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Positivity is Contagious

Let me share a characteristic about myself. I’m a person that always strives to be positive and find a silver lining in everything. My hope with this blog is to share some positive thoughts and news surrounding COVID-19. Or if you haven’t heard it’s scientific name Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). As of April 13, 2020 there are over 1,860,000 + confirmed cases, and 114,000 + deaths worldwide. The seriousness of this Global Pandemic cannot be understated.

Allow me to share my thoughts on some positive things I have seen.

  1.  We know how to slow the spread of the virus and that’s by social distancing. Some of my colleagues and clients have heard me say that a more accurate description is physical distancing. Socially we’re still getting together thanks to the internet. Whether it’s FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, or whatever your preference. We are doing social get-together’s online more frequently. For business meetings, and occasional virtual happy hours, etc. there are more and more of us turning on our video to show our faces. That’s a good thing (maybe not with my face), but for most, that is a good thing. By continuing our physical distancing, current reports are showing that we are beginning to see a flattening of the curve. On a personal note, I have lost 7 pounds since being locked down. It might be stress, but I am doing my part to flatten more than one curve.
  2. There are more and more countries participating in physical distancing and the results are reassuring.
  3. Scientists around the world are working on a cure. It will take months or possibly years to develop a vaccine, but the work so far has shown promising avenues that have been identified.
  4. Most people recover from the virus. Around the world many are recovering from the infection, thanks to the hard work of medical staff and the people who support them.
  5. Testing for the virus is increasing and improving.
  6. People are coming together and helping each other like never before. Many of us are finding ways to bring out the best in ourselves and our communities, resisting misinformation and divisiveness. Kind gestures are now increasing everywhere.
  7. After five years of fighting a civil war in Yemen, a cease fire broke out because of COVID-19. Imagine the two sides just starting a dialogue for peace and listening to each other in this and all other conflicts around the world.
  8. A major modeling report recently has now lowered its prediction for the death toll in the United States.
  9. We have relearned or now know new acronyms like PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), WHO (World Health Organization), PUI (Patient Under Investigation) and the SGN (Some Good News) network, thanks to John Krasinski.
  10. I get such positive feelings from children writing and drawing with chalk on sidewalks and driveways with such uplifting words.
  11. We’ll have lessons learned from this, and we will be more prepared than ever in business and Government. It’s great to see local Municipalities, Counties, State, Federal, and Health Systems all working and communicating together.
  12. When I go for my daily walks, I have noticed that people are friendlier, they wave, say hello and are also smiling. Even those wearing a mask. I can see it in their eye’s that they are smiling.

I could go on with more positive news, there is a lot of it out there. I know it is hard on all of us to be positive when many people are dying. But we will get through this.

To all the medical professionals, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, pharmacy workers, mail carriers, firefighters, police, nursing home employees, and everyone else working to save lives and keep us all going. Thank you, we are all grateful for your sacrifice.

 

Utilizing Your Pandemic Response/Plan to Include Minimizing Stakeholder Impact

Utilizing Your Pandemic Response/Plan to Include Minimizing Stakeholder Impact

Pandemic planning focuses on ensuring our companies can recover from a protracted incident and the ability to sustain most impacted/critical operations over an extended period (30, 60, 90 days+).  Considering current events, this is especially relevant.  We have been working with our customers to also look into minimizing the impact to their external stakeholders, as I am sure, many of you are.

Through our efforts in providing Pandemic Policies and plans to our customers, we have included sections on Customer Service offerings within the policy. The section below is a blended policy section, taken from both Financial and Retail Pandemic Plans that can easily be adopted and integrated into your own.

We have sections on both Employees and Supply Chain that is not addressed directly here. If you are interested in more information on those sections, I would be happy to share, please reach out to me.

4.1 Customer Service

A top priority for our organization is for our customers to access our products, funds, resources, and services without interruption or degradation in quality.

The following strategic options should be considered during an infectious disease outbreak.

