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Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (Bcdr) Planning

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (Bcdr) Planning

Continuing after a disaster

Why Plan?

There is no doubt that business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are two overlapping terms in organizational planning. Both terms are processes that assist organizations to prepare for the unthinkable. Whether it is disruptive events—whether human-made or natural such as a hurricane, earthquake or power outage caused by something unforeseen.

However, it appears that BCDR planning is frequently overlooked or negligently procrastinated when organizations draw up their annual plans. This is evident in the testimonies of some employees who believed that their organization has little or no ability to recover quickly from a disaster.

exclamation point on a sign above the word emergency

Source: New Zealand Transportation Agency via Wikimedia commons

So, what is the primary reason why organizations often neglect to incorporate the concept of BCDR planning in their day-to-day operations?

 A primary reason why organizations fail to integrate BCDR planning

The primary reason why some organizations fail to integrate BCDR planning into their everyday operations is due to the cost of implementation. The fact is that BCDR planning can be expensive and there is no guarantee for immediate or quick return on investment. The process is similar to buying an insurance policy; that is, investing in something you hope you hope you’ll never need.

Notwithstanding, it doesn’t have to be that way, and BCDR should be considered of utmost importance.

3 Reasons why to integrate BCDR planning into your organization’s operations:

Secure and ensure continuous access for employees

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are proactive steps aimed at avoiding and mitigating risks associated with disruption of business operations. Bear in mind that the best-laid plans won’t stop disasters from happening (especially natural disasters like hurricane,) but the impact that would have been devastating on productivity and revenue if your employees or customers can no longer gain access to critical business data and applications can be taken care of by BCDR planning.

Most contemporary BCDR planning offers the ability to run applications and access data from backup instances of virtual servers. Such plans allow users to continue operations while primary servers (or original business location) are being restored. Choosing such BCDR planning reduces downtime cost and makes good business sense.

Something better than just backup

There is hardly any business today that doesn’t have one form of backup. However, what happens if a mighty flood like hurricane Katrina wipes off your primary and backup data? A proper BCDR planning entails that businesses should consider sending a copy of data offsite for immediate recovery when disaster strikes. Traditionally, this meant sending tapes to a secondary location or some vaults. However, advanced BCDR planning has made it possible to secure and recover data backup from virtual servers and Cloud hosting. Every business needs backup and continuity.

Business continuity is a must

Having constant access to data is very essential, especially for your customers or clients. It means you need to evaluate your business ability to restore IT operations and ensure continuity. Therefore, a proper BCDR planning considers a business impact analysis or risk assessment which will reveal any weaknesses in an organization’s ability to continue operations that exceed IT use.

Final Thought

Business continuity and disaster recovery are highly essential for the success of any business, regardless of profit motive. Here are a couple of sites to find ideas for planning: https://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/continuity and https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/89510

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

Image Resource: Featured Image https://pixabay.com/en/stickies-post-it-list-business-2852375/https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New_Zealand_Sign_Assembly_-_Emergency.svg

Portable Classrooms: Creating Flexible Classrooms

Portable Classrooms: Creating Flexible Classrooms

Introduction

Portable classrooms are an innovative solution that creates a productive learning environment and caters to new and changing populations. They ensure the extension of learning activities during school renovations, new school construction or emergency situations. Portable classrooms are also known as modular classrooms and are equally useful as daycares, training facilities or professional offices.

What is a portable classroom?

A portable or modular classroom refers to a building that is constructed off-site in a factory setting. What this means is that the materials used in the construction of the building and the entire process of construction take place within a factory. Instead of bringing them to the site to begin construction where the classroom is intended to be.

Once the classrooms have undergone full construction, they are shipped in parts (or whole if possible) to its future location.

What are the benefits of portable classrooms?

Portable classrooms are famous for specific reasons, and below are some of the reasons why there is a need for these modern building designs.

 Mobility/flexibility

Portable classrooms are derived from the fact that they are highly flexible and can quickly be moved from one place to another. They are highly suitable for schools that need additional space, especially in an emergency situation. This means is they can be delivered to a school for temporary use and removed once the need for them is no longer necessary.  Also, the school also has the luxury of moving the classroom to any other area of choice. Such benefits are not associated with traditional buildings.

