Thursday, January 18, 2007

Small Business Continuity Gets a Boost: IMCD from ContingenZ

What if you could buy a large amount of expert advice on how to keep your business running despite everything that fate throws at you? Want to learn how? Read on...

Everyone knows that small businesses are the true powerhouse of free market economies, whether in the US, the UK, the EU, or beyond. Most people also know that the failure rate of small businesses is very high. What a lot of people don't realize is that many of those failures could be avoided if only small businesses did a little more advanced planning. This fact gets lost in the seemingly endless array of factors that adversely impact small businesses: fire, flood, wind damage, snow days, power outage, earthquake, employee theft, virus outbreaks (biological and digital), hacking, abrupt departure of key employee(s), prolonged office evacuation due to nearby toxic spill, over-eager customer driving through the front window and mowing down the file server, unexpected incarceration of treasurer, public relations snafus. All of these happen and it is hard to predict when (you don't have to believe if global warming to know that the weather has been mighty unpredictable and frequently severe in recent years).

But all of these things have something in common: they are incidents, and incidents can be managed. Hence the art and science of Incident Management. One of the finest practitioners of this art is my friend Michael Miora who started a company called ContingenZ. The idea was that he couldn't be in two places at once and there just aren't enough incident management experts to go around meaning that smaller businesses couldn't afford to hire one. So why not distill his expertise into a piece of software that any business owner or manager can use to create an incident management plan and business continuity strateg precisly tailored to the specific needs of the company?

And that is what Michael Miora has done, working with someone I also know quite well, Mike Cobb. Both Mike and Michael are CISSPs with a ton of experience in business management and data security. The product they came up with, IMCD, is now available in two versions. The more expensive Pro version is suitable for larger companies (and some very large companies are using it right now). The brand new and considerably less expensive Small Business Edition is ideal for small firms. What is more, businesses large and small can download a trial copy of IMCD to check it out.

This is a product that could literally save your business and it may well make you a ton of money even if--fingers crossed--you never have a single incident to deal with. How? Consider what happened to one of IMCD's first customers, a small firm specializing in shipping antiques that was in the running to get a big fat contract from a major shipping company. Like many big companies establishing new vendors, this one was doing due diligence. Did the small company have a business continuity plan? Yes, replied the small company. Can we see it? asked the big company. Umm, yes, well, it is sort of...informal, replied the small company. No formal plan, no big contract. And so the small company used IMCD to formally document its business continuity plan in a complete set of highly professional documents automatically generated by the software.

Result, the company that bought IMCD got the contract. And should anything ever happen to disrupt their business they are well placed to "keep on trucking." Scobb says "Check it out!"

[Disclaimer: I don't own stock in this company. Even if you buy a zillion licenses to IMCD I won't get a single penny. On the other hand you will make two of my friends very happy.]

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