  1. Direct customers to expand use of our online services. This should be accomplished through electronic, web, and handouts. Consider an incentive through added to the communications, to include free shipping, comp’d services, discounts, or waived fees.
  2. Reallocate impacted department staff to address increased online activity. Information Technology will monitor server load and bandwidth to ensure a secure, stable experience due to increased demand.
  3. Require employees directly dealing with in person customer interaction, direct contact with currency, paperwork, product, to use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks or gloves, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO.
  4. Mandate refresher training for all impacted employees in proper use and disposal of PPE. Ensure specific receptacles for PPE.
  5. Create and use campaigns to encourage employers to expand use of direct deposit services.
  6. Execute clause in new hiring process to delay drug-screening until post incident period for surge workers. Include clause in employment agreement to address waiver in crisis.
  7. Provide customer with both an automated, scripted status of company’s redefined efforts, closures, and other directly impacted service via telephone routing (IVR) and website(s).
  8. Provide online live /interactive venue for communications via chat, and other web-based solution.
  9. Establish alternate vendors for Armored Car services to ensure pickup and delivery of cash and receipts.
  10. Increase liquidity projections and arrange back-up liquidity to address projected increases in customer demand for cash (ATM’s) for extended period. Increase Armored Car Services accordingly.
  11. Offer forbearance and/or rewrite terms on business, consumer and residential loans for customers who fall behind on their payments as a direct result of the pandemic. Evaluation criteria for forbearance and/or rewriting of terms is the responsibility of Risk, Credit and Lending, led by Credit.
  12. Provide Pandemic bridge/emergency loans to consumer and business customers on a case-by-case basis.
  13. Highlight or remove low/no stock inventory from online, and or post status at entrance to location. Provide ETA on replenishment if available or suggest alternatives.

The intent here is to provide support to those who are deep into reacting to and assisting their organizations and the community in this national crisis.

Please feel free to use what is relevant here for your own use. Your constructive feedback, comments or questions are more than welcome.

For additional support on this topic, please reach out to Christopher Duffy, Head of Advisory Services at Infinite Blue.

 

PANDEMIC PLANNING: BEING PREPARED FOR COVID-19

PANDEMIC PLANNING: BEING PREPARED FOR COVID-19

With the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19, it’s time to dust off your Pandemic Plan and ensure that you follow protocol to protect your employees and customers.  How your organization responds to and recovers from COVID-19 is everyone’s responsibility.

For your business to weather the storm, ensure your management team is discussing and addressing the following topics:

  1. How are you tracking travel for your employees (business and personal)? What is the cancellation policy for hotels, airlines, conferences?  Are you requiring staff to self-quarantine?
    • Be aware of where events are scheduled and whether a state of emergency has been declared as refunds may be available
  2. What means of communication are you leveraging internally and externally?
  3. Are you having employees reporting their current status to management and tracking accordingly?
  4. At what point will you require social distancing and/or work from home?
  5. Do you allow employees to work from home and do you have enough remote access available (i.e. VPN)?
  6. Will adjustments be required to your HR policies related to sick leave and time off?
  7. What is your HR policy for sick leave if an employee has to self-quarantine?
  8. If they are infected with COVID-19, would you still require them to work from home?
  9. Have you accounted for limited staffing situations due to employees’ childcare providers and/or schools being closed?
  10. Have you defined the minimum number of staff required to perform critical business processes and started cross training where necessary?
  11. What protocols will you follow before staff can return to work?
  12. Are there any legal implications with monitoring the health of employees such as taking temperatures?
  13. What are your escalation procedures to engage local government agencies such as the Public Health Department if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
  14. Have you identified vendors that can assist with sanitizing your workspace (outside of normal janitorial services)?

It is important in times like these to keep everyone informed. Every day we continue to hear more about the Coronavirus and how it’s impacting our society, company, and families/friends. Knowledge is power, so make sure you continue to stay on top of current information about the virus with trusted resources and data related to Coronavirus. Here are some important media links that may help you during this time:

Infinite Blue is here to help you throughout this situation. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Please view our Pandemic Planning and Response page for additional resources and assistance.

 

 

You asked for it!