 Time-saving

As the population increases, the number of students or people gaining admission into schools also increases to a level that sometimes chokes the schools.  The schools need to find a quick solution to the new challenge considering that they have to keep up with the curriculum and academic calendar. Portable classrooms may prove to be the best way to address the challenge posed by a growing student body. Since they take less time to build and deliver, depending on the urgency of the problem. Thanks to modern technology, it will take less than 10 weeks to develop and provide a portable classroom.

Different design options

Another excellent reason why portable classrooms are so famous is the numerous design options from which you can choose. It doesn’t matter if you are leasing or purchasing a portable classroom; there is always a style or pattern for you. You can get a turn-key classroom which is portable classrooms with furniture and fittings included to meet the need of your school. You can ask the manufacturer to customize your design just the way you want it. This includes HVAC systems, safety rails, ADA ramps, decks, and security systems where necessary. With portable classrooms, there is no end to design options.

Relatively affordable

Of course, all housing units are costly, but a portable classroom (though not always cheaper) is quite affordable and cost-effective, compared to traditional buildings. The amount you will spend for a portable classroom will largely depend on the level of customization you want. You can easily cut down on cost by purchasing or leasing an existing portable classroom, instead of going all out for a new one. If ever you’re worried about damaging the structures in transit, you have to put that aside. Portable classrooms are designed to be extremely sturdy, and a used one is a great way to save a ton on your budget.

Therefore, considering portable classrooms is a great idea. Plus they have great benefits in a growing community.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

Image Resource: Featured Image http://www.intermodalstructures.com/classroom/, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AULAS_M%C3%93VILES_(27983543002).jpghttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portables_at_Rock_Creek_Elementary_School_-_Washington_County,_Oregon_(2012).jpg

Emergency Response and Disaster Recovery

Emergency Response and Disaster Recovery

First response

Media coverage

Whenever disaster strikes a city or community, its devastating effects dominate the news. Footage and images of properties damaged, distress of victims fills TV screens and airwaves. Sometimes the emergency can remain in the news for more than one or two weeks, which means a long-term coverage.

Evolution of emergency response and disaster recovery

Here is the history of preparing for and responding to natural or human-made disasters in the United States. It dates back to the time when the US was born as a nation, but the process started taking organizational shape in the 20th Century. Prior to this time, cases of disasters were handled “case by case,”. This is mostly backed by the Congressional Act providing different compensation to the victims who suffered from disasters. Examples of disasters that saw government emergency response were Portsmouth, NH Christmas Fire of 1808 and the very devastating Galveston Hurricane and Flood of 1990.

Pres. Jimmy Carters portrait

Source: Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. Naval Photographic Center via Wikipedia

After a series of government efforts to respond to the disasters, they saw the formation of different agencies. From the 1940s to the 1970s, President Carter signed an executive order that merges all Federal Agencies. Those dealing with disaster preparedness and response issues were placed into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979.

From that time till date, all disaster issues and emergency response are handled by FEMA.

Phases of Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response

Each disaster that happens is a unique occurrence that demands careful assessment. Bearing in mind that response and recovery may take time, it is critical to creating a strategic plan. These responses are aimed at identifying and helping the most vulnerable and severely affected people.

Although the stages of recovery don’t always follow a precise cut-out procedure, below are several phases that unfold. This is as affected communities start to rebuild their lives after disasters.

Critical Search and Rescue

Rescuers searching for survivors in rubble

Source: FEMA

Search and Rescue is always the first disaster recovery phase that takes place after a disaster has struck. It usually requires a fast response which can last into hours or even days to save lives in imminent danger. After a few days, this phase traditionally elapsed to pave the way for providing support for survivors. An example is the search and rescue mission undertaken by FEMA after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

Prompt Emergency Relief

The second phase of the emergency response and disaster recovery is the provision of emergency relief. It begins immediately after the disaster has occurred and when search and rescue operations have come to a close. The emergency relief phase brings foods, water, clothing, medicine and shelter to surviving victims of the disaster. It gives prompt and serious medical attention to people with severe injuries.

Emergency relief can go on for a long time or may end abruptly. It depends on the nature and scope of damage caused by the disaster.

