over nor should they be accepted as being “givens” or truths.  If the viability of your plan is dependent on these assumptions being true, you must have policies and procedures in place to ensure these conditions exists and protocols in place to measure the level to which they are being met.

Dependencies That Can’t Be Depended Upon.  In a related situation, some plans include a list of dependencies that the plan’s execution relies upon.  Sometimes, the reliability of these dependencies are also listed in the plan’s assumptions.

For example:

  • The successful execution of the strategies outlined in the plan might be dependent upon external, single-source suppliers (of services, information or raw material) remaining operational. If these organizations are also at risk of being impacted by the same business interruption event, this might not be a reliable requirement.  You should include the examination of these organizations’ recovery plans in your programs’ activities or eliminate this dependency as a single point of failure within your environment.
  • Plans are often dependent on certain individuals or subject matter experts being available to participate in the recovery effort. “People” are often overlooked as single-points-of-failure.  If the successful execution of your recovery solutions rely on one or more particular individuals being available to execute the plan, you are at risk of failure during events that impact the availability of your work-force.  Many companies that have this dependency also state that their plans could be used during a Pandemic event – this is just one type of scenario that puts that dependency at grave risk.
  • Many plans are also dependent on certain technologies and/or applications being accessible at time of an event.  Sometimes, the recovery or continuity of these technologies and applications are within the scope of your plans and sometimes, they are not.  In either case, whether or not this dependency can be relied upon is something that can and should be proven.

Failure to Socialize the Plans.  Even companies with spectacular plans and solutions in place can be unprepared for the events they have planned for due to the lack of training and education of the people who must execute the plans.  Well written plans and fully enabled solutions can fail to protect the organization from devastation if the people relied upon to execute those plans or utilize the solutions have not been trained in and practiced their roles for time of implementation.

None of Shakespeare’s plays would be successful if the actors were reading the scripts for the first time on the night of the opening performance.  Documented plans should be treated like scripts; the lines should be memorized and rehearsed well before they are needed.  If your organization is dependent on the documented plans at time of a disaster, then it is quite possible that you are not “prepared” to respond and recover.

Unreliable Testing Practices.  And then there are companies that do routinely practice and rehearse for the event, but are still not “prepared” because of some unreliable testing practices that are commonly used.

Most business continuity and disaster recovery plans are designed to allow an organization to respond to and recover from an incident that occurs without warning demanding immediate response, yet, it takes them months to plan for a test.

If the advanced planning for a test is more than an exercise in scheduling resources, your organization may not be prepared for the real deal.  Too often, the time needed to prepare for a test is used to create special back-ups; install or provision equipment; order supplies; coordinate resource availability; or a number of other logistical activities that require time to complete – none of which you will be able to do at time of a disaster that hits without warning.

If your organization plans its tests weeks or months in advanced, you need to scrutinize the actions being taken to prepare for the test and question whether or not that activity would be required at time of a real event.

And, too often, organizations execute these tests or rehearsals utilizing a small set of understudies and not the people who will engage at time of the real event (thus, not achieving the socialization mentioned above).  This, too, is something that can be audited and tracked.  Your program should identify anyone who has the potential of being engaged at time of an emergency response, continuity and/or recovery event and ensure that they are trained and routinely participate in recovery tests and exercises.

CONCLUSION

So, yes, there are many companies that “plan” for a business interruption event but are far from being “prepared” for a business interruption event.  The ultimate goal is being “prepared”; do not allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security just because you have a “plan”.

2015 Program Review

Safe Harbor Consulting

Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery / Crisis Management

Program Review and Planning

As the years change on the calendar and we begin to initiate our 2015 projects, improvements and advancements, it is a good time to stop, measure and assess where our programs stand today.

Safe Harbor Consulting can provide an experienced and professional program review of your Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and/or Crisis Management programs to:

  • Inventory all Program Components and assess their state of completeness and accuracy
  • Identify program strengths and opportunities for improvement
  • Compare your program components against industry standards and accepted best practices
  • Review the current Program’s Organizational Structure to ensure the right fit within your organization with the proper management oversight and controls
  • Assess your organization’s current state of readiness and identify risks that may impact your ability to adequately respond to a business interruption event
  • Propose an Action Plan Roadmap based on management priorities and expectations

In conducting this Program Review, Safe Harbor Consulting will:

  • Interview key corporate assets responsible for the development, maintenance and implementation of these programs within your organization
  • Review all program related documentation, including:
    • Program related policies, procedures, mission statements, goals and objectives
    • Plans, manuals and supporting program databases
    • Audit findings and related reports
    • Test plans and results
    • Training materials and presentations
    • Other material that may exist in your environment
  • Review all company and industry standards related to BCP/DR/CM for your particular industry
  • Compile our findings in a Management Report
  • Offer recommendations for short term tactical and long term strategic improvements for your programs including potential re-organization of the reporting structure and program oversight
  • Present an Action Plan for implementing all program recommendations

The deliverables that you receive at the end of Safe Harbor Consulting’s review will include:

  • A Program Assessment Findings Report
  • An action-oriented recommended Project Plan to achieve short-term and long-term program improvement goals
  • An Executive Summary Report
  • A Management Presentation of Findings and Recommendations

Your Safe Harbor Consulting Program Review will be based on years of experience in the fields of business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management across multiple industries and organizations utilizing a variety of technologies and infrastructure in support of mission critical business processes; and, supported by lessons learned through the live implementation of such plans following serious corporate disasters and business outages.

Safe Harbor Consulting prides itself on being practical and pragmatic in our approach, to ensure that the resulting programs are consistent with management expectations and are actionable at time of an event.  We will not only review the program material, but will assess your organization’s state of readiness to respond to an incident and, adequately put your plans into action.

Don’t let another year go by lacking the confidence that you and your organization are prepared to respond to a serious business interruption event – call Safe Harbor Consulting today to schedule a meeting to prepare our proposal for conducting your Program Review.

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253-509-0233

www.safeharborconsulting.biz

 

 

Scenario Based vs Impact Based Planning

I have participated in a number of conversations where people argue what the basis for business continuity plans should be.  Some people say you should have plans designed for specific threats inherent in your environment and others say that “what” happens is not important; plans should be based on the impacts of what happened and not the event itself.  I say, they are both right, in a way.

Business continuity planning, I think, has evolved over time and has expanded in scope of what it tries to achieve.  I’m not sure why we have gotten away from the term “contingency plans”, but I think Business Continuity Planning today includes both emergency response components and contingency planning components.

Considering these two components of the overall program, I think the Emergency Response part, that part that addresses how an organization responds to an incident should, in fact, have scenario specific components for the known risks and threats in the area where you do business.  If you have facilities in hurricane regions, you absolutely should have Hurricane Preparedness Plans.  Same goes for if you have facilities on fault lines; in flood plains; near active volcanoes; near nuclear power plants; etc.  When specific threats arise, like pandemics, for example, your organization should develop a scenario specific plan for prevention and contention techniques for that exact threat.

But, on the contingency side of things, the focus should be on the impact.  Contingency plans should be developed based on impacts, such as: loss of access to the building; loss of access to technology tools, applications and data; interruptions in workflow; depleted or immobilized work force; etc.

Then the entire program should allow a cross mapping of the two plan components.  The threats, for which you have specific plans, could result in any or all of the impacts for which you have contingencies.  Take Pandemic Plans for example.  Many companies attack this issue as if it is an entirely new challenge and try to develop Pandemic Plans as holistic, stand-alone, programs.  Once you realize that the impacts of a Pandemic might be a depleted or immobilized work force and interruptions to critical workflows, you realize that you should be able to leverage those contingency plans already developed and focus on the health and safety of your work force and work environment for the particular pandemic that poses the threat.  The pandemic response might be unique to this threat, but the contingencies could be leveraged for any event that impacts your work force availability, such as; transit strikes; civil unrest in the area; etc.

So, if you are responsible for developing plans that address both response and contingency components of the overall program, I suggest that you will be doing both – developing scenario specific and impact based policies, procedures, strategies and solutions.  Then, you may even create a matrix that identifies which contingencies might come into play under each specific scenario.  I do, however, think you still need that generic response plan to handle those scenarios for which specific response plans have not been created.  These plans should focus on the logistics for getting decision makers together to address the challenges of an unplanned for interruption in an effective and efficient manner and adequately communicating decisions and instructions to the impacted parties.

Good luck.  No one said this job was going to be easy.

Business Objectives vs Business Continuity Objectives – The Missing Step

This blog article talks about a step in the Business Continuity Planning (BCP) Methodology that I think is missing – and, I happen to think it is a pretty important step.

