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How Businesses Can Prepare for Natural Disasters

How businesses can prepare for natural disaster

How businesses can prepare for natural disasters in the future and how to best react to them is something financial leaders and business leaders often neglect to address until after the fact. Hurricane Harvey made landfall almost two weeks ago on the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, impacting some 50 counties. It dumped an estimated 16.5 trillion gallons of water which is approximately 10 trillion more gallons than Hurricane Katrina. Entire cities have been wiped out. While the rain may have stopped, mandatory evacuations are still taking place as rivers are cresting, dams are not holding the water, and reservoirs are being released.

Because of this severe natural disaster, business has been severely disrupted. In addition, many businesses will continue to be under water for an uncertain amount of time. Some have projected that it will take up to a decade to completely rebuild from the destruction Hurricane Harvey caused. How could business owners and financial leaders have been better prepared for this natural disaster? How can they better prepare for future natural disasters? Whether it’s another hurricane, wild fire, tornado, earthquake, etc., it is important to know how your location, government assistance and external factors impacts your business. To learn what is going to impact you the most, click here to download the External Analysis whitepaper.

What We Learned From Hurricane Harvey

Flooding, loss of power, displacement, wind damage, and death have plagued the coast of Texas and Louisiana these past two weeks, and that doesn’t include the emotional toll the storm has had on many. Although we cannot change Mother Nature’s course, we can set up our businesses for success by preparing for those natural disasters that you are more prone to getting. As we discuss this topic, it is important to keep in mind that this list is not fully inclusive of everything we learned from Hurricane Harvey. We are still learning. As entrepreneurs, business owners, CFOs, and financial leaders, we should be taking note of what is happening, what works, what preparation paid off, and more.

Expect and Prepare for the Worst Case Scenario

As a business in Houston, we couldn’t help but see that a lot of businesses did not prepare for the worst case scenario. With all the computer models looking like spaghetti, many did not take the worst case scenario seriously until it became our reality. Regardless of how you approach business decisions, we cannot emphasize enough to prepare for the worst case scenario. Fifty-one inches of rain in a matter of days will cause severe damage anywhere. Infrastructure damage, flooding, and interruptions of supply chains have all been a part of our business world over the past two weeks. Even if your office is on the 32nd floor, you are not exempt from being impacted; loss of power, flooding in the parking garages, and access to the building will be interrupted.

Some of the largest oil and gas companies this past week have not been able to enter their office buildings because of flooding and convoys taking thousands to shelter. Grocery stores have had issues restocking their inventory. Gas stations across Texas have seen shortages, not because of a lack of gas, but because it cannot get there. Restaurants must go to their suppliers to collect food because their vendors will not come to them. One of the busiest airports in America has cancelled all flights. The fourth largest city in the United States has essentially stopped to focus on rebuilding homes, businesses, and lives.

How Businesses Can Prepare for Natural Disasters

All Natural Disasters Have a Worst Case Scenario

It does not matter if this was technically the worst case scenario or not; many of you and your employees in the impacted areas have been flooded, displaced, and are starting to make your slow recovery back to normal. Although our thoughts at The Strategic CFO are focused on those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, other natural disasters have occurred during the same period. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when they are going to impact us.

The first step in how businesses can prepare for natural disasters is to complete an external analysis on their business. Why? Because you need to assess what is going to impact you before you make preparations. You would not prepare for a hurricane if you were in Idaho.

If you’re ready to prepare your company for natural disasters, click here to download your free External Analysis whitepaper to start the preparation process.

How Businesses Can Prepare for Natural Disasters

Like we said before, we cannot ever fully prepare for a natural disaster because these events have a mind of their own. First, create an external analysis of your company to assess what natural events you will most likely encounter. Then create a natural disaster plan that includes a temporary location, communication plan and a way to protect any unrecoverable assets. Lastly, create a recovery plan.

Remember, keep it simple stupid. Make the plan simple so that each member of your team can remember it.