Quick or Early Recovery

When it comes to recovery, the population that is affected is in a better and stable condition. They have access to food and water and temporary shelter where they can cope with wind and rain. People start going about their daily activities. Children start going to school again, although classes may be held in tents or churches, etc. While the entire affected population may not have completely recovered, they have started adapting to a new way of living.

The early recovery phase can last for weeks, months or even some few years. This depends on the initial communities vulnerability, resources available and sense of adaptability.

Medium to long-term disaster recovery

This phase involves the construction of permanent physical structures that will replace tents, plywood shelters, and trailers. This is to mirror what used to be as they try to get back to normal. With the commencement of building permanent structures, the social foundation of community is being reinforced and strengthened. Adults now have the opportunity to improve their means of living and restore their family’s economies. Children can return to schools with permanent buildings as they build. The society is now beginning to feel stable and safe once again.

We are all first responders

Back in 2017, FEMA showed us that we are all first responders. “FEMA has a central role in both response and recovery efforts as the federal government’s coordinator of emergency management operations. But that role is often misunderstood, with FEMA being viewed as a first responder rather than an extension of state and local capabilities.” Don’t forget that as a community and individuals we can do our part.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

Resource: https://www.biography.com/people/jimmy-carter-9240013https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865694620/Op-ed-FEMA-showed-in-2017-that-we-are-all-first-responders.html?utm_content=social-23h9p&utm_medium=social&utm_source=SocialMedia&utm_campaign=SocialPilot

Image Resource: Featured Image https://www.fema.gov/news-https://www.fema.gov/urban-search-rescuehttps://pixabay.com/en/new-orleans-louisiana-81669/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter

Women History Month: Mary Katherine Goddard

Women History Month: Mary Katherine Goddard

Women in History

Introduction

There is none that can talk about the history of US postal services without mentioning the contribution of Mary Katherine Goddard. She is a woman of impeccable character and an exceptional track record as a printer, newspaper publisher, and a postmaster.

Life & work of Mary Katherine Goddard

Mary Katherine was born was born to the Goddard family in New London, Connecticut, on June 16, 1738. She lived most of her life in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1774 down to 1816 when she died at the age of seventy-eight.

Mary Katherine’s father died in 1762, prompting Mary and her mother to join up with her brother, William Goddard. He owned a printing shop in Providence, R.I. it was here that Mary and her mother started their careers as printers. Mary Katherine was involved in the publishing of the weekly Providence Gazette. This process continued until the end of 1768 when she later teams up with her brother’s printing office located in Philadelphia. It’s in Philadelphia that Mary Katherine published the Pennsylvania Chronicles. Although the publication usually appears in the name of her brother, it was Mary Katherine that manages the shop. It happened to be one of the largest in the entire colonies.

Together Mary Katherine’s professional life as a printer, publisher, and postmaster was bound with her brother, William. After they both worked together in Providence and Rhode Island, William started a new business in Baltimore in May 1773. It became Baltimore’s first newspaper, the Maryland Journal. Following the closure of the shop in Philadelphia in February 1774, Mary Katherine moved permanently to Baltimore. She then became the sole manager of the new plant and newspaper.

On May 10, 1175, the Maryland Journal officially recognized what has become a norm when that year’s issue read “Published by M.K Goddard.” Katherine proved to be a reliable, impersonal newspaper editor and was the only printer Baltimore had during the Revolution. January 1777 witnessed the publication of the first version of the Declaration of Independence to include all of the Congressional signatures—all from the printing press of Mary Katherine Goddard.

Respect Earned

Mary successfully managed the day-to-day operations in Baltimore. In 1775, she was named Baltimore’s postmaster because of her abilities and excellent track record. She was the first woman to have held such a post in the colonies. Also, the last to hold such a position after the declaration of independence. Mary Katherine continued as Baltimore’s postmaster for fourteen years until she was discharged against her will in October 1789. The excuse was that someone was needed to manage the southern department of the postal system. She was discharged because the authorities felt the responsibility involved much traveling which is not for a woman.

Over two hundred businessmen in Baltimore endorsed Mary and supported her petition to the Postmaster General to retain her position. This shows how much respect she had from others. Mary remained in Baltimore where she continued her operation between1809-1810. Then her bookshop started operating as a partner in the printing business.

