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Hurricane Season is a little less than 3 months away — Do you have a Crisis Management and Business Continuity Plan


Super Storm SandyTornado’s, flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters; fire, threats, civil disturbance, accidents, structure failures, are always present and a fact of life.

Survival of your home, family and business is always a paramount issue when events such as these occur.  But are you ready?

Find a location on Earth that is immune for a natural disaster and share it; because I want to move there.  There isn’t.  And because both natural and “man-made” events happen, you as a business person needs to be prepared.

Preparation takes time and thought, patience and practice, but done correctly and continually can mean the difference between being  a going concern and failure.

Are you prepared?

Business Continuity is much, much more than data recovery and backing up your computers.  It’s taking your company’s core business operations from its existing location and making it ready to continue working productively in case of a critical incident that precludes use of your office space or your employees from reaching their office space.

You say you have a plan!  Walk over to the most junior member of your company and ask them what the Business Continuity Plan is or their part in the Plan.  I can tell you the answer without being there – confusion, doubt and no knowledge of what you are talking about.  The same goes for most of your mid and senior level people.

If they don’t know the Plan, or specifically their role and the role of the person above and below, as well as adjacent to them; then you DO NOT HAVE A PLAN!

So you have a Plan, congratulations.  When was it written, and last updated.  More than 6 months… you don’t have a fully functional Plan; or you may not have a plan at all, depending on how stale it is!

 So, you have a Plan, and it was last updated 5 months ago.  When was the last time you fully tested it?  Never?  Then you DO NOT HAVE A PLAN!

Testing a plan is essential for both practice and finding gaps in the plan.  Imagine trying a telephone tree to contact employees, only to find out cell service is out and you don’t have any non-cell numbers at hand!

In a recent survey of Hedge Funds conducted by, 98% had Plans, but 67% of the Hedge Funds were too far away from the impact of Super Storm Sandy to be affected.  Those who were closer had time to implement remote connection procedures.

That’s great, but did the 98% of the Hedge Funds plan for loss of power, phone lines, cell service, internet service, transportation and all the other effects of Sandy that many areas of the Northeast felt and to some extent, still does?  Without a fully fleshed out and practiced plan, you DO NOT HAVE A PLAN!

What’s important is that all aspects of the Business Continuity Plan be tested, including such mundane issues of how to get to the office, who’s in charge and how do you keep your customers and vendors in the “loop” while you are in your event (and working under your Plan)!

What’s in a Plan?

Business Continuity includes (and this is just a brief listing) of:

1. Risk Analysis

Hazard Vulnerability Assessment
Business Impact Analysis
Mission Essential Functions (Level 1 Revenue Producing Business Activities)
Critical Support Functions (Level II activities in support of core business functions)
Cyber-Risk Assessment
Physical Infrastructure (Security)
Threat Profile e.g. High-Profile Investors
2. Crisis Management

Crisis Management Team
Crisis Management and Business Continuity Plan
Desktop Exercise

3. Disaster Recovery
4. Business Continuity
5. IT Resiliency
6. Incident/Crisis Management Assistance Team


Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Wayne - Good to see you back. Tennessee isn't immune to disasters, but we will welcome you here, hurricane and state income tax free! Thanks for your posting above, there is much to be thought out and planned for.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

There is something to be said for not having a hurricane (I am not yet quite re-constructed) and paying outrageous income and property taxes...

Topic Expert
Dana Price
Title: Vice President, M&A
Company: McGraw Hill Education
(Vice President, M&A, McGraw Hill Education) |

Don't forget to include event cancellation insurance Wayne!

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Business continuity and recovery planning is such a valuable component for any business. Disasters and disruptions happen annually. Wayne's comments are valuable pieces of advice based on experience. When disruptions occur that affect all, consumers remember which providers come back on line fastest or did not miss a beat. In addition to paying the bill to rebuild, do not get caught in a position where you loose income because of the disruption and you loose income because consumers move to a provider that was better prepared.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

It's May 1, 30 short days to the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Colorado State University, who have been making hurricane predictions for 30 years, suggest that the 2013 Atlantic season will be above average with 18 named storms. Their report indicates that nine of these storms will reach hurricane status and that four of these will become major hurricanes.

For those on the East Coast and the Gulf, have you done anything to prepare?


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