Image by Benjamin Elliott

OPERATIONAL RESILIENCE

Given a system, uncover vulnerabilities. Suggest mitigations

 
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OPERATIONS RESILIENCE ANALYSIS FRAMEWORK

Operations Resilience Analysis Framework is a unique suite of resilience solution, a unique tool to analyse, develop, and communicate resilience. System can be modelled using the resilience notations, and the journey of modelling the system is most valuable as it deepens the way the system resilience is superficially understood. Thereafter it is used to analyse hidden vulnerabilities, simulate mitigations, and analyse impact propagation. It offers a single picture for clarity and language to manage the latent inert dimensions of resilience in organizations.

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EXCELLENCE IN RESILIENCE

Our approach to operational resilience is preventive. C3S advocates zero tolerance for disruptions.

We leave no stone unexplored, even if seemingly unimportant. This seemingly unimportant stone, as ICT adopts the characteristics of a complex system, may be the cause of an unexplained major disruption.

Our philosophy is to enhance resilience by systematically discovering and removing vulnerabilities in the design, not by adding resilience. Simplifying, not adding complexity to the system. This enhancement can be proactively conducted before any disruptive event.

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RESILIENCE AS CONTINUOUS CYCLES

The Resilience Lifecycle revolve around the Actual Event (red box), defined as the unexpected incident that threatens the proper continuation of the business operations. The objective of a good resilience design is to reduce the possibility of the Actual Event, and if that is not exhaustively possible, then a system of recovery operations that allow the components affected by the Event to be recovered gracefully without disrupting the business processes.

For known vulnerabilities in the system that cannot be removed easily, these are represented by the Potential Event box, and often they are contained by proper mitigating actions. Some known vulnerabilities can also be extracted from others who have a similar system, and that can enrich the Potential Event box.

The Unknown Event is the most uncertain domain in the Lifecycle, as they are not yet known but likely to exist. They are the deadliest Event if it ever occurs, they usually catch the organisation by surprise at the wrong time.  As it has never been studied or analysed, the initial shell shock with a high degree of uncertainty can set back the recovery process in an unexpected dimension.

Operations Resilience Analysis Framework is used to mine some of the Unknown Events to become the new box known as Virtual Event. The Virtual Event can then be tested and be confirmed as a Potential event or dismissed totally as a vulnerability, hence reducing the list of uncertain vulnerabilities in the Unknown Event box.

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ENHANCE RESILIENCE BY UNCOVERING THE LESS KNOWN

For known vulnerabilities in the system that cannot be removed easily, these are represented by the Potential Event box, and often they are contained by proper mitigating actions. Some known vulnerabilities can also be extracted from others who have a similar system, and that can enrich the Potential Event box.

The Unknown Event is the most uncertain domain in the Lifecycle, as they are not yet known but likely to exist. They are the deadliest Event if it ever occurs, they usually catch the organisation by surprise at the wrong time.  As it has never been studied or analysed, the initial shell shock with a high degree of uncertainty can set back the recovery process in an unexpected dimension.

Operations Resilience Analysis Framework is used to mine some of the Unknown Events to become the new box known as Virtual Event. The Virtual Event can then be tested and be confirmed as a Potential event or dismissed totally as a vulnerability, hence reducing the list of uncertain vulnerabilities in the Unknown Event box.

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EMARFER ONTOLOGICAL FRAME

The EMARFER Ontological Frame, comprising of seven interdependent conceptual layers, is designed to assist in reframing the assumed knowns, and systematically de-conceptualises the outcome in order to uncover the unaware unknowns.  This fixed dependency context in each of the layers forces the users out of their mental comfort zone beyond the aware-knowns into the unaware-unknowns domain.

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A LANGUAGE FOR RESILIENCE

We realised when we started on our journey to resilience, the stumbling obstacle we faced then was a lack of industrial language and vocabulary to communicate such an inert concept amongst all the stakeholders. Therefore, we developed our Resilience Notation to address this deficiency.


Resilience Notation defines a set of primitives that are simple but essential in describing the resilient characteristics of a system. 


There are seven layers of interdependencies in the notation. Failure in any active node must be responded by a new working path that has been established and tested. Failing which the system will not be able to continue its intended operation.


Once the system is represented in this notation, the resilience features of the system is clearly denoted by the appropriate symbols.  With this, we can fully understand the working of the resilience design and possible vulnerability of the design.  


As the notation is largely pictorial and does not contain any form of textual technical jargon, a system represented in this form can be used by a technical person for analysis to a non-technical person in the management level to understand the system behaviour.  The simplicity of the representation is by no means compromise on any resilience description of the system and able to maintain the context of the resilience design throughout.

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MODELLING RESILIENCE

To fully analyse the resilience of a system, two orthogonal aspects of the system dependency must be established.  


The Resilience Topology, that represents the flow, processes, and connectivity of the system.  And the Dependency Network that represents all the dependencies of each entity to support the topology. 

The Resilience Topology is constructed using the Resilience Notation which allows the actual design and configuration of a system to be modelled. Functional nodes are conceptually decomposed down to the resolution where the fault recovery mechanism can be represented. The Resilience Topology captures the way the resilience design will respond to the different faults that may occur in the system.

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DEPENDENCY NETWORK

Knowing how faults are handled in the resilience design is not enough to analyse the full vulnerability of the system, we have to trace the dependency all the way to the possible fault points that can cause a fault.  And this is done by analysing the node by using EMARFER Ontological Frame to obtain the Dependency Network. By repeating this process recursively, the resolution of the node gets finer and at some point, we could see the probable fault point. An important point to note here is that the use of EMARFER Ontological Frame in this process is for the purpose of exploring the less known fault points, and force the analysis away from mindset and assumption of the known.

ENHANCING THE OPERATIONAL RESILIENCE OF YOUR SYSTEM

We believe that true resilience knowledge is inherent within the people in your organisation. Through our immersive EMARFER Sessions, we facilitate your staff to take a deep dive into the resilience of the system, exploring and reframing into less known or less considered perspectives and dependencies. The vulnerabilities found are, but a by-product compared to the understanding and insight gained by your staff into the system. At the same time, they learn to apply our resilience methodology in your organisation.

The platform for entire Operations Resilience Analysis is our EMARFER Application Software as a tool for visualisation, documentation, simulation and EMARFER Sessions.

The main steps in a typical Operations Resilience Analysis engagement are:

  1. Construct Resilience Topology Diagram for the System to model the design and configuration of the system capturing how the system reacts to faults

  2. Construct Dependency Networks for Operations Design Vulnerabilities

  3. Analyse the constructed Dependency Networks to discover and report on the Operations Design vulnerabilities by tracing all the possible fault points. 

  4. Analyse the Operations Design Vulnerabilities found and where practical provide a high-level recommendation to mitigate or rectify the risk.

The systematic Operations Resilience Analysis Framework, explores the less known and less considered perspectives, morphs the mental model of knowledge about the system, breaks up comfortable mindset, leads to innovations rather than stagnated evolution, is a key benefit in this methodology.