04 October 2004

Continuity of Business: Hurricanes Lessons Learned

As the estimates come in from the losses from Florida hurricanes it looks like it will exceed $22 Billion.

The total economic impact is yet to be realized as this estimate is only the insurance claim payments estimate. Now that business has a better perspective on what being prepared really means, we should see some interesting Business Crisis and Continuity Management lessons learned here.

For example, how many organizations had their contracts in place with the diesel fuel supplier to replenish their back up generators after several days? Most prudent continuity planners would have such supplier arrangements already in place. However, if the supplier can't get to the business or their own plans have been disrupted then even the most well written contract will not hold up in the face of what happened over the course of a few weeks in Florida.

More importantly, the topic of outsourcing and redundant data centers continues to be a top strategic subject among COO's and CIO's as the operational risk events continue to surprise us. Let's just make sure that we take the time to exercise those plans and contingencies so that we go far beyond the contracts and actually test, learn and adapt.

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