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Be Ready...

posted by Greg Fyn

Feb 19

I hate using statistics in the first sentences of an article because usually they are pretty boring; but these statistics bear repeating. According to the Department of Homeland Security, forty percent of businesses that are affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never re-open; yet a in a recent survey nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they had no disaster plan.

Why is it that so few have taken the steps of "stacking the deck" in their favor by creating a plan for business continuity in the wake of some catastrophic event? In reading around the web on the topic, some have stated that it's probably apathy. This might be the case for a few; but I don't think this is really true because the vast majority of businesses and government entities have taken out some types of insurance to help mitigate the costs of certain perils. I think the answer to this question is two-fold.

The first reason I believe is psychological. As humans, safety is one of our basic needs. We have a defense mechanism that leads us to believe that "it won't happen to me." Psychologists call this unrealistic optimism. Unfortunately, although the odds of something happening to interrupt daily operations is extremely high, it's the way we are "wired" that leads us to be complacent.

The second reason is that most businesses have a sense of security because they DO carry adequate insurance against many of the common perils.

The problem with this line of thinking is that the insurance company is there to provide the financial means to recover from a disaster and in most cases provide nothing more.

Business Continuity is more than making sure your computers and information are recoverable. While it's one of the focuses of our business, other things need to be considered. Ready.gov recommends a four step approach.

1) Analyze the business impact of a disaster.
2) Strategize Recovery options and align resources to the level of impact.
3) Commit the plan to writing and store it electronically both on and off-site.
4) Test and Drill! Know that your plan will work when you need it most.

I will be developing a disaster preparedness kit that will be distributed for free...stay tuned for details!