You asked for it!

During our 2020 company kickoff, I had the opportunity to participate in an entertaining team building activity.

The task: Write up a requirements document to build a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.

“So easy!”, we thought.  But, boy, were we wrong!

Each of my team members defined, step by step, what we thought it would take to build the sandwich. Once we had read, re-read and confirmed our knowledge of how to complete this simple task, a colleague tried to exactly follow our steps.

  1. Get Bread
  2. Put PB on bread
  3. Put jelly on bread
  4. Close sandwich
  5. Eat

The problem is, we tend to make heaps of assumptions when we ask for something, and our counterparts may not have the same assumptions depending on their experience and skill set.

The points of confusion were many: How do you open the bread bag? How can you get the PB out of the jar if it isn’t open?  Where’s the knife? And it went on… Maybe you finally finish the sandwich and the recipient says, “I don’t like grape jelly!”. As you might imagine, hilarity ensued. This silly example was an enjoyable way to prove a solid point: Clear requirements and assumptions are critical to get a task accomplished efficiently and correctly.

Information gathering is the most critical piece of any implementation. Clarifying your specific goals allows us to configure the tool to best match the needs of your organization. Clear, concise, unambiguous requirements guide the design process.

We understand, however, that it can sometimes be difficult to have fully vetted this information until you gain experience in the platform. And certainly, requirements can change over time due to a variety of factors.

So, the question becomes, how DO we define our requirements? You can support your Implementation Lead by having a clear picture of your output. I like to tell my clients that we should “start at the end”. If we know what the management reporting looks like at the end of the day, this can serve as a sort of acceptance criteria. We can configure the application based on these reports and iterate from there.

Working without clear requirements can be done, but just as traveling to unknown areas without a map (or GPS), you run the risk of losing time and money rerouting and reworking. The time and effort it takes to generate specific and accurate requirements is the best way to succeed in any implementation.

You and your team can try the Peanut Butter and Jelly challenge too, watch this video for some inspiration!

Flexible Roles for a Stronger Team

Flexible Roles for a Stronger Team

Like most sports, volleyball requires teamwork. A volleyball team is made up of a group of individuals with different skills. They all specialize in different roles, whether it’s an offensive or defensive position. In high school, I played the Libero position – which is the defensive specialist. Libero means ‘free’ in Italian as this role can substitute for any other player on the court (as long as they’re in the back row). In this defensive role, I was responsible for receiving attacks or serves. If the opposing team was on the offense, I needed to be ready to cover any ball that came off my team’s blockers or lack of blockers. In other cases, if the setter got the first contact, I took on another role – the second setter. Being in this position, I wore different hats – just like our team does at Infinite Blue.

I’ve recently joined the Infinite Blue team as the Support Technician. Before I came along, there wasn’t a designated Support Technician – everyone took part. During my initial interview, my (now) manager mentioned that everyone “wore multiple hats” and that no one was tied down to a specific role. With my experience in the libero role, I was already used to supporting a team in various ways, making me a critical team player I knew that a flexible role and great teamwork was what I was looking to pursue 

Teamwork is often considered a crucial part of a business. So, what is teamwork and why is it so crucial? Teamwork is defined as the collaborative effort of a group to achieve a common goal or complete a task in the most effective and efficient way. Most businesses have teams dedicated to Business Continuity to ensure operations and core business functions are functioning after a disaster or unplanned disruption. This specialized team could save the company a substantial financial amount as well as even lives in the event of a disaster. In our industry, it is so important for a BC/DR team to cross-train it’s team membersAs we know no one can be 100% prepared for a disaster, so having a well cross-trained team can ensure extra help and benefit your BC/DR program at a time of need. 

Since we are headquartered outside of Philadelphia, I find it fitting to close with the example of the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Superbowl in 2017. This team lost most of their players and lead quarterback but came together to preserver and win their first Superbowl. After winning, their coach Doug Pederson said something very prolific “An individual can make a difference, but a team makes a miracle.”  