How Businesses Can Prepare for Natural DisastersIdentify Responsibilities

Just like the CFO manages the finances and the COO manages operations, each person in your company has responsibilities of their own. Identify those responsibilities in the event of a crisis. Some of the responsibilities required in the event of a natural disaster include and are not limited to:

Write It Down

The most important part of having a plan is writing it down. Even if the plan needs to be changed later, this foundation will give you a good place to start. Include evacuation routes out of the office, hiding places (in case of tornados), emergency numbers, contractor vendors for recovery, and everyone’s updated contact information.

Secure Your Assets

There are two types of assets in a disaster – recoverable and non-recoverable. For those non-recoverable assets like systems, servers, software, or documentation, consider uploading it all onto a secure cloud. By doing this, you and your team will be able to access everything needed remotely. For the recoverable assets like furniture or your building, discuss the structural integrity of your building or furniture placement for quick protection/evacuation.

Securing your assets also includes having a temporary location if your current location is out of commission after a disaster.

Communication Plan With Employees

Communicate, communicate, communicate! Your employees are most likely your largest expense so make sure to protect them. Often when a disaster strikes, companies have their employees check in with the company to update them on their situation. Have someone responsible to accounting for every person.

Communication Plan With Clients

Update your clients on what is happening with your business. When are you resuming business again? When is their product/service is going to be delivered? How does this disaster impact them? Answer all their questions as best you can. Most businesses tend to struggle getting back to a normal schedule. Simply update your clients on what is going on and why.

Create Recovery Plan

When recovering from a natural disaster, look at your national or state emergency response organization. In the case of the United States, continue to look at FEMA’s site for updates on issues regarding water usage, access points, road closures, flights, permits, helps, donations, etc.

In summary, prepare for the worst case scenario and hope for the best. Start the recovery process slow and communicate the reasons for this ramp up. Download the External Analysis to prepare your business for any natural disaster.

How Businesses Can Prepare for Natural Disasters

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How Businesses Can Prepare for Natural Disasters

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Dealing with Employee Fraud

employee fraudRecently, I was visiting with a potential client who had been the victim of fraud.  Talking with him brought back unpleasant memories of the first time I discovered that one of my client’s employees had committed fraud against the company.  Despite the fact that it happened a long time ago, all of the emotions associated with the violation came flooding back.

Dealing with Employee Fraud

Betrayal

The first, and perhaps strongest, emotion is betrayal.  Anyone who has been a victim of fraud feels violated.  It’s not unlike finding out that your spouse or significant other has had a relationship with another person.  Most likely, the violator’s motive wasn’t personal, but it’s difficult not to take such treachery personally.

Shock

The next emotion I remember feeling was shock.  How could this have happened?  How could we have been so blind?  It’s hard to believe that this person you trusted could steal from you without you knowing it.  You feel duped and, as a result, may question your ability to judge a person’s character.

Anger

Once the hurt feelings and shock have passed, you will be angry. You may seek retribution. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to get your money back and district attorneys are reluctant to prosecute such cases unless there are large sums involved.  Even if they go forward with prosecution or seek compensation, any recovery is often less than the amount stolen.

Despite this fact, it’s important to pursue the matter regardless of the sum. It’s not just about you getting your money back.  It’s also about ensuring that this person doesn’t have the opportunity to violate someone else in the future.  Often, this is not the first time the person has committed fraud.  Even if you recover less than your losses, the paper trail created by the prosecution will be a red flag to anyone who runs a criminal background check on the individual in the future.

Eventually, most people move on past the emotions and learn to trust again.  Most likely, they won’t trust to the same extent, though.  The painful lesson learned is trust, but verify.

One of the positive outcomes of such an experience is tightened internal controls.  Because of this, the company can come out stronger in the end for having survived the theft.

How do you know if employee fraud is happening in your company? Check out our free Internal Analysis whitepaper to create the roadmap for your company’s success!

