Archive for 'Business Continuity Planning'

3 Steps You Must Take TODAY to Reduce Your Software Risks

The following is a post written by guest author Kit Merker.

Kit Merker has been in technical and management roles for over a decade, doing everything from project management, coding, design, testing, and running a service. He currently works at Microsoft as a Developer Evangelist. Kit Merker has a blog dedicated to preparing for software disasters. Be sure to follow Kit on Twitter after reading his guest blog post below! 

These are times of economic uncertainty for many businesses, and the very idea of spending much-needed funds on something that might happen may seem like suicide. According to, business continuity & disaster recovery is NOT a top priority for CIO’s.

It’s a normal human tendency to stay optimistic and believe that you are immune from disaster. We say, “that’ll happen to other people, I’ll hope for the best and focus on my day-to-day activities.”

But, as I say probably too frequently, hope is not a strategy.

Software Risk ManagementImagine if a disaster hit and you sustained serious downtime, got hacked, or lost data your customers needed. The results would be disastrous for your reputation and could mean the end of your business. You’d be kicking yourself for not preparing.

But just like a teenager learning to drive, sometimes getting in an accident helps you learn to operate more safely. The good news is that there are practical things you can do to reduce your risks of software disaster.

Here are 3 things you can do TODAY to reduce your software risks:

1. Create a Crisis Phone Tree

I am a huge fan of lo-fi approaches to dealing with the unknown. This may seem like basic housekeeping, but it will help you handle a crisis much better than having the wrong people or the wrong contact information. When’s the last time yours was updated?

Also, you could create a simple rotation to designate who is “on call” in a given week to handle anything unexpected. You don’t need heavy policy & procedure if you have smart people who are familiar with the software empowered to do the right thing.

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How Steve Jobs Changed Technology, Business, and the World

The overwhelming sentiment I am noticing today is that so many people feel a profound sense of loss for someone they have never met.  Steve Jobs changed everything!

Steve Jobs: Innovator, Entrepreneur, VisionaryHow many business leaders in history can we truly say changed the world?  Not only did he revolutionize personal computing, mobile phones, the music industry, and the way people read, play and work, he also inspired a generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

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Risk Management Interview: Nowell Seaman at RIMS Canada

This is the first installment of the Risk Management Interview series on the ClearRisk blog.  Over my business trips, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many risk management thought leaders. I decided it would be a great idea to gather the opinions of various risk management and insurance professionals to share on our risk management blog, and so began this series.

From September 18 to the 21, I am attending the RIMS Canada Conference in Ottawa. This conference gathers risk management and insurance professionals together to learn more about what’s going on in the industry and to share ideas and strategies.

In this short video, I interview Nowell Seaman at the RIMS Canada Conference 2011 in Ottawa. Nowell is the risk manager of the University of Saskatchewan, and he is on the board of directors for RIMS.

I asked Nowell what was on his mind in terms of risk management this week. 
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RIMS Canada Conference: 10 Years Post 9/11

September 11, 2001 is this generation’s Kennedy assassination. It’s the day when everyone knows exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first found out about it. For risk managers in Canada, that day was spent in Ottawa at the RIMS Canada Conference.

RIMS Canada Conference in Ottawa I was walking through the exhibit hall when a friend with BI&I (the Hartford Steam Boiler -Munich Re) asked if I had heard what happened. I spent the rest of the day mesmerized and horrified in front of my hotel room TV. The rest of the conference was sombre and serious as we thought about our industry friends and colleagues that were among the victims that day.

In a few days, risk managers from across Canada and many from the US will once again gather in Ottawa, the nation’s capital. The annual RIMS Canada conference runs from September 18th through 21st. I suspect there will be a lot of reflection about what has changed in the world of risk and risk management since that dreadful day. The short answer: everything.

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The 6 Biggest Risks Concerning Small Businesses


SMB RiskI recently participated in an interview on the risks faced by SMBs with Pam Clark of Business Insurance.   Matthew Brodsky of Risk & Insurance Magazine, Jon L. Gelman an expert on worker’s compensation and I set out to give small business owners some useful advice on their most pressing risk management issues. Go here to view the full interview.

Matthew and Jon provided some excellent answers, so the entire article is well worth reading! For the benefit of our readers, I want to reiterate 6 important points we covered.

Early Risks to Address

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Risk Management is a Team Sport

Risk Management TeamworkThis week, ClearRisk is proud to present a guest blog post by Allan R. Morton, Jr. CIC, CRM.

Allan is the managing partner of Morton Insurance & Risk Management.  15 years in the industry is marked by his passion to drop money to their bottom line and increase negotiating leverage with insurers via proactive risk management.  He is a Certified Insurance Counselor as well as Certified Risk Manager.

One of the biggest challenges I have is how to keep a prospective client’s eyes from glazing over when the phrase “Risk Management” is mentioned.  It’s almost like those two words are part of a magical incantation which puts many in upper management into trance-like states.  It confounds me. There is something utterly unglamorous about it I suspect.  It’s not exciting, flashy, or as sexy as landing a big deal.