One of the greatest challenges in the BCP methodology is in establishing the program’s recovery objectives.  Whether you label them as Maximum Acceptable Downtime (MAD); Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives (RTO & RPO); or some other creative anagram unique to your process, these program benchmarks are usually arrived at through a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) process or, at least, through some survey/interview with business managers and subject matter experts to establish what the critical business processes are; what timeframes they must be recovered; and what resources must be available in certain timeframes to enable our continuity or recovery of those processes.  Does this sound familiar?  I’m I right, so far?

But – you knew there was going to be a but – to achieve what end?  I mean, we do a great job defining business continuity objectives, but do we do so against established business objectives?

I always thought that the savvy business manager, when asked to complete a BIA questionnaire would ask the question, “What is Senior Management expecting me to achieve during the business interruption period?”  Sometimes, I think, we get close.  Many times I hear business continuity planning professionals say that the objective is to “survive” the disaster or “keep the company solvent”.  But do we ever define what that means – in business objective terms?

So, forget about operating in disaster situations for a second.  Just think about business as usual objectives.  Most every company and most every department within each company has established business or performance objectives.  There are defined revenue targets, income objectives, margin targets, production objectives, etc.  There are expected number of widgets to produce per week; sales targets; number of calls handled per hour; items sold; and so on and so on.

What I would want to know, if I were the business manager being asked what my critical processes are and how long can we go without performing those processes, is:  What adjustments are being made to my performance objectives during this incident you are asking me to plan for?  Am I expected to still achieve my revenue target, sales target, income target, margin targets?  Am I still being measured against growth?  How many widgets per day am I expected to still crank out?  If you can tell me what my management is expecting me to produce during this contingency period, I can then tell you what I need to do, when I need to do it and what I need to get it done.

Seems to me, we miss that step.  We make middle management guess at what our business targets are.  And, furthermore, we never ensure that their guesses are consistent with one another.  Each individual manager who completes the BIA makes their own assumptions about what the overall business objectives are during a business interruption event.  Seems a bit risky to me.

I understand why and how this happens.  It is primarily because middle management is more accessible in our planning process.  It is much easier to include middle management in the planning process, feed them the BIA questions and get them to assign MADs, RTOs and RPOs than it is to include Senior Management in the process.  But – there’s that damn word again – how can we really define viable business continuity objectives if we don’t first know our business objectives during time of an event?

I wonder what would happen if we tried?  I wonder … what if you posed that question to upper management?  What if we added that step in our BCP Methodology:  Define adjusted business objectives that must be achieved during a serious business interruption event.  IN BUSINESS TERMS – not in BCP terms.  Interesting.

Anyway, just a thought.  What do you think?

SHC Announces its Crisis Management Football Awards Series

Safe Harbor Consulting, LLC (SHC) is happy to announce the upcoming 1st Annual, Crisis Management Football Awards Series.  Each week SHC will identify the College (FBS teams) and NFL Football team(s) that came back from the largest in-game deficits to win that week’s game.

Visit the SHC blog (http://safeharborconsulting.biz/blog2/) each week to learn about the previous week’s largest comebacks in games played by FBS College Football Teams and NFL Pro Football Teams.

“We will highlight how those teams were able to overcome that week’s largest deficit to win their respective football game”, says SHC’s CEO Joe Flach.  “We are looking forward to discovering how college and pro football teams manage the crisis of falling behind in football games and rallying for a win before time runs out.  This should be a fun and exciting way to enjoy the football season while also highlighting crisis management issues.”

Safe Harbor Consulting is a management consulting firm that specializes in crisis management, business continuity and disaster recovery for large, medium and small corporations.  “We suspect that the ability to come from behind in football games is a direct result of the preparations and practices that the teams go through prior to and throughout the season”, states Flach.  “At Safe Harbor Consulting, we help companies and other organizations prepare and exercise their crisis management programs enabling them to recover from business interruption events and technology disasters – and rally from behind before they experience serious financial and reputational losses.  We had the idea of combining our love and passion for business continuity planning with our love and passion for college and pro football and have instituted this year’s SHC Weekly Crisis Management Football Awards.  We hope that other football fans enjoy this feature in our blog as much as we are sure to.”

For more information about Safe Harbor Consulting and how we can help you plan for and/or exercise your business interruption game plans, please visit our website at www.safeharborconsulting.biz or visit us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Safe-Harbor-Consulting/204353729604053.

And now, are you ready for some football?