Bringing the Magic with Business Continuity

Bringing the Magic with Business Continuity

By now I am sure most of you are familiar with that adorable little elf that adorns so many shelves in households and even school classrooms during the month of December. Whether your family has personally welcomed an elf or two into your home, or not, you are likely aware of this tradition taking place in families’ homes around the holiday season. It seems that it is no longer just expected for children to simply behave and follow their parents’ or teachers’ rules, but now with the help of this trusty little elf on the shelf, watching their every move, they are more inclined to stay on the straight and narrow, working hard to earn their name a spot on Santa’s nice list…avoiding his naughty list at all costs.

 

Speaking from experience as a parent of two young, active little boys, we, too followed this tradition and welcomed not one, but two elves into our home a few years ago. We quickly realized these elves had a big job to fulfill, and therefore, man-to-man coverage might be our best option to entice this good behavior in our boys. Hence, two elves appeared from the North Pole and each was quickly claimed by one of my sons and given a name. That is how we ended up with our elves, Jingles and Sheldon…and so the magic began in our home. Each year our elf guests appear the day following Thanksgiving and stay through Christmas Eve. Our boys are enamored with their presence and the magic they possess.

 

At night while children across the country are sleeping, their elves are flying all the way to the North Pole, reporting to Santa Claus on their particular child’s behavior, and still managing to make their way back into the homes before the children wake. Each morning children rush out of bed to find these elves hiding in funny places or placed in precarious situations…bring with them an excitement and wonder in the children, as they try to guess what kind of midnight shenanigans their elf may have been involved in.

 

The holidays can be such a magical time for both children and adults. As much as we’d love to subscribe to this same belief in magical flying elves and Santa Claus living at the North Pole, we all know the magic does not simply appear when the toy elf arrives on the shelf in your home or classroom. The magic is all made possible by the diligence and preparation of the children’s parents and/or teachers, and their execution of tirelessly moving the elf from location to location each night to keep the magic alive and on-going…keeping children on their toes and excited with anticipation. Much of the same can be said about you as a business continuity professional. Okay, okay…not to say that we all possess the magical power to fly to the North Pole and bend the ear of Santa, but really, don’t we all truly perform some real “magic” for the companies and organizations we serve? Yes, we do!

 

Without the tireless planning, training, and exercising that business continuity teams perform on a daily, weekly, monthly and even annual basis, many of the companies and organizations we know so well, would no longer be in place and operational. Without the “magic” you provide through the meticulous planning and preparations made by you and your business continuity team, companies would likely be forced to permanently shut their doors at their first experience of a disruption, whether it be related to an IT system or application failure, loss of a critical facility, reduction in personnel, you name it. All these factors must be adequately addressed and planned for, well in advance as part of a business continuity and recovery program to ensure long term stability and continuity within an organization. The “magical” role you personally play within your organization is a critical one.

Each of us, as business continuity practitioners, fill an important role for our company. Often times, our own colleagues within a company do not even realize there is a team of individuals or maybe a particular person behind all of this “magic”, and it really is “magic” that keeps a company running and operational when facing a challenging event. To some degree, these colleagues, so unaware, are much like the children during the month of December, watching in awe as their elf appears and performs like expected, like clockwork…just like the work of a business continuity team that continues to be performed. You are the backbone of the company, helping to keep the organization alive and the doors open. The “magic” you perform in your given role is notable, so keep it up and keep bringing the “magic” of your business continuity program to your organization. They are all counting on you and depending on you!

 

The Infinite Blue family wishes you and yours a very “magical” holiday season and a “magical” 2020!

 

Master of Scrum

Master of Scrum

Recently I have taken on the role of ScrumMaster for our Scrum team here at Infinite Blue. As a ScrumMaster I need to make sure that all the members of the Scrum team are performing at their best. Before I show how this software development process can benefit you and your business practices, let me first explain what a Scrum and a ScrumMaster are, and how these ideas are used every day as we develop applications at Infinite Blue.

What is Scrum?

