Focus: Hurricane Sandy
Back to Business
A Dynamic Plan to Minimize Disaster Downtime
By BOB GAUDREAU
The year 2012 turned out to be one for the record books for the U.S. – and not in a good way. In a report prepared by London-based global reinsurance firm Aon Benfield, the
U.S. endured two of the world’s costliest natural disasters, totaling a staggering
$100 billion in economic losses. Damage
from Hurricane Sandy resulted in $65
billion, and the year-long drought in the
Midwest, which crippled the agricultural
sector, totaled $35 billion in losses.
If recent history is a gauge it would
appear there are a growing number of
extreme natural disasters wreaking havoc
on the global economy. Look to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan as a proof
point of how a disaster can impact the delicate global supply chain.
According to the Insurance Institute for
Business and Home Safety, about 25 percent of small businesses fail to reopen after
a major disaster. Considering Hurricane
Sandy affected more than 1 million businesses, it is plausible that thousands of
companies may never re-open again.
Having a dynamic recovery strategy could
have made the difference in keeping a
business afloat or having it fall victim to
this historic storm.
Impact of Hurricane Sandy
Greater attention to the need for disaster preparedness occurred when Hurricane
Sandy hit the tri-state area on Oct. 29, 2012.
The widespread devastation in a densely
populated business region created unprecedented challenges for the cities affected in
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as
well as the companies trying to find suitable places for employees to work.
With ground transportation compro-
mised, airports closed, limited gas supply
and prolonged power outages, executing
any type of workplace recovery plan was
full of obstacles.
Given all of the issues today’s businesses are coping with – an uncertain
economy, poor sales and an increase in
global competition – prepping for a disaster may not be deemed urgent or necessary. While it may not be a top priority,
many now-defunct businesses can confirm
it takes just one incident to permanently
shutter the doors of a company.
Of course, in order to keep a business
moving, employees and management
must be laser-focused on the day-to-day
goals of the organization. However, when
faced with the devastation and interruption caused by a fire, flood, hurricane, or
man-made catastrophe, how a business
approaches the disaster is sometimes as
critical as having a plan at all.
With advancements in mobile technology and a workforce that is increasingly
dispersed, putting together a workplace
recovery program is no longer a one-solu-tion-fits-all approach. Like a fingerprint,
no two businesses are alike. As a result,
when creating a workplace recovery
plan, each business has to match the plan
to meet the needs of its employees, the
business, and its customers. What organizations are now demanding is a more
dynamic and fluid approach to workplace
recovery. Businesses are looking for flexibility, broad accessibility, and more choice
in terms of locations for its employees.
While unlikely, disasters do occur and
companies’ productivity can sink, causing
an enormous financial toll if businesses
don’t have a robust plan to tackle the
Businesses with disaster recovery plans
already in place prior to being affected
are in a much better position to rebound,
resume operations, and minimize disruption. Planning shouldn’t take place when
a business is confronted with a disaster.
To ensure a business isn’t susceptible to
prolonged downtime, businesses should
consider the following:
Conduct a Risk Assessment Analysis
This analysis should address all functions of your business – from accounting to IT and from HR to supply chains