After Iceland: links for Business Continuity

I recently led a workshop on Business Continuity Management (BCM), which is “growing up” to become far more than IT disaster recovery. Not that DR itself is an insignficant area! BCM is a growth area, with emerging standards (currently BS numbers, but likely to migrate into ISO) and its own professional certifications. And there’s senior analyst insight available, through their blogs and other sources.

It’s a live topic, too, in the wake of the ash-cloud disruption. Was that an unprecendented event? Yes, in recent history, it was – that is, since the advent of global business reliant on air travel, to say nothing of the international leisure industry. But no, in terms of its business impact. Businesses came through it if they had learned previous lessons about other kinds of travel disruption.

I was in the USA in September 2001 (“9/11”) and one of the direct results of that, in the global company I worked for, was to shift a lot of collaborative business onto networked remote meetings. Not just for the security of staff, but my guess is that the number of people caught out of place that week highlighted just how much we were spending on travel. And the technologies were becoming available: some videoconferencing, to be sure, but much more in the way of structured shared databases (including discussion platforms), meeting planning, and straightforward telephone conferences. Cheap, easy once the culture had been established, and very flexible: with a replicated meeting database, people can call in from the airport lounge, from home if they’re in an awkward time zone, and so on.

If there’s one lesson, it’s that BC is about envisaging scenarios for disruption: outcomes, rather than causes, because there are a hundred ways people’s travel can be disrupted, or a building become inaccessible, or facilities lost.

Here is a short collection of links I identified in my preparation, which may be useful to others getting up to speed.

British Standards Institution (BS25999 and other standards)

The Business Continuity Institute offers professional membership and non-member personal certification, and the BCI Partnership for companies promoting BC.

Continuity Central: portal for news and other resources

IT General Controls

Analyst resources

These resources are available free; other resources will require subscription

Gartner have Business Continuity Management as a “Key Initiative”. Sign in with a personal free account to see these resources. Use Gartner’s site search for “Business Continuity” if the reference has changed:

Gartner also published a research note Out of the Ashes: Business Continuity
Management Lessons From Iceland’s Volcanic Eruption
(23 April 2010, document ID G00200441). At the time I was able to download this document but it is no longer available to a guest registration. Gartner clients will of course be able to retrieve it.

To search Gartner blogs for other references, use the Gartner Blog Search at but there appears to be little blog coverage there.

Forrester blogs: review the blogs for Infrastructure & Operations and for Security & Risk.


ICANN has switched on, as the BBC reports, the change to web addressing that allows addresses to be fully specified in non-Latin characters. The first additions are three Arabic-script country top level domains which are now in the root DNS.

Previously, the top level country domain at least had to be in Latin, like .eg for Egypt which can now be مصر (promounced “Misr”). It does appear, though, that the “http://” survives in Latin. But Google, with Chrome, is planning to do away with that too (lost the reference to that news, so it’s not in the links. Please comment if you can find it for me).

Editing note: I copied that script for egypt-in-arabic from the BBC website, who copied it from ICANN. It’s in this page in native Arabic, not unicode codes, so if it doesn’t look right then maybe you need to install the Arabic language on your computer, as I have.

More of a problem: it proved quite difficult to get back to the right-hand end of the line after the little insertion of right-to-left script. Maybe that’s what the Beeb meant when it quoted ICANN as admitting there is “still some work to do before they [work] correctly for everyone” (no, it must be more than that). But watch for the explosion of, particularly I guess, Chinese-character domains without the work-round that’s been used till now.

Anyhow, it becomes official today. Read the BBC report for more detail.

• ‘Historic’ day as first non-latin web addresses go live: BBC News, 6 May 2010
• First IDN ccTLDs Available, ICANN, 5 May 2010
or see a less formal (more informative) version:
First IDN ccTLDs now available, ICANN blog, 5 May 2010