Scrum isn’t just a tech fad. Scrum is an agile way to manage projects and products that a team is working on. This method allows a team to continuously deliver high quality products to customers. Scrum is a framework that allows teams to work together and accept requirement changes, reflect on mistakes and improve. This is a core principle of agile methodology. If you are not familiar, agile methodology is a process in which an individual would interact over process and tools, collaborate with customers and acknowledge changes over the span of working on a project or solution. You can learn more about the agile methodology from the Agile Manifesto. The Scrum framework is derived from the game of rugby. In rugby, scrum is when eight players from each team interlock with each other and compete with the opposing team to gain possession of the ball that is placed in the middle. This is not entirely what the Scrum framework is, but it is like what a rugby team would go through. When a rugby team prepares for a game, Scrum enables individual team member to benefit from the team experience, continuously using past performance to reiterate and improve. In the development of technology, the Scrum framework consists of events, meetings, tools, and roles that assist managing work for a team.

How does Scrum work?

Scrum consist of a series of events called sprints. Sprints usually have a duration of up to two weeks. Sprints contain a set of items or tickets that a scrum team would work on. These tickets are pulled from a product backlog that a product manager or product owner continually maintains, and usually contains a list of new features, enhancements, bugs and requirements. There are six events that occur for Scrum: grooming, sprint planning, sprint, a daily scrum, sprint review and sprint retrospective.

  1. Grooming is when a team will look through the product backlog and review each item by priority. For each item, the team will assign an estimated amount of points. These points are a measuring unit for either complexity or an estimate amount of time it would take to complete this item. If these items are not clear enough or need more requirements, a team would not assign points, but would instead ask for more requirements. For example, there is a ticket in your backlog for a new feature. The feature is for a new button. The description or requirements for this new feature just says, “Need new button on a page.” This is clearly not enough for a developer to work with. A developer needs more to understand what needs to be done for this feature, such as where the button needs to show up and the action that happens after clicking the button. A team would ask for more details or acceptance criteria that list out what is the intended outcome of the new feature.
  2. A Scrum team will plan for what needs to go into a sprint during a meeting called sprint planning. During this sprint planning, the team will collaborate to plan out the sprint goals. These sprint goals specifically focus on items from the backlog that the team needs to complete. Basically, the team decides what needs to go into a sprint based on capacity of each team member and the priority of the items in the backlog.
  3. Sprint is a short timeboxed period in which a team would complete a set amount of work that is injected from the product backlog. Usually sprints have a duration of two weeks and can be longer. Sprints helps scrum by breaking down large and complex projects into bites size pieces.
  4. During the sprint, there are daily scrum meetings in which each team member will discuss what they are working on for the day.
  5. The sprint review is a formal meeting for the team to share metrics on what they have completed in the sprint. Also, the team will demo a product they have completed during the sprint.
  6. Lastly, there is the sprint retrospective. This is where a team would discuss and reflect on how the sprint went. They would discuss what went well for the sprint, what went wrong, and how they can improve for the next sprint.

What is a ScrumMaster?

The ScrumMaster’s job is to make sure that each team member involved in the sprint is producing the highest level of work.  For myself as a ScrumMaster, I need to make sure that there are no outside distractions for the team so they can focus on the items that they are working on in a sprint. My job is to set up the team for success. Think of the ScrumMaster as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. He prevents the orcs from stopping the Fellowship of the Ring in order to destroy the ring. A ScrumMaster will make sure that nothing is hindering or preventing the team from completing their sprint goals.

How can you use Scrum to benefit your own team?

A big emphasis of both scrum and sprints is to eliminate distractions to better focus. A team does not take on all the work that is in the backlog, but focuses in on one area that they can accomplish in a set amount of time. They are freed from the outside distractions and allowed to zero in on only what needs to be done immediately. Instead of spending long meetings discussing the endless possibilities for both future and past tasks, the team members are faced with a set of achievable, timely tasks that have already been vetted for clarity of requirements. This makes the goal much more realistic to attain! Everyone has been on a team that sets lofty and vague work goals, only to be pulled off course as work progresses. Once this happens, accountability can devolve into frustration and finger-pointing. In contrast, the agile framework of sprints and scrums removes distractions, makes sure the goals are realistic, and enforces accountability. As the ScrumMaster, I leave you with these parting words: real productivity is a benefit for every team, no matter the field, and something you can achieve with the agile development framework, you should try it if you aren’t already.

