1. What is the CASSANDRA Approach?
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) require a practical approach for acquiring necessary knowledge in the areas of resilience and risk management and for applying this knowledge directly without distractions. This should be both cost-effective and as quick as possible.
It is to this end that the CASSANDRA Approach has been developed. It offers professional support to fundamentally improve the resilience of SMEs against risks and threats. The CASSANDRA Approach includes a Quick Check tool, a Guide and an Online Course. These three products are available online free of charge and are simply structured, practical, intelligibly written and tailored to the specific needs of SMEs.
The CASSANDRA Approach shows you what to do when you want to manage the risks in your company actively.
2. How is the CASSANDRA Approach structured?
The CASSANDRA Approach is a cyclical method composed of 7 sequential steps: Initial Preparation; Understanding Your Risk Environment; Identifying Your Risks; Prioritising Your Risks; Treating Your Risks; Implementing Measures; Monitoring and Reviewing. The CASSANDRA tools “Guide” and “Online Course” both strictly follow this structure.
3. What information is provided by the various CASSANDRA tools?
The CASSANDRA tools provide you with a step-by-step process that is enhanced by relevant examples of typical business risks and incidents and the way in which these can be treated to improve your company’s resilience. Yet, the added value of CASSANDRA rather lies in the method transmitted to users so that they themselves will be able to identify and treat these risks and incidents by themselves. High-quality templates are also provided to users, in support of these processes.
4. What is ‘Business Resilience’?
Business resilience is the adaptive capability of a company to control its exposure to risks and threats; to prepare for and be able to recover successfully from mistakes, disasters and crises; and to respond effectively to negative and positive incidents, environmental changes and new opportunities.
5. Is there a difference between Risk Management and Continuity Management?
To simplify, Risk Management deals with uncertain events (negative or positive) that may become a reality in the future; whereas Business Continuity Management deals with disruptive incidents once they occur. A “resilient company” is able to simultaneously manage its risks and its incidents.
6. How will the CASSANDRA tools help me raise the business resilience of my company?
The CASSANDRA Approach has for goal to familiarise the users with risk theory, the principles of business continuity, and related areas such as ‘information security’. Through this method, companies will be better prepared to deal with risks and incidents that may disrupt their business activities.
7. Is it completely free to use the CASSANDRA tools?
Yes. The CASSANDRA tools are totally free of charge and ad-free, as the development of the self-assessment tool was supported within the EU programme Erasmus+.
8. For what kind of organisation are the CASSANDRA tools intended?
The CASSANDRA tools have been designed for use by SMEs, especially micro-sized companies, of the business services sector. It targets firms providing services to other firms, such as legal services; accounting, auditing and fiscal services; advertising and marketing services; business and management consultancy services; office-support services (e.g. translation, mailing, etc.); recruitment services; security services; graphic design and printing services; other services (e.g. event services, photographic services, facilities management services, coaching services, archiving services).
But! The use is NOT limited to this group. Anyone working for an SME from other sectors, students, apprentices, teachers or professionals of Risk Management, Business Continuity and Information Security can also use the CASSANDRA products.
For example: the Online Course is also suitable for VET schools, especially for business administration students. The course can integrate existing ‘blended learning’ curricula in support of courses delivered in classrooms. It can also instruct students who run work-based school projects as part of their curriculum.
9. Who should specifically use the CASSANDRA tools in my company?
Owners, managers and employees with vital or key responsibilities for their SMEs are the most suitable readers of the CASSANDRA Guide and/or learners in the CASSANDRA Online Course. Nonetheless, other individuals can freely use these tools.
As soon as the CASSANDRA tools are being used for the concrete risk analysis and the improvement of the business resilience in a business, we recommend to actively involve as many employees as possible.
10. Are the CASSANDRA tools suitable for a work-based learning approach?
Absolutely. The Online Course illustrates this approach. It is composed of three parts: ’Read it!’ (lessons), ‘Practise it!’ (exercises) and ‘Use it!’ (implementation in the workplace). Whereas the first two parts are suitable for any user, the third part is an additional part specifically thought for learners who are also owners, managers or employees of small and medium-size companies. Besides, the entire course is sequentially divided, allowing these learners to easily interrupt and continue at a later date.