Dealing with Employee Fraud
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Dealing with Employee Fraud

Check out our article:  7 Warning Signs of Fraud

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3 Questions Your Banker Wants Answered

3 Questions Your Banker Wants AnsweredRecently, I had lunch with our banker.  During the meeting, I asked her what she wanted to accomplish when meeting with her customers.  She said that she wanted to know the 3 questions your banker wants answered…

3 Questions Your Banker Wants Answered

1.  How are you feeling about your business and the local economy?

Have you felt the impact from the changes in the local economy and, if so, were they good or bad?  Has there been any fallout with your customers?  How are your competitors reacting?

2.  What is the outlook for the rest of the year?

Do you see the local economy getting worse, recovering, or staying flat?  What forces or drivers do you see influencing your outlook?  What local indicators are you watching?

3.  What are you doing about it?

What actions have you already taken to address any impact?  Have you identified your next steps?  How will those actions impact the financial statements?

In establishing banking relationships and making loans, bankers look to the 5 Cs of Credit for guidance.  The most important of those Cs is Character.  Character covers not only your personal character but also your business competence.  It also covers your management team.

When market conditions fluctuate, bankers want to know that you and your team are strong enough to navigate the rough waters until the economy recovers.

The challenge for business leaders is to be optimistic without being naive;  realistic without being pessimistic.

How are your conversations going with your bankerLeave us a comment below.

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Backup and Recovery Technologies

See Also:
How to Evaluate IT Systems
How to Choose a Software Dealer
Technology Strategy for Small to Medium Sized Companies
How to Ensure Redundant Data Communications Links
How do You Know When it is Time to Buy New Software

Backup and Recovery Technologies

Backup and Recovery Technologies are complete solutions designed to reduce any server down time with the use of a specialized back up and virtual server appliance. They allow near real-time backups-as frequent as every 15 minutes. In addition, they offer offsite storage at an affordable cost. They also provide a low cost, speedy disaster recovery process. Data is encrypted. So it is not accessible to anyone, either on the backup device or at the remote storage facility without a required passkey. Finally, it eliminates the need to assign a data custodian to change tapes as well as the cost and hassle of managing an on-site tape backup solution. Your IT department or resource monitors and manages the entire process.

Executive Summary

A recent study discovered that, of companies experiencing a major loss of data, 43 percent never reopened, 51 percent closed within two years of the loss, and a mere 6 percent survived over the long-term.1 For small and medium-sized businesses, these statistics suggest the necessity of implementing a robust data backup and recovery technologies solution. Loss of data could mean lost emails, accounting data loss, patient or client data loss, loss of legal records, lost orders, and so on. This document will discuss how a data backup and disaster recovery solution overcomes challenges that are commonly faced by small and medium businesses.

Traditional Solutions vs. Emerging Technology

dMagnetic tape and disks are the two leading media for data backup storage. While magnetic tape is currently dominant, analyst Dave Russell of Gartner believes that “Recovery will move to online disk-based storage in the future. This will cause a major shift in the backup market during the next four to five years.”2

Disk

Smaller companies in particular will benefit from the shift, as recent advances in design and manufacturing lower the total cost of disk-based storage in terms of storage per bit. Falling prices, combined with the various performance advantages that storage industry analysts cite, render disk increasingly attractive. Gartner Group highlights the suitability of disk for these organizations by explaining that, “The need for high-performance online recovery of data, combined with the availability of low-cost disk arrays, has influenced enterprises and small and midsize businesses to adopt a disk-based approach for backup and recovery.”3

Tape

Tape, in contrast to disk, is physically delicate. It is also easily compromised by environmental factors such as heat, humidity, and magnetic interference. Moreover, tape cartridges must be replaced frequently (every 6-12 months). Tape’s innate sensitivity contributes to high failure rates; analysts estimate that anywhere from 42 to 71 percent of tape restores fail. Even when magnetic tape backups are successful, tapes themselves are subject to loss or theft. They may be in the possession of an employee or vendor unable to reach a recovery site. Thus, even when physical backup and restoration processes succeed, tape may not prove to be as timely and appropriate a medium for data storage as disk. Time is a crucial consideration… Because each hour of server, application, and network downtime endured until data restoration comes at a high cost, especially to smaller businesses.

