At Box, Renuka Darbha is responsible for the Enterprise Risk Management & Business Resiliency programs. This includes Corporate Crisis Management, Business Continuity, Emergency Management, and Disaster Recovery Program leveraging industry best practices and standards.
I joined Box about four and a half years ago with the intent of building out a simplistic business continuity program. But as soon as I got here, it was clear this organization had to think above and beyond your typical business continuity, check-the-box activity. I developed the business continuity program from the ground up, and since then, it’s developed into this mature process that now includes emergency management, crisis management, and disaster recovery.
We went from the crawl, to walk, to run phases pretty quickly, especially as we had to keep up with changing technology, customer requirements, and, of course, laws and regulations. We didn’t have much breathing room to take the time and think about what specific areas of business continuity management we need to focus on, which had its advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you’re given too many options, you run the risk of going down a rabbit hole. Too many people weighing in on program do’s and don’ts can you lead you to nowhere. Both of these can stop you from having a really good, easily understood program.
In an environment with quick decision making, you have to be able to shift at any given moment and restructure. That not only keeps things exciting for me personally but also for our employees and our leadership. Having a program that is not just sticking to what’s in the box and being able to be creative and think differently is what attracted them to this process.
The level that this program went to in a short amount of time is phenomenal to me. I say that because I’ve been at various companies and a lot of them were very rigid. They didn’t offer much room for free form thinking. Here, if you fail, that’s okay. Just move on, and try something new. They encourage that, and with that kind of environment, you really can do quite a lot. So not only was I able to fully build out the business continuity management program, but also even the individual competencies like emergency management, crisis, and disaster recovery. Those are huge programs in themselves, and that takes a lot of good structure, framework, and planning.
Being able to do that in a high-pace environment, and seeing it be successful, is fantastic! And not to mention, I am responsible for enterprise risk management, which has received the traction and visibility it needed. We have a really good rapport with our audit committee, which I am very proud of because it gives us the ability to speak about concerns openly within our organization.
The biggest buzzword right now is AI. That’s something that’s huge – not only with us but also in the industry. A lot of high-tech companies are implementing machine learning AI capabilities in everything. That is something we’re also trying to stay ahead of. There is a lot happening in that space, and we are trying to get creative on how we are going to approach that. I think for many it’s a black hole, to be honest because you just don’t know what is there, and you don’t know where it will end. All you do know is that it exists, and it’s going to happen.
A good example would be GDPR. When I first started here, privacy was always a big concern, especially in our European market, but there was never really anything anyone could do to address it. But once GDPR started to come to light, we were actually pretty quick in adjusting, and not only from a business continuity management mindset but also the way we approached data protection within the organization. There are so many things we just take for granted if we don’t have these laws in place, so we had to quickly pivot around how we were approaching security and data. That was a really big one that impacted the business continuity management program, our organization and what we do as a business.
Brexit is another area we will need to quickly adjust for. As a whole, we’ve come to a really good time in our processes where we’ll be able to address this. If we are not ahead of it and paying attention to key risk factors, it could go very differently.
I really enjoy this industry for many reasons, but the biggest one is that it is constantly changing. When I first started right out of undergrad, I joined Motorola. At the time, they hired me for a specific role, but then quickly asked me to focus on something completely new to me, disaster recovery. They hand-picked a bunch of us (fresh graduates) to learn about disaster recovery and build it out in our organization. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what disaster recovery truly was, but as I learned more about it, I found it to be very intriguing.
Network with other practitioners in the industry. That’s the key. Those opportunities exist if you go to conferences and participate in your local professional groups or organizations. But honestly, the past couple years that we have been participating with the Fusion regional user groups: that has been very beneficial! The RUGs are really driving (not just the software we are using) us to understand how other industries are approaching the same problems that we are dealing with. These types of opportunities to meet in general are so valuable, and the good thing is we all understand how valuable it is so we take advantage of those sessions. It’s really about getting yourself out there, spreading your story. When you do that people will chime in and that’s when you have those great conversations.
I really love to cook. I invent my own recipes. Cooking is my outlet. I love to do it when I am having a bad day and it just lifts me up!
To learn more about Renuka and Box, check out our customer success story.