Technology and Natural Disasters: Is Your Leadership Team Informed?

As a business community, what can we learn for the events of the last few weeks? No, I’m not thinking about the lessons of the lengthy political campaigns. I’m referring to Superstorm Sandy.

Hundreds of thousands of customers remain without power.  Recovery efforts will cost billions of dollars. Schools, offices, shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment businesses closed and experienced financial lose.

However, even businesses that were not part of the storm – were still part of the storm.

  • Ann Taylor Loft stores in mid-Missouri could not access customer accounts online because company data centers were in New York.
  • Constant Contact, an email newsletter service used by small businesses around the country, had no customer service staff following the storm.
  • Chicago O’Hare, the nation’s second largest airport, closed causing problems for air travel and cargo transportation throughout the US and internationally.
  • Verizon customers felt the effects of blown out cell towers.

In a global economy where business relies upon technology and virtual communication, physical proximity to natural disasters no longer determines probability of loss. Companies worldwide are affected by earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and even drought.

Forbes contributing writer, Steve Parrish, in his online article “Sandy’s brutal reminder: even if you’re not part of the storm, you’re still part of the storm,” advises business owners to consider how profits and revenues may be impacted by any natural disaster that may occur, regardless of where the business is located.

Will weather-related disasters affect your ability to transact business?

  • Will your supply chain be disrupted?
  • Will you be able to make key financial transactions to meet your cash flow needs?
  • Will customer communications be disrupted?

All of these questions are important to consider when developing disaster relief plans. However, most importantly, will all members of your leadership team – whether offsite or onsite – be able to access key information to problem solve in real time?

Let us know how you and your business keep leaders informed of how to access backup data, find employee contact information and continue workflow during technology interruptions caused by unpreventable natural disasters.




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