Goodwill Industries International

Goodwill’s Disaster Recovery Plan Integrates Departmental Activities and Facilitates Government Compliance

Attainium provided consulting and project management services, plus best practices to guide Goodwill's plan development process

When Goodwill Industries International, Inc. set out to develop a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plan, the organization sought the assistance of Attainium Corp for its expertise and knowledge of industry best practices. Attainium provided project management and plan development assistance to help Goodwill International reach its goal - a plan that addresses all its business continuity needs and enables the organization to more easily comply with SOX, HIPAA and other regulations.

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Say "Goodwill" and everyone immediately thinks of a place to drop off used clothing and furniture items. In reality, Goodwill Industries International, Inc. is an association of some 205 independent, community-based member organizations worldwide that provide education, job training and other career services to thousands of individuals. Its retail stores generate more than $1.5 billion to support its career programs. Goodwill's senior management - and 100+ staff at the association office - daily handle many mission-critical services for the member groups under its umbrella.

A year or so ago, Goodwill International decided it did not have the internal resources to create a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. "We had a lot of expertise, but we needed someone to guide us through the process to ensure we would focus on it in a timely manner and coordinate the efforts from many parts of the organization," said Steve Bergman, chief information officer for Goodwill Industries International, Inc.

"As a large international organization, Goodwill is required to comply with regulations such as SOX and HIPAA," Bergman said, "and it all came back to having a proper business continuity and disaster recovery plan.

"We didn't have a template for the plan," Bergman said, "but we knew what had to go into it and that it required precise methodology. We felt that Attainium Corp. would bring not only the planning experience and knowledge of best practices, but an outside perspective that would ensure the effort wouldn't get sidetracked."

"Attainium brought a methodology for compiling the elements of a DR plan from which we were able to work," said Linda Chandler, Goodwill International's VP for Operations. "We had pieces of DR plans for IT and operations, but we had never pulled them all together into an organizational plan… we had gaps. Attainium identified what was missing, prodded us to complete the work, and put the results into a comprehensive, referenceable document for the headquarters staff.

"We had never done any real testing of any parts of disaster recovery plans except for evacuation plans," Chandler said. "We'd never tested what would happen if we shut down the technology, phones, etc., but that's something we'll be doing now."

Lucy Tannozzini, Goodwill International's HR director and chair of the safety committee, said that the process of plan development was fairly painless. "The greatest benefit of working with Attainium was that they provided us with the framework, information on how that plan should be laid out and ongoing assistance on what areas needed additional definition. They also were able to help us determine what potential disasters we could face."

According to VP Chandler, Goodwill International's "safety committee is working on plans for testing the plan, after which we will be able to properly communicate it throughout the organization and make sure people know what to do in the event of any business disruption."

"Goodwill International was in the same position in which many organizations find themselves," said Bob Mellinger, Attainium president and CEO. "They had done some planning in several areas but never had the resources to integrate all the pieces, and then take the high-level view needed to determine when and whether it was complete. The fact that they are now preparing to take the next critical step - testing the plan and training their workers in using it - will enable them to respond quickly and positively to unexpected events. Attainium encourages all organizations to test their plans, train their workers, and keep the plans updated through annual or biannual reviews, as plans quickly can go out of date and become useless without this ongoing activity."

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