Disk vs. Tape

Analyst Jon Oltsik of Enterprise Strategy Group also points out that tape is seldom encrypted, compounding the destructive impact of tape theft. He says that, “Very few people encrypt backup tapes, which means that they rely on the security of the backup and off-site rotation process.”4 Magnetic tape encryption, unlike disk encryption, has historically been too costly for all but large enterprises: “Encryption of any data that is leaving the security of the data center, in transit, has always been an option, unfortunately, a very expensive option,” explains Clipper Group.5

Disk offers not only lower cost encryption but also other advantages. In contrast to tape, “disks are more durable, last longer, withstand more overwriting and you don’t need to clean any heads,” according to Rinku Tyagi of PCQuest. Additionally, “When it comes to backing up using disks, they are easier to manage. Disk backup systems include management tools, often browser-based, for you to easily configure settings and check status from anywhere.”6

HP enumerates other advantages of disk storage, noting that “Data is backed up to disk much faster than tape, which translates to less impact on production server availability. Disk is also a more reliable media than tape and less prone to error, which translates to less failed recoveries.”7 Clipper Group believes that the superior speed of disk storage is an enduring advantage: “High performance disk will always be the choice for online applications that require fast access.”8

Conclusion

While disk offers advantages over tape, it is not a panacea. After installing disk technology, companies will still be responsible for monitoring and managing backup processes, encrypting and safeguarding backed up onsite and offsite data, restoring data to new hardware, and other functions. Without implementing a layer of governance over disk-based data backup, these companies court the danger of failed backups and delayed restoration of data, thereby jeopardizing their chances of successful recovery from major data loss.

Smaller companies unable or unwilling to invest in the human expertise and infrastructure support systems necessary for management of their backup system can leverage a data backup and recovery solution to remove staffing burdens.

Total Backups Solutions Now Available to the SMB

Near Real Time Backups

“Incremental Forever” methodology captures all changes to the initial image in increments of as often as 15 minutes. The Incremental Forever technology not only backs up recent datasets but also allows end users to reconstruct the state of their data as it stood at the end of various restoration points over the last two days, various days over the last two weeks, various weeks over the last month, or various months since the implementation of the latest in backup technology. This level of forensic and auditable data recovery may satisfy various regulatory requirements (such as HIPAA and GLBA) for data retention and data record reconstruction, and also serves stakeholders such as supply chain planners, warehouse analysts, auditors, and legal counsel.

A Complete Image

This technology generates an image of all hard drive partitions via an agent, which is warehoused on the backup device physically located at your location. The data is stored AES-256 bit encrypted and compressed, reaching efficiencies as high as 2:1. A block-level, not file-level, backup is recommended, which means that data is captured at the level of 1s and 0s. Block level data is raw data which does not have a file structure imposed on it. Database applications such as Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange Server transfer data in blocks. Block transfer is the most efficient way to write to disk and is much less prone to errors such as those that result from file-level backups. Additionally, block level backups are not affected by open files or open databases. The block-level image is an exact digital duplicate of the on-site server.

Intuitive and Flexible Restoration

A good backup system should allow for quick and flexible restores. Today’s solutions allow for recovery of files, folders, partitions, mailboxes/messages, databases/tables using a quick and intuitive process. In case of a complete server failure, this new technology allows for a bare metal restore to new hardware which has a different configuration, hardware and drivers as compared to the failed server. Doing incremental based backup allows restores from several points in time. Thus, you can restore multiple versions of files, folders, messages/mailboxes, database/tables.

Secure Remote Storage

After imaging the servers to which it is attached, the backup device then creates an independent 256-bit encrypted tunnel. It then transmits the imaged data to two secure offsite locations where it resides in an encrypted, compressed format creating a total of three copies of the data in three geographically distinct regions. Since you have encrypted the data, no one has access at any of the remote storage facilities.