11. How should I prepare for the CASSANDRA Approach and which documents should I have to hand?
For most users no preparation is necessary. The CASSANDRA Approach can be learnt and followed without any previous knowledge. For a successful implementation in a company, it is necessary that you understand the specific company operations well, interact with its stakeholders and follow the CASSANDRA steps to deal with risk/incident analysis and treatment measures. You will need some key information about the company, such as its list of technology assets, its key suppliers, current insurance coverage, list of employees and staff competences, etc.
12. As a consultant, can I use the CASSANDRA tools to carry out an intervention at companies?
13. Is external support required for the implementation of a business resilience project in my company?
It depends. The CASSANDRA tools have been conceived in a way that small and medium-size companies with few or no experience in the business resilience disciplines can grow their knowledge and improve their practices without external support. The CASSANDRA authors hold indeed for principle that business resilience knowledge and tools should be barrier-free for its final users. However, SMEs may make use of consultants and risk management professionals to help them in their business resilience projects if they feel the need and can afford the cost. For example, it might be easier for external consultants to address taboos in the company and identified underlying risks or sensitive issues that employees would otherwise not raise by themselves. Consultants may also bring valuable decision-making support when selecting appropriate risk treatment measures. Another reason for hiring a consultant might be the technical background required to understand and work with some risks, e.g. information technology and information security risks. Finally, external support can help to advance the business resilience project in a company, so that it does not fall from the agenda because of other priorities in the day-to-day operations.
14. How are confidential dealings with my data ensured?
Please note: The ‘Use it!’ part of the Online Course implies that you collect some sensitive information about your company, but none of these data will be at any time uploaded or entered in the Course platform. You will download some documents but never upload. The CASSANDRA Quick Check is by essence a tool which requires to answer personal questions on your company (or a third company). The Quick Check does not require any email, company name or personal name. Therefore, the use of the Quick Check is anonymous.
15. How long does it take to go through the CASSANDRA tools?
The three CASSANDRA tools require different amounts of time. The CASSANDRA Quick Check is a tool that can be browsed in 2 to 10 minutes in average. The CASSANDRA Guide is the central piece of work of the project. Its 173 pages can be read transversally or completely, depending on the time you have available. As for the CASSANDRA Online Course, you will need fifteen to eighteen hours to work through the lessons and complete all the exercises. This estimate does not include the time required to apply the knowledge gained, in your workplace. This is a process over weeks or months, and open-end.
The time required is a valuable investment. Your business will be better prepared for the future and while doing this intense work, many ideas will come up that will open new opportunities on the market for you.
16. Can I use the CASSANDRA tools separately?
Absolutely. The Quick Check, Guide and Online Course can be used independently from each other. Note: The Online Course is conceived in a way that the Guide also plays the role of reference book for learners.
17. In which order should I use the CASSANDRA tools?
The quickest and easiest CASSANDRA-entry is the Quick Check. Within a short period of time you will receive a first feedback about your current risk situation. If you are already certain to find out more about your Business Resilience, you can start immediately to work with the Guide and / or be guided step by step through the CASSANDRA method in the Online Course.
18. Can I interrupt the Online Course and continue with it later on?
Yes, the whole Online Training is structured in a way that allows easily interrupting and continuing with it any time later. The system shows you which learning steps you have already completed. If you haven’t used the CASSANDRA tool for more than 12 months, we reserve the right to delete your account. Of course you can create a new account at any time.
19. Why do I need to set up an account to access the CASSANDRA Guide and Online Course?
Setting up an account on our platform makes it possible for you to save your progress and continue the Online Course at a later date. Because the Guide plays the role of reference book in the Online Course, the account is required and valid to use both tools. No account is required to use the Quick Check.
20. What are the standards behind the CASSANDRA Approach and tools?
Please read the section Standards of this website.
21. Who has developed the CASSANDRA Approach and tools?
The CASSANDRA Approach is a creation of six project partners from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece and Italy. The Partnership has a balanced mix of partners either competent in Business Resilience or/and representing the future users (SMEs) or/and experienced in education and IT products. Whatever their role in the project, they all share the common vision of making Business Resilience disciplines known, accessible and affordable for virtually all small and micro-sized companies.
If you want to find out more about who is behind CASSANDRA, please read the section Partners of this website.
22. Who can I contact if I experience technical difficulties whilst using the CASSANDRA tools?
If you experience technical difficulties, please let emcra GmbH know through the Contact Form.