 

 

The $100k Email

The $100k Email

“It won’t happen to us.” In recent months, many school districts have had to rethink this phrase. Schools appear to be a new target for cyber-attacks or malware attacks. These hackers are getting into the computers and servers of these schools and then holding them hostage for a ransom. As someone who works for a tech company but not buried in coding, I was curious as to how this is happening and what can be done to prevent it from occurring again.

Malware is any software intentionally designed to cause damage or do other unwanted actions to a computer system. Some examples are Trojan horses, viruses or worms. Most schools are using cloud technology and applications since most schools offer laptops, tablets or computers for students. With these applications being used frequently in student’s curriculum, they need to be secured. This brings the problem of low budgets and no funding. All that data that is now stored in the cloud within these applications is left vulnerable: easy pickings for hackers to steal and commit identity theft, fraud, or hold hostage for a ransom.

Another problem with technology being used daily in schools, is the lack of education on computer safety. Teach your employees and students on how to avoid these attacks such as not opening suspicious emails that contain attachments or have links. It is important to continuously update your software instead of letting it get outdated and easier to infiltrate. Another way the schools can protect their data is to regularly back up their system, whether to an external drive or cloud-based services. You need to have all that information on hand in case your server is compromised and held for ransom.

A local school district near me was recently hacked because someone opened an email that had malware in it. This resulted in the school’s servers being held hostage. Teachers could not access their work computers which held everything since the school went paperless a few years back. With no backups, they are left with nothing until the FBI and Homeland Security either recover some of the data or the district pays the ransom in the hopes that the hacker unlocks the data they encrypted. The government is advising against paying off these hackers so that they can investigate and try to track them down, but many districts have paid the price to be able to get their systems back and running.

I find it fitting that this month (October) is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. All it takes to protect yourself from these attacks is educating yourself and your team. There are more options then the ones I mentioned above to help prevent your company or school district from getting into this situation. The common thought of ‘It won’t happen to us’ now must become “It will happen to us if we don’t prepare”.

 

 

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The Importance of Event-Driven Development in 2019 and Beyond

Earlier this year I attended the Kafka Summit 2019 conference in New York. As a growing Software Engineer and lifelong techie who absolutely loves writing code and building cool things, especially in Node (a runtime environment for JavaScript code on a server outside the browser), this was like being a child stepping in a toy store for me. As cliché or nerdy as that may sound…it’s true.

During one of the first few talks of that morning, there was one thing that was made abundantly clear to every attendee in the audience.

“The Future is in Event-Driven Development…”

But what does this actually mean? Is it simply yet another buzzword in the world of tech? Short Answer? No. Let me explain…

We live in an era of unprecedented technological progress. Just by grabbing our phones, we’re only a few taps of the thumb away from accessing literally anything we could ask for. From ordering groceries, to getting a quick ride to a destination, to sending money to friends and even planning out an entire vacation! You know the drill. Book your flights on Google Flights or Expedia or whomever has the cheapest airfare (after clearing your browser cookies and cache of course), land a cool spot to stay on Airbnb, Lyft or Uber to get to your Airbnb only to discover that now you need food, so why not open up the Grubhub app and check out what’s around to eat, right?

Many people don’t realize that behind the curtain, this stuff works because of Event-Driven Development. The ability to quickly capture, analyze and asynchronously handle the response to any action the end user takes is what power’s many widely used mobile and web applications today.

This is what Node is known for. Node is also my biggest focus and my server-side technology of choice when it comes to building many things such as Microservices and APIs. But how does all of this work? Why is it that Node.js shines in the ‘Event-Driven Development’ paradigm?

