In this series, Facility Executive introduces you to one of the many business continuity professionals scheduled to speak at the 21st Annual Continuity Insights Management Conference, which will take place at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, April 24-26, 2023.
In these times, when the need for critical information-sharing has never been greater, Continuity Insights offers insight, inspiration, and actionable ideas presented by a faculty of leading business continuity experts and practitioners. This conference provides a timely and important opportunity to share best practices, lessons learned, and effective strategies employed to ensure organizational resilience.
Here, we chat with Margaret J. Millett, Head of Global Resilience at Uber.
Facility Executive: Tell us about your background. How did you first get involved with business resiliency?
Margaret Millett: Like many people in the Business Continuity Management profession, I joined by “accident.” I was working for Scudder, Stevens, & Clark in Boston, MA when they were consolidating two offices into a new state-of- the-art office building. To prepare for the office move, I was asked to document a “Business Recovery Plan” for my department. I told the project team I was going to be out of the country on vacation during the move and they said “no worries.” When I got back from my vacation everyone said the plan was great. Management knew what to do, who to call, etc. Six months later there was a Business Continuity job posting at Scudder. I applied for the job and got it. It has been almost 30 years since I have been in this profession. I have never looked back on my career choice, nor do I have ANY regrets.
FE: How would you define business continuity planning?
MM: Business continuity means more than making sure the lights stay on during an event. There are numerous benefits of establishing a business continuity strategy. When you have resilience there is greater awareness of what really matters during an event and organizations can focus resources effectively. It provides employee engagement as well ownership, so employees understand their roles and responsibilities in an event to ensure the execution of smooth recovery. Having recovery plans documented with pre-defined strategic decisions are crucial to guide employees during an event. Ensuring business impacts and risks are identified so they are mitigated prior to an event occurring. Take the steps to empower leaders to actively monitor the state of resilience within the organization to provide guidance and support. Conducting various types of exercises helps an organization understand what works and what does not work, which allows for growth and continued resilience.
FE: Why is this important for facility management to prioritize?
MM: Having properly managed facilities is a huge step in making a good first impression on employees and other people that visit your premises for any kind of business. Having properly managed facilities has a significant impact on employee morale. It helps them focus, take pride in their workplace, and makes them feel proud about working at the organization. Having properly managed facilities is important for saving on costs. Managing your equipment and premises will make maintenance issues fewer and far between, helping you save on costs significantly.
It also allows you to focus more on prevention rather than treatment, since you can deal with problems before they arise. This is also very beneficial for saving on costs, since costs will not compound into a large spend. Having properly managed facilities exponentially increases the efficiency of the business. If all your facilities are managed, then there is very little that can disrupt work. People will know where things are well kept and not have to waste time looking for materials, thus increasing efficiency. It also allows you to recognize and predict problems before they arise, like malfunctioning equipment, and allows you to deal with the problem as fast as possible.
MARGARET’S BREAKOUT SESSION
Crisis Management: Bridging The Gap Between Business Continuity And Incident Response Planning
Program Development and Advancement Track
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
This session will focus on the differences and similarities between Business Continuity Planning and Incident Response Planning, the need for an overall Crisis Management response structure that precedes both, and the importance of training and awareness across the entire organization. Although Business Continuity and Incident Response Planning are two separate animals, there are parallels to the two that should be understood so organizations can strategically align these initiatives.
FE: What is incident response planning, and how has it evolved over the years?
MM: The goal of the Incident Response Planning is to provide tools to help technical staff who are responsible for supporting systems that are required to effectively respond to security incidents, and to minimize any negative impact to an organizations operations through a set of detection, analysis, and recovery activities.
Over time, this has split from focusing on running company applications to focusing on a breach, an event, a security incident, to critical data protection. A breach is a security incident that requires notification of affected individuals, where the protected data of the affected individual was, or is reasonably believed to have been, accessed by an unauthorized person. An event is any observable occurrence on a system or network, e.g. system login, file creation or application transaction. A security incident is an event, or series of events, that violates, or is about to violate, an organization’s policies and standards. Critical Data Protection are the data levels which are classified by the organization’s Data Classification Standard as moderate or highly sensitive due to the potential for negative impact to the organization if such data is inappropriately accessed.
FE: What would you like your audience to take away from your presentation?
MM: Events can occur with or without warning, and the results may be predictable or unknown. If you have an inherited a business continuity program the process of evaluating the team is often overlooked — especially if the program is deemed successful. A Business Continuity Program evaluation is a crucial part of moving forward and ensuring that the Program can run even better the next time around and meets the need of organization’s needs. The recommendations which will be shared during the session will provide valuable insight for tips on how to approach an evaluation. This will is important to ensure business operations are resilient and the effects of disruptions in service are minimized in order to maintain public trust and confidence in our organization.