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s we delve into 2012, I am
hopeful this new year will not
bring us on the sort of adven-
tures its predecessor did. What fun we
had! Between our record snowfall, tor-
nadoes, earthquake, tropical storm,
and our favorite, the October
Nor'easter, it was certainly an inter-
esting year to live in Connecticut.
In business, we are bombarded with
marketing about "disaster recovery
planning," "business continuity," "con-
tingency planning," and "emergency
preparedness." This has the unfortu-
nate effect of burying a truly critical
business process in buzzwords and
unaffordable solutions, and sends a
message that disaster recovery is only
applicable to the enterprise. On the
contrary sole proprietors and small
business owners as well as partners in
larger firms should understand the
potential impact of a disaster and be
prepared to adapt to it. For any busi-
ness, the loss of continuity for even
one day can cause long-lasting issues.
Disasters fall into the category of what
I like to call "nasty surprises" things
that are unpredictable and unavoid-
able, with consequences that can be
devastating. Let's look at what a disas-
ter can do from a personal perspective.
Losing cable and Internet is one thing,
but in October, many of us were with-
out the basics power, heat, and hot
water for up to eight days. As schools
throughout the state remained closed,
parents had to scramble to find child-
care or alternative living arrangements
if it was too cold to stay at home.
People worried about the safety of fam-
ily and friends, and had to depend on
local shelters for hot showers and a
few hours at a charging station (unless
you had a few miles of extension cord
hooked up to your RV like I did). We
haven't seen lines at gas stations like
that since the `70s. I could go on, but
I'm sure you all remember.
The impact to business is equally obvi-
ous. A disaster does not have to phys-
ically damage your office to prevent
people from being able to do their jobs.
If your people can't get to work, or are
dealing with personal matters, critical
tasks might not get done on time. What
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Planning for Those Nasty Surprises
By Christopher J. Luise