Node.js is ‘non-blocking’

A non-blocking I/O (input/output) basically means that any given process will not block subsequent processes from running when it is completing I/O operations. Multiple I/O operations can run in parallel with one another, all with their own individual callback functions to invoke once they’ve completed their tasks.

Node.js makes use of the ‘Event Loop’

The Event Loop in Node is, in a nutshell, a single thread within a process that is solely focused on detecting and handling events until those events have been handled appropriately.

Node.js becomes more powerful when clustered correctly

When you take a non-blocking I/O along with the Event Loop, which is single threaded in nature, and spawn ‘multiple threads’ from that via clustering, it starts to make sense why Node shines in what it can do and what it is capable of as it pertains to Event-Driven Development.

So… enough with the technical talk…at this point, you might have one big looming question…

Why is any of this important and what does this have to do with Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery? The answer is simple.

Let me give an example. Say you’re the owner of a large company with multiple offices spread across the country. Each office has their own employee headcount. You receive news that a hurricane is coming straight towards various states including 10 of your office locations. Your first instinct is to reach out to the multiple teams at various locations as quickly as humanly possible, right? This is where Event-Driven Architectures solve a huge problem – and that’s only one example. There are so many more examples where having the right data, in real-time, would be beneficial for so many businesses.

Event-Driven Development and architectures built around this paradigm are important to businesses where real-time flow of information and situational awareness is required of the digital solutions and applications they seek out and use. Event-Driven Development is a paradigm that is dedicated to meet the need for flexibility and adaptation to changes in systems everywhere.

It is the bread and butter of what makes Node so fun to work with, personally. If you ask me, I’ll choose building microservices over a monolith any day of the week. This paradigm is one that helps to make applications more efficient in how it runs and effective at what it does. It is the direction that so many companies have moved in for so long already and will continue to sweep across the world of tech and software development.

Upon leaving the conference and heading back home, I realized one thing…

I’ve learned so much since I first started my journey as a developer and I’ll always have more to learn as well! That’s an exciting thing for me. As they say, we are all always junior developers, whether you have one year or twenty under your belt. We are all always learning and getting better at what we do and what we build.

Check out this video if you want to learn more about distributed systems, microservices, event driven development, how it compares to monolith applications and the benefits/drawbacks of all these things.

BC & Big Data: Beyond Resiliency

BC & Big Data: Beyond Resiliency

Sometimes the hardest part of running a business continuity program is engaging your internal partners during the planning phase. At any industry meeting, you are likely to find yourself in a discussion about the trials and tribulations of a business continuity program.  Do you find getting plan updates and approvals in a timely manner is like pulling teeth? Are you banging your head against a brick wall trying to engage the right individuals? Ever accommodate a partner by putting off meetings or a review cycle so often that you think pigs may actually fly first?

Internal partners sometimes put the business continuity review process just slightly above a day waiting in line at the DMV because they do not see the value in their day-to-day operations. Certainly, everyone is engaged during incidents. It is navigating the planning phase that can be a challenge. We all sympathize to the competing priorities and tasks that our colleagues juggle every day. We try to accommodate their schedules and minimize the impact to their busy schedules. We implement solutions that make the review and approval process virtually painless. And, we make training and exercising concise, engaging, and fun! While these strategies demonstrate that we will make effective and efficient use of their valuable time, it still is not demonstrating the value of the business continuity program to the bigger picture.

What other program prioritizes processes across the entire organization and identifies what it needs to operate? Business Continuity is the big data of an organization. This data is valuable for mergers and acquisitions, organizational management, and resource management.  During mergers and acquisitions, a change management team sends out surveys to gather information to assist in aligning the companies. Much of the data requested is data that Business Continuity programs already have vetted and approved. This same data is valuable to organizational management and resource management teams that are reviewing processes and dependent resources across the organization. There are significant cost saving opportunities to be realized when consolidating redundant IT applications. When engaging internal partners, be open to adding data attributes or use cases such as physical security assessments or vendor assessment to your business continuity software to assist them.

Learn how to champion the value of your data in the day-to-day operations by engaging your internal partners and your program may overcome the trials and tribulations of the planning phase.