Disaster Management: Plan Ahead
Sometimes after a meeting or a difficult interaction we think, “What a disaster!” Sadly, there have been many recent disasters, real ones, that have put families, businesses and communities at risk or out of commission. Most people avoid the topic of disaster planning like the plague — but it’s the plague that might be coming.
An AT&T survey on disaster planning found that, on average, more than 30 percent of U.S. companies have no disaster recovery plan at all. What’s more, of the companies surveyed, more than 20 percent have neither updated nor tested their plans during the previous year, and more than 15 percent never tested their plans at all.
If the unthinkable or the unanticipated happens to a catalog business, whether a tornado takes off your roof or a back hoe clips your power line, how will you manage your staff, your facilities and your data to maintain essential business activities? Will your employees be able to show up for work? Will you be able to deliver product? If you intend to stay in business, it’s almost as important to plan for the recovery and continuity of your business as it is to survive the original crisis.
Even companies that recognize the need for disaster and continuity planning often aren’t energized about the subject until something goes wrong. Don Rogers, vice president of operations for Chicago-based gadgets cataloger Hammacher Schlemmer, describes his big wake-up call.
“Our mainframe is in Ohio,” he says, “and we had what we thought was a power outage. Somehow the main breakers got cut over a weekend. Our generator, which runs on propane with a natural gas line to back it up, ran out and the gas line failed. So we were out of business. After that, we said, ‘We have to get more serious about this.’”