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How to beat the odds of survival: Risk Management for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

This week ClearRisk is proud to provide a guest post by Bert Fens of Forces Risk Management. Bert is a risk professional with 20+ years of international experience in risk management, holding several senior management positions. He is also a member of the Risk Management Consultants of Ontario (RMCO).

Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMB’s) can benefit considerably from a simple but effective risk management program.

Business continuity plan

Consider this: more than 2 out of 5 small business owners in Canada have experienced a significant disruption to their businesses; 80% of businesses affected by a major incident have to close within 18 months, yet 62% of business owners have placed  business continuity planning low on their to-do-list and 18% of them admit that it is not even on their radar. These numbers are a clear and very scary indicator that the odds of survival for companies that have been hit by a major loss are incredibly low.

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BP found its “Company Killer”: Do you know yours?

Time will tell if the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will kill BP or just severely cripple it, but whatever the case I’ll bet they didn’t see it coming!  Will you?

bp logo clearrisk blog

It looks like this spill will be (if it isn’t already) the biggest man-made disaster ever.  The extent of the spill, the scope of damage and the resulting impacts on the environment, marine life, economies, and people remains to be seen, but catastrophic sums it up.  BP and all of the other world’s oil companies plan for spills.  They build complex risk models, examine alternative worst case scenarios, look at maximum probable losses, and they are generally very good at measuring and managing risk.  But what if the worst case scenario that you imagined turns out to be wrong?

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ClearRisk 2.0 Launched Today!

Today ClearRisk Inc is proud to announce the  launch of version 2.0 of its ClearRisk Manager application. Version 2.0  is built to improve every user’s experience. The site is faster, it enables easier collaboration and includes functionality that will allow our users who are Insurance Brokers to interact with clients in ways they’ve never been able to before.

ClearRisk Manager: Affordable Risk Management ClearRisk Manager Version 2.0 is designed to be lightning fast. “We’ve increased the speed of the site by almost 4x,” said John Downey, Director of Systems for ClearRisk Inc “we’ve created a seamless experience for brokers; almost unnoticeable page loads and large reports take only a few seconds, unlike minutes or hours for some competitive systems.”

Clients of Insurance brokers are demanding risk management options that go beyond insurance coverage. Some brokerages are struggling with how to effectively provide these services to their clients. That’s why we built ClearRisk Manager. We want Insurance brokers to have an affordable way to provide their clients with risk management plans, risk maps and risk management resources – even if they have little to no risk management training.

Using ClearRisk Manager to help identify, prioritize and manage client risks, brokers can offer affordable risk management support to clients; helping clients get the best terms in the insurance market

We’ve built on this concept in Version 2.0, by adding more client and broker collaboration tools, and increasing the speed of the site even more. ClearRisk Manager 2.0 can be used to store, track and share all relevant risk and insurance information such as insurance policies, claims documents, and insurance certificates. It gives Brokers and their clients the ability track progress they make over time.

In addition, ClearRisk Manager 2.0 introduces functionality that allows Brokers to Co-Brand the secure online portal. It’s important for Brokers to have multiple touch points with clients throughout the year. Every time a client logs on to ClearRisk Manager to work on their Risk Management plan, the host Broker’s logo can be prominently displayed. From the client’s perspective, the Broker is providing them with a software solution comparable to those offered by only large multinational brokers. This, in combination with the collaboration tools above, shows the clients firsthand the value the Broker is bringing to their business.

ClearRisk’s focus has been on increasing broker profitability with mid-market Risk Management Solutions. ClearRisk Manager 2.0 provides brokers with even more functionality to help them become the preferred provider of risk management and insurance products and services.

The following video is a popular resource for insurance brokers who are evaluating the use of risk management as a value added service.

Top 10 ways to use Risk Management to Increase Brokerage Revenue

Come view the new functionality with a 30-day free-trial

or let one of our associates walk you through ClearRisk Manager 2.0 with a 20 min tutorial

The Downside of Upside

The economic downturn has presented its share of challenges for business around the world. Adjusting to the “new economic normal” hasn’t been an easy task as the broad scope of operational changes, closures and bailouts have shown. It’s been a trying time for business, but positive signs of change are beginning to emerge; strategies are being aimed at making the most of the upturn, investments are leading economic activity and strategists are identifying early increases in consumer confidence.

ClearRisk Blog The Downside of Upside

Edging out of the recession and seeing better economic conditions around the corner, it’s important that businesses be aware of the downside of the upside of risk!

It’s common to view risk negatively, but every entrepreneur knows that there is no reward without risk. Risk brings opportunity and is the balance between the upside and the downside. There are many changes that will come with a global economy that is on the upswing; credit will become more widely available, businesses will begin to prosper and begin hiring, business spending restrictions will ease, investments will be made in infrastructure and companies will look for ambitious growth.

As discussed in one of our blog posts from last year, the downturn has been a time for improving operations, strengthening relationships with customers and preparing to make the most of the recovery. Now that the upswing is upon us, bringing positive change and room for growth, it’s important to plan for the risks that will no doubt accompany the opportunities presented. In the upturn of the economic recession, make sure you don’t become your own worst enemy.

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