Home-going

Mary Katherine passed on in Baltimore at the age of seventy-eight, was buried in Saint Paul’s Parish graveyard. Mary received lots of tributes both from her brother and from letters written by eminent people like Thomas Jefferson and Ebenezer Hazard.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

Resource: http://beforehistory.com/2012/10/pennsylvania-chronicle-october-31-1768/https://digital.lib.umd.edu/image?pid=umd:76041http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

Image Resource:  Featured Image https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Katherine_Goddard,   http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/John_Carter_Brown_Library/exhibitions/printer/images/large/16.html

Disaster Recovery: Using Temporary Buildings

Disaster Recovery: Using Temporary Buildings

Preparedness is Key

Know before disaster strikes

No organization or business wants to experience any form of natural disaster, they happen anyway. The need to plan for them becomes even more critical. Disaster preparedness and recovery is a crucial component of a business plan. Securing reliable temporary buildings and mobile offices are a great way to ensure the continuation of your business. You can continue operations while your main/permanent facilities are undergoing repairs.

The essence of temporary buildings and mobile offices

When we talk about temporary buildings and mobile offices during a disaster recovery, we are merely referring to modular construction. Modular constructions are housing units that have all the potentials to get you back on track with minimal downtime. Apart from providing alternative office space, modular buildings offer a solution for recovery and volunteer centers. They also offer portable classrooms, lunchrooms, emergency/health centers, as well as congregational or meeting space.

Why you need temporary recovery buildings and mobile offices

Think about hurricane Harvey and Irma—the massive trail of destruction they left in their wake. Property worth Millions was lost to businesses and communities alike. A significant amount of properties were damaged, and business brought to an abrupt end in different locations across Florida, Texas, and Georgia. You don’t have to allow natural or man-made disasters affect your business operations. Recovery temporary buildings and mobile offices will be of great benefit by helping you to continue your business operations in the following order:

Mobile offices

In the aftermath of a disaster, mobile offices render on-site temporary office and storage space. They can also function as site, field or engineer offices to assist workers during disaster recovery efforts. Functional mobile temporary disaster recovery can rapidly be delivered in hours or a few days to assist recovery. In most cases, such mobile offices also include generators, telephone, internet equipment and furniture.

Modular construction

Modular construction involves the building of command centers, emergency rooms, medical clinics, office buildings and such other large-scale buildings using modular components. They are constructed in a manufacturing plant, making them time-saving solutions during disaster time.

Portable classrooms

If you have suffered damages from tornadoes, earthquake or terrorist attacks, they can benefit from modular classroom trailers also known as portable classrooms. They are available in different shapes and sizes and can be temporary or permanently installed.

Safety tips for using modular buildings

Damage to a mobile building

If for whatever reason your mobile office trailer unit was hit by a colossal disaster causing it to flip or tossed to one side, losing its footing; never attempt to balance it yourself. Keep everyone, including pets from moving in or around the building. The ground may be affected by water and shifting may occur. So make sure you access the situation critically and call in an expert if necessary.

Watch out for instability

Do not attempt to enter the modular building if you notice it has lost its footing. Make sure the piers or block holding the structure are still intact before venturing in.

Is it flooded?

If there is water gathering inside the building, do not step in yet. Verify if the electrical and gas connection is still in a functional state. Check for any damages. Also, if there has been no power restoration at the time of inspection, switch off the control box to avoid any incidence when restoration occurs.

Final thought

There is always a way to bounce back when disaster strikes, and recovery of temporary buildings and mobile offices are the best means to continue business while dealing with the chaos.

Linda Rawson is the CEO, and Founder of DynaGrace Enterprises, (http://DynaGrace.com) which is a Women-Owned, 8(a) Minority, Small Business. She is also the author of The Minority and Women-Owned Small Business Guide to Government Contracts.

Image Resource: Featured Image https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Hurricane_Irma_in_Florida,  http://www.intermodalstructures.com/office/,   https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New_Zealand_Sign_Assembly_-_Emergency.svg

Resource: https://youtu.be/JaL7hx7Tw7A?list=PLUZjSlkFE9Rp4mPk46KP70DkPySxudbkc

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