As the one year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy that rocked the Greater NY/NJ area last year passes, many articles have been written, but not much has changed.
83% of Organizations Lack a Business Continuity Plan 1 Year After Hurricane Sandy. But then most people (A) don't think it can happen to them; (B) didn't learn from 9/11 and Katrina either (including our government and FEMA); and (C) people generally do not think climate change is real.
You aren't alone as a business owner or exec for not doing anything. "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced action to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of 911 communication network during major disasters. Widespread outages and disruptions to 911 services in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions impacted more than 3.6 million people," writes Appy Geek. And this after an extensive study of 911 comms after both 9/11 AND Katrina. We study it, but don't execute on the improvements. What does that say?
Why do you need a disaster recovery plan or business continuity planning? Because when your customer files get destroyed by water and wind, what is left of your business? Not much.
"Hurricanes are, at minimum, a triple threat, and can damage lives and property through rainfall, through storm surge, and due to their powerful winds," writes Mother Jones. "Sandy is just the beginning."
First tip for Disaster Preparedness: Expect the Unexpected. Ever data centers - designed to withstand hurricanes - couldn't prepare for the flooding caused by storm surges on Oct. 29, 2012. (See stories at DCK).
These 19 Shocking Images Show Hurricane Sandy's Devastating Impact On The Northeast. A year later with a federal budget of almost $10 billion dollars and most areas are not yet recovered. A year! Could your business survive a year of uncertainty?
Interesting Businessweek headline: "Main Street Isn't Investing Much in Post-Sandy Upgrades". Could it be that the insurance money hasn't come in yet? Or as Businesweek writes: "Following Hurricane Sandy's more than $50 billion in damages (pdf) to U.S. businesses, homes, and public infrastructure, more business might be expected to follow suit. But the scale of the problems are often too big for business owners and require government planning."
At any rate, as a business owner or top executive, you have to do some planning in case this happens again. At the very least, backup as much customer and business critical data as possible offsite and far away.
Next put a communications plan in place. The Red Cross used twitter. The NJ 911 center used Five9. Let people know how to contact the execs in the case of an emergency.
The federal government has business continuity planning guides. A really good telecom consultant can help you design a BC plan. Every plane ride you listen to the safety instructions despite how few crashes there are. Every hotel room has a fire escape route map on the door. In school, we had fire drills. There is nothing wrong with planning for a disaster. You may in fact learn a few things while in the planning stages.
tw telecom fared pretty well during the storm, but even twt took lessons away. "being aware of where our equipment is being placed in buildings, how best to bring fuel into the city in the case of a disaster, and ideas on even better preparing for the next time; getting to that next level. Because, as much as we don't like to think about it, an event like this will happen again."
Finally, a good read about the aftermath and resettlement.