Transmitting data to remote sites guarantees that, in case of physical damage to the client’s network or backup device, or even regional disaster, the data is safe in uncompromised locations. Encryption is an important step in the process of transmitting data between the backup device and the remote sites. It greatly reduces the risk of data loss incidents that plague magnetic tape. In addition, it prevents man-in-the-middle attacks during transmission. Nothing or no one has ever broken the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm. It is also currently considered the gold standard of encryption techniques. And they render transmitted data immune to theft.

On-Site Virtual Server

If any of your servers fail, then the server virtualization technology embedded in the backup device restores and reboots servers and applications within a couple of hours. You may sometimes endure a wait of several days in order to receive replacement servers from vendors. But your backup device can have your business up and running while waiting on a replacement server. The backup device multitasks. Even while functioning as a virtual server, it can continue to back up data from other devices plugged into the device. The technology thus allows you to remain in business without any significant loss of data backup, server functionality, or application downtime.

Bandwidth Throttling Transfer

Transmission itself occurs over your Internet connection. You can easily configure it to minimize bandwidth consumption. Today’s device leverages Adaptive Bandwidth Throttling, which only utilizes unused bandwidth or allows us to set an outbound limit. The UDP based smart transfer technology utilizes a host of innovative algorithms to speed up data transport and resume from failure. The device can therefore exercise file control over the data imaging and transmission processes.

24/7 Managed Solution

Monitor the device by the Network Operations Center 24x7x365. Failed processes generate immediate alerts to engineers, who often remotely correct errors after receiving notification. In case of more serious backup issues, conduct repairs at your site. If any backup units are irreparably damaged or destroyed, then they will ship you replacements pre-loaded with all stored data.

Affordable

These devices today are extremely affordable, and are available with offsite storage for as little as $1.50 per GB.

Don’t let your computers be an area of weakness in your company. Check out our free Internal Analysis whitepaper to assist your leadership decisions as your enhance your strengths and resolve your weaknesses.

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Resources

1 Cummings, Maeve; Haag, Stephen; and McCubbrey, Donald. 2003. Management information systems for the information age

2 Russell, Dave. 2007. Gartner Group. Recovery will move to disk-based, manager of managers approach by 2011

3 Russell, Dave. 2007. Gartner Group. Recovery will move to disk-based, manager of managers approach by 2011

4 Jon Oltsik, quoted in Shread, Paul. 2005. Internetnews.com. Bank’s tape loss puts spotlight on backup practices

5 Reine, David. 2007. Clipper Group. Security for small data centers—right-sizing tape encryption

6 Tyagi, Rinku. 2006. PCQuest. What’s for your backup: Disk or tape?

7 HP 2007. HP proLiant dl100 g2 data protection storage server—questions & answers

8 Reine, David. 2007. Clipper Group. Security for small data centers—right-sizing tape encryption

 

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Data Communication Redundancy

See Also:
Technology Assessment Criteria
How to Respond to an Imminent Disaster Threat
Technology Strategy for Small to Medium Sized Companies
How to Evaluate IT Systems
How do You Know When it is Time to Buy New Software

Data Communication Redundancy

Many businesses today have mission critical communication and data sharing needs. Whether these needs arise from customer or regulatory (e.g. SarbOx) requirements, truly redundant communications and data backup services are vital to the business’ operations and for disaster recovery scenarios. For many businesses, including even very large businesses, data communication redundancy is often the exception rather than the rule. Many attempt to accomplish this by having either alternate providers of in-ground hard-wired copper or fiber connections to their facilities or by having these connections at different entry points or tied to different communication centers.

The problem with this “solution” is that at some point all these underground cables come together in common conduits. Then, they are subject to being damage/cut by above ground activities. As such they are not truly redundant and create an unmitigated risk for those companies.

Disaster Recovery

In addition, from a disaster recovery perspective when communications are lost in this way, the recovery time to restore them can be anywhere from a few hours to many days. For some businesses, the loss of communications ability for even a few minutes can have severely negative economic and customer relations effects.

Achieve True Redundancy

So how does a business achieve true redundancy? There are some technologies that help. For example, microwave and satellite links are redundant to fiber/copper in the ground but they suffer from bandwidth constraints, are not secure or in the case of satellite are very expensive.

