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Gill Blog

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Preparing For The Next Disaster Conference

Gill Advisors got together in Toronto with Douglas Galbraith of the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness, who presented an overview of the upcoming 14th World Conference on Disaster Management (14th WCDM). The next annual conference is titled The Changing Face of Disaster Management - Are We Really Prepared? and is expected to be a great opportunity to learn about new approaches to business continuity planning and disaster recovery, if this year's conference is any guide to what we can expect. About half of the Gill Advisors attended the 13th World Conference on Disaster Management in June, this year, and we anticipate that all of our team will attend the next conference. Interestingly, we first met some of our key advisors at the last conference, including our business conituity specialists, CAMTOS, and data management specialists, Storage Guardian. Such alliances enable Gill to better serve clients across a broader range of specialties and professional disciplines.

The theme of next year's conference is "Are We Really Prepared?” A very good question. If you have been following this weblog over the past few months, you might be getting the sense that organizations are really making a concerted effort to integrate business continuity within their own cultures. But how contemporary and well thought out are the plans that are being put in place? And how earnestly are the planners approaching their task? We could site examples where smaller organizations may not be up to speed to the same degree of larger players, but that’s understandable.

The problem, as we see it, is that many BCP initiatives are simply being driven by the need to satisfy organizational directives to have a plan in place. Some don’t even have a plan in place at all -- we all know of organizations who still turn a blind eye to planning, adopting a "damn the torpedos" approach. There are a number of good consulting firms out there, including Fairfax Virginia-based ICF Consulting (who, as you might recall, put out the first research-oriented paper on the blackout, the very next day) which openly asks "Are we really prepared" in this article, and recognize that for how much we may say we are prepared, robust plans require much more than laundry lists created by automatons. Rigidity, old-school thinking and protecting one's territory are counter-productive in today's environment. No longer is BCP exclusively the domain of IT people; there are other areas that need to be tied in, including real estate continuity. The theme of the 14th WCDM seems to hit a very timely note.


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