A colleague had written a piece about disaster recovery and business continuity – motivated not by the horrors that exploded over the television last night after an 8.9 earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered  a tsunami, but by unexpectedly heavy rain and snow in the northeast. Should he hold off publishing it, he asked, so as not to be seen as exploiting the disaster?

The answer is no. I’ve written about and tried to address disaster recovery many times in my career, and yet it can never be addressed too often. Sure, a leaking roof isn’t a problem in nice weather, but we all know, sort of, that that’s when the leak should be fixed. But that’s also when the trees, vegetables and flowers need to be fed and mulched, when a coat of new paint can be applied to make the house more inviting to visitors, when the old wiring can be updated to handle all the new toys – er, productivity tools.

Ensuring business continuity has never been easier. Broadband connectivity to the cloud is close to being a given, and storage has never been so inexpensive. If your business information management strategy includes the duplication of at least strategic information in a different but easily accessible location and if key employees know where to go and how to proceed if they can’t get to their normal workplaces, a catastrophic event cannot destroy your business.  

What hasn’t changed is that business continuity requires planning, and the first step is purely volitional. Now – when the sun is shining, when there are no floods, or earthquakes, or tsunamis – is the time to address what a disaster would do to your business.

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Alan Kay – VP Research Management