Point-to-point Wireless Light Communications (WLC) is the only truly redundant, very secure and cost effective solution for the redundancy, security and disaster recovery needs of businesses today. Furthermore, WLC uses above ground devices to move data at fiber optic speeds and bandwidths through the air.

Communications are critical in businesses. If you are experiencing data redundancy, then there may be other areas of weakness in your company. Click here to download our Internal Analysis whitepaper to create the roadmap for your company’s success!

Data communication redundancy
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Disaster Planning for IT

See Also:
Technology Assessment Criteria
How to Evaluate IT Systems
Technology Strategy for Small to Medium Sized Companies
How to Ensure Redundant Data Communications Links
How do You Know When it is Time to Buy New Software

Disaster Planning for IT

Recently an office building in Houston caught fire and much was destroyed. What if this had been your building? We don’t like to think about things like this, but in light of what just happened recently, it bears consideration. In terms of disaster preparedness, we usually think of hurricanes and flooding, but business interruption can come in many different ways including hardware/software failure, power outages, key personnel changes, fire, arson, sabotage, terrorism, computer viruses, or theft. Are you prepared in case of a disaster?

Here are some key points of a good disaster preparedness and business continuity plan for your business.

Solid Backup System

solid backup system for your data is a critical component of a solid disaster preparedness plan. The goal is to be able to restore your data and your infrastructure as quickly as possible if disaster strikes. Are you testing your backups regularly? Are they being taken offsite and archived? There are many different backup options available today including online backups, but it is imperative you implement, test and plan for a disaster. Would your backup recovery plan have potentially gone up in smoke had your building or office caught fire?

Accurate and Complete Documentation

Another key is to have accurate and complete documentation of your infrastructure so that your system can be easily recreated. You can purchase new equipment and software; but you need access to its previous design. Documentation saves time and eliminates confusion and heartache.

How Long can the Business Survive

You need to review all of your applications and determine how long your business can survive if an interruption were to occur. Email for example is as critical, and as important, if not more so, than your phone system. Third party services offer a way to collect, filter and access your company email if your mail server is disrupted for any reason. In addition, how long can your company survive without your customer list or your accounting system? What about other business critical systems? Do you have a plan in place and do you know how long would it take you to recover had this been your building?

Security

What about security? Is your data secure from malicious attacks? If your power is disrupted, do you have backup power supplies that will properly protect and shut down your equipment in case of a power outage or protect you from power surges?

Employees

And most importantly, are your employees OK? And is there a plan in place for everyone to communicate in case of a disaster?

Business Disaster Preparedness

In the event that a disaster may potentially create a threat to your business, we have prepared a short list of precautions for you to take. First and foremost, protect yourself, your families and pets. Secondarily, protect your data. Lives and data are irreplaceable; hardware, software and applications just take some time.

Take Precautions

In regards to your technology and data, we recommend taking the following precautions:

Make sure you have a good backup of your data and take it to a safe and secure place. This can be accomplished in one of several ways:

a. If you have a good tape backup solution, take ALL of your tapes off site to a secure, high and dry location.

b. If you do not have a tape backup or you are in a flood prone area, take your server with you.

c. Worst case, clearly mark the hard drives in your equipment, remove them and take them with you if rising or blowing water is a threat.

Equipment

If you do not need 24×7 access to your systems, power them down; do not leave equipment running.

a. Gather all critical equipment and move it away from windows and the threat of rising water.

b. Print off important lists such as employee and customer lists.

c. Print off emergency contact numbers for vendors.

Closing Your Office

If you are closing your offices, perform the following steps:

a. All employees should unplug the power cables to their computer and electronic devices from the wall outlets after they shut down their computers.

b. If there is a modem line attached to the computer, make sure to unplug the phone line from the modem.

c. If a server is being used as a fax server, Make sure that all phone lines are unplugged. (Unless the Surge protector is protecting the phone line)

d. All expensive fax machines should be turned off and phone lines should be unplugged.

e. All copiers should also be unplugged from the wall outlets.

