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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

Advanced Business Resiliency at MIT

I try to impress upon small businesses that business continuity is an important field, one they are left out of for no good reason. I make it my mission to help them so they aren’t left behind, so they don’t have to fire employees, so they don’t have to close, and so they don’t have to leave a hole in the community they once served. There aren’t many of me (even amongst small business consultants, my background is very unique), but I am doing what I can to share my gift with those who deserve it, to include educating myself more within my industry from some of the best out there.


The last week of June, MIT held its Advanced Business Resiliency Professional Short Course. It is designed for people who are in the field and attended the preliminary course – Crisis Management and Business Resilience – previously. This go, the majority of the class lecture topics were chosen in advance based on the student input. So a course designed for us by us.

 

I was the only professional representing (and in) the small business space. Everyone else works for companies you’ve heard of (Sony, Warner Bros), hospitals (the only one for the entire island of Bermuda), tech companies (Cisco, Stripe), tools of the trade (OnSolve), financial institutions (USAA), the federal government (The US House of Representatives) and more from 8 countries. That is another distinction: everyone works for an entity that has an in-house department that values business continuity, I was the only consultant running her own business for the benefit of other businesses.

 

There were some truly fascinating lectures about the do’s and don’ts of AI in business resilience. I was already firmly in the “don’t” category but it was nice to see experts talk about it on a deeper level to add credence to my position. One on ransomware statistics was riveting (by companies self-reporting anonymously to a survey to assist the practice of cybersecurity). We had an in-class crash cyber-incident exercise where we worked in teams for our real-time simulated response (you know how much I feel there is value in that with my Lunchtime Game Night Snack Attack monthly live web events!). There were lectures on mental health for business continuity and crisis management practitioners, third party resilience programs (making sure the third parties you deal with are resilient), and how much business continuity is emphasized across the globe for small businesses by organizations like the UN, NATO, foreign governments, and two different departments of the US government. Guess who delivered that lecture. 😊


Something that was present more in this version of the course than the basic version was the discussions in class about what we are seeing in the industry regarding trends and sharing best practices. There are invaluable lessons when you get so many professionals together with different perspectives – they all learned from me, too. Yes, even Warner Bros learned something from me.




 

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