R U O K?

Many business continuity, disaster recovery, emergency response and crisis management programs currently utilize some sort of automated notification tool to alert employees of an incident and/or to call them to action following a disaster.  I have written past blogs about being careful with what you say in the recorded message being used for this notification because you can never be quite sure who is listening to the message – but, now, I want to know if you are making sure you also use this tool to ask, “Are you okay?”

I often hear business continuity and disaster recovery planners remind employees that job one is to ensure the health and welfare of employees and job two is to recover business operations and the tools to support them.  I think it is important to practice what we preach and to construct our emergency messages in the same vain.  I think it would be nice to first put in some information on how the company can help the employee, if they need, prior to asking the employee to help the company by engaging their recovery plans.

And, this does not just apply to messages being recorded (or typed) for the automated notification systems.  If your program still relies on phone call trees, I think it is a good idea to include this verbiage in a suggested script to be used for these calls.

Furthermore, I think it is important to keep the “Are you okay?” mantra going throughout the recovery effort.  I think it is important to do more than just make sure that employees know how to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), but to also make that ask throughout the effort.  Not only should you help keep the employee okay by enforcing shift limits and making sure no one over does it in their anxiety to help the company through a tough time – but you need to make the ask.  Ask them if they are okay before they show signs that indicate otherwise.

And, finally, that same ask should be made after the incident is over.  There are many emergency response programs that require a mental health recovery period following participation in an incident.  You may want to consider a similar policy for certain members of your emergency response, crisis management, business continuity and/or disaster recovery teams.

Making sure the employees are okay during and throughout an emergency may require more than what your EAP has to offer.  There are companies out there that provide at time of disaster mental health assistance that can be on-site to help identify problems and help resolve issues when they arise.  You should consider including these types of companies in your program directories.  One such company, Empathia, is included in the My Links section of this blog page – but there are others, as well.

Just a thought.  And, I hope this blog finds you OK!

Is “The Cloud” Clouding Our Judgment?

The cloud does not only happen in a cloud. The cloud is simply a nebulous way of depicting the magic that happens between geographically distanced technology interacting over a network. Clouds have been long used as a way to pictorially represent a network connection between two end-points without trying to depict or represent the hardware, technology and software that resides inside. Clouds have been around for a long time in technical schematics but the term “cloud computing” has only recently come in vogue as an answer to everyone’s technology prayer. It is, in a manner of speaking, a cute little marketing gimmick.

As far as business continuity and disaster recovery planning is concerned, we should not think of the cloud as the savior to all our recovery challenges. In fact, the only thing that is really new is the term. Technology continuity programs have utilized networks to distance end users from the technology they use; to allow flexible access to other resources to meet increased demand or adjust to unexpected problems; and, to back up data to off-site locations for a long time. Before the term “the cloud” became a cool thing to say, we simply called it remote computing.

But the fact remains, there is still hardware and software at each end of and within the cloud itself that can break and require redundancies, quick fixes or alternate modes of operation depending upon the timeliness you need that functionality back in play. In other words – we still need disaster recovery plans.

Furthermore, the cloud represents some additional risks and threats itself. Just as the cloud is used to avoid depicting what happens inside, it also hides who might be inside there with you. Networks can be compromised. You may not know who else is inside that cloud looking at, duplicating and/or changing your data. In addition, much of the cloud concept now includes having solutions where data and applications are warehoused on technology that houses other organization’s data and applications as well. All of this opens up risks of compromise, sabotage and cyber terrorism. In fact now, some endpoints that do not have adequate backup solutions in place can take down numerous companies with one incident. There are several industries that utilize the cloud to access a monopoly-like third party service provider to help them function. If that organization experiences a failure without adequate backup systems in place – an entire industry could be jeopardized. One example that immediately comes to mind is the airlines industry. There are few service providers that provide flight control data necessary to board planes, perform crew scheduling, and manage operations. If one of those entities experiences a prolonged outage – many airlines may be non-operational until the systems can be brought back up on-line.

Like almost everything else in life, the cloud provides many benefits but it also has potential risks and downfalls. I simply suggest that business continuity and disaster recovery planners do not let the hype of “the cloud” to cloud our judgments on what is needed in our continuity programs. In many cases, the use of the cloud simply relocates single-points-of-failure or moves risks and threats from internal assets to vendor supported assets, but the risks and threats are still there and the impacts of failure still remain.