Phones

a. If you were to lose access to your building, can you forward your phones to another number? Do you know how to do this?

b. Do your clients, friends, etc have your cellular number in case of an emergency?

c. Do your employees know where to contact each other?

Home Systems

For your home systems, please make sure you have a good backup or protection of the following:

a. Personal financial information.

b. Personal data.

c. Family pictures, etc.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some highlights that you should be aware of. Please be safe if a disaster does, in fact, occur.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has several links to documents for emergency preparedness for business at this link:

www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/prepared

Personal Disaster Preparedness

Prepare a personal emergency kit – a small bag or case – that you can take with you if an evacuation is necessary. Your kit should include:

  • Medicines
  • Toiletries
  • Shoes
  • Clothes
  • A list of contact names
  • Phone Numbers
  • Important Paperwork (wills, insurance policies, home owner title and deed)
  • Important photographs and jewelry.
  • Cell phone and car and outlet chargers
  • Data backup on tape or CD’s
  • Pack enough for an overnight stay.

Designate a contact name and phone number outside the area where you reside. Choose a family member of friend in another state as a contact to relay information in case telephones are out of service.

Checklist

  • Know what zone you live in, and if you have to evacuate. Find your zone here: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/
  • Test flashlights, other emergency lights and battery operated radio.
  • Buy extra batteries for flash lights, radio and clocks.
  • Get cash.
  • Assemble important papers and secure them in water safe package. Have them where you can grab them and take them with you if you must evacuate.
  • Designate an emergency contact person outside your area.
  • Gather/print list of important phone numbers.
  • Fill your gas tank.
  • Fill your grill propane tank.
  • Assemble three day supply of non-perishable food and beverages.
  • Have a non-electric can opener on hand.
  • Ensure a two week supply or prescriptions and medicines, including for pets.
  • Address special dietary needs.
  • Gather/pack toiletries, glasses, hearing aids.
  • Gather/pack a change of clothes and shoes.
  • Gather rope, masking and duct tape, tarp, boards, nails, hammer.
  • Have on hand heavy duty garbage bags.
  • Gather matches/lighter.
  • Have a portable cooler on hand for freezer and refrigerator contents.
  • Have insect repellent on hand.
  • Prepare to have five gallons of water per person, two gallons per pet.
  • If possible, have a gasoline powered generator on hand.
  • Talk to your neighbors to find out who will be staying. Exchange phone numbers in the event that they work.

Disasters are expected to happen. So, start preparing today and download your free External Analysis whitepaper that guides you through overcoming obstacles and preparing how your company is going to react to external factors.

disaster planning for IT

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Economic Drivers to Watch

Recently I heard Bill Sherrill speak regarding his economic forecast for 2013 and the economic drivers impacting that forecast. For those of you who don’t know Bill, he is the Founder of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship and twice appointed Governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

In his presentation, Mr. Sherrill presented the best explanations I have heard of the key economic drivers of the economy. According to him there are four key drivers of the economy.

Economic Drivers to Watch

The first is Fiscal Policy. Fiscal Policy is the federal government’s spending and taxation. According to Mr. Sherrill the trend to watch in 2013 is the impact of the Sequester. He predicts that the full impact of the sequester won’t be felt until the second half of 2013.

The second driver is Monetary Policy. Monetary Policy is the Federal Reserve Board. He expect the Federal Reserve Board to keep interest rates low until nationwide unemployment reaches less than 6.5%. That should not occur until mid-2013.

The third driver is the Financial Sector. That driver is primarily Wall Street and Wall Street is on a tear because of low interest rates.

Finally, the fourth driver is Main Street. Main Street is all about jobs. The trend to watch is the change in the number of jobs. It takes 100,000 new jobs each month to just keep up with the population growth; 300,000 new jobs per month would indicate a recovery in the economy and 500,000 new jobs per month would indicate a strong recovery.

Though Mr. Sherrill did not say how the economy would end up for the rest of 2013, he did tell us the four drivers to watch:

economic drivers

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