Businesses Driving Businesses to Plan: The Planning Impetus

One of the greatest challenges, I think, with getting companies (and by this, I mean the BOD of companies) to pay more attention to and invest more capital in business continuity and disaster recovery plans is that there is no real “pain” in not having a plan unless a disaster occurs.

I mean, what pain does a company really realize by not having a viable business continuity plan?

There are no fines; no penalties; no lost revenue; no competitive disadvantage to really speak of.  Sure, us BCP/DR professionals will try to convince you this is not entirely true … but, come on, what pain does the Executive Suite really feel?  Be honest.  Any fines or penalties for not having a plan will only be levied when this fact is discovered FOLLOWING your inadequate response to a disaster.

The BCP Planners complain?  So what … it’s their job to complain.

Failed audits?  Big deal – pretend to fix the issues – just don’t spend too much money doing so.

Me, personally, I don’t think the government will or necessarily should audit plans and levy fines or penalties.  No, the impetus for getting BCP/DR planning really rolling in Corporate America (or World-wide) is when the big guys finally get so concerned with interruptions that might occur with their vendors and suppliers that they start making having viable, certified plans in place a condition for doing business with them.

This is when the pain will be felt.  Having your customers demanding you have plans in place in order to win or maintain their business will impact your bottom line.  Not having plans will be a competitive disadvantage.  And, you can bet your bottom dollar, the Executive Suite will ensure that this business requirement is fulfilled to their biggest customers’ satisfaction.

In my mind, when the big fish start to worry about the plans of their suppliers, BCP and DR planning will become a much more important strategic concern for all the smaller fish.  And, I think that time is coming.  Until then, good luck trying to find the pain points that work in your organization.

Summer Is Ending – That Must Mean DRJ Fall World

I wish I could tell you that the reason there hasn’t been a blog article here for over a month is that I was vacationing in some exotic location without internet access; or I was deep in remote, third world countries performing humanitarian work for international charities; or that I won the lottery and was out spending my new found fortunes ­ ­­- but, I can’t.

Although the reason that there hasn’t been a blog article here for over a month isn’t exactly a bad reason – in fact, I am happy to say that the primary reason is I have been busy with delivering consulting projects for new clients.

For me, that is a hopeful sign.  This bares hope of a sign that the economy is picking up and companies are now able to support projects, such as business continuity planning, that are often deemed deferrable during down-times.  This bares hope that budgets are starting to allow for monies to invest in consulting assistance for projects, such as disaster recovery planning, where the in-house expertise is lacking.  This bares hope, that Safe Harbor Consulting is gaining a reputation for delivering professional consulting assistance and is making a name for itself in the crisis management and emergency planning arena.

But, I realize, even with all these “good” signs keeping me busy, I still have an obligation – to Safe Harbor Consulting and to those of you who invest time from your busy days to check out this page – to keep the articles and information fresh.  So, now that summer vacations are over – even though I did not take one – and, the kids are back in school, it is time to get some fresh information out on this blog.

The end of Summer Vacations, the start of school, football season kicking off in the United States are all signs of the calendar changing to fall.  And, in our profession that means DRJ Fall World.  I am happy to report that I am typing up this blog page from my hotel room at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Resort at DRJ Fall World 2012.  It is Monday afternoon and we are off to a tremendous start.

Yesterday, Sunday, was full of tremendous Workshop Sessions, a welcoming reception and product demonstrations.  Today, Monday, kicked-off with 3 very informative and entertaining General Sessions and the opening of the Exhibit Hall full of vendors and service providers ready and willing to educate you on their products and services designed to assist in the strengthening and expanding of your business continuity, disaster recovery, crisis management and emergency response programs.

I have already passed out and collected numerous business cards – the real value-add at these conferences – and have made a number of new acquaintances and new friends … and it IS ONLY MONDAY!!

I am looking forward to the breakout sessions this afternoon and two more action packed days of DRJ Fall World laying in front of me.  This DRJ conference marks the 47th Conference put on by the DRJ and they just keep getting better.  That is mostly because the attendees are getting more experienced and are able to drive the topics discussed to deeper and more complex levels of challenges that we face in this field.

I will – I promise – post a few more blogs during my time here so that you can learn some of the stuff that I learn.  And, if you happen to be here – come up and say, “Hi” – it would be a pleasure to meet you, as well.

But, now – I have those breakout sessions to get to, so, I will see you later.