Hurricane Season 2009: Is your business ready?

There is no escaping it; hurricane season is already upon us, beginning 1 June and running to 30 November. Hurricane activity has been busy to say the least over the last few years for the Cayman Islands, especially since 2004’s Category 4/5 Hurricane Ivan swept through Grand Cayman, all the way up to Hurricane Paloma as late as November last year wrecking havoc on Cayman Brac. The Journal reports.

These experiences have galvanised savvy businesses into ensuring their disaster recovery systems are securely in place to cope with whatever the season has to offer. Many companies have invested in top notch expertise to strengthen their company’s resilience to disasters and ensure continuity of service should another hurricane strike the islands.

There is no escaping it; hurricane season is already upon us, beginning 1 June and running to 30 November. Hurricane activity has been busy to say the least over the last few years for the Cayman Islands, especially since 2004’s Category 4/5 Hurricane Ivan swept through Grand Cayman, all the way up to Hurricane Paloma as late as November last year wrecking havoc on Cayman Brac. The Journal reports.

These experiences have galvanised savvy businesses into ensuring their disaster recovery systems are securely in place to cope with whatever the season has to offer. Many companies have invested in top notch expertise to strengthen their company’s resilience to disasters and ensure continuity of service should another hurricane strike the islands.

Never-the-less, merely implementing a disaster recovery system is not sufficient. MCS Vice President of Core Technologies Garry Southway explains, “Systems that were put in place a couple of years ago as a consequence of Hurricane Ivan’s wake-up call might not be totally relevant now. It’s therefore crucial to ensure systems are constantly tested and, if need be, updated to meet the current needs of your business.”

Testing not only ensures that adequate disaster recovery systems are in place; it ensures that everyone in the company is on board with the system.

“It’s all very well for the IT technicians to be up-to-speed with the disaster recovery plan of an organisation but does everyone else know the plan and how it will operate post-disaster?” questions Garry. “Regular and thorough testing will help guarantee that everyone knows exactly where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing, during and after a hurricane.”

Having a well-thought out and properly functioning disaster recovery system makes sound economic sense, particularly in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace.

“We estimate that 70% to 80% of financial services companies on island have good robust disaster recovery plans and policies, so businesses in Cayman should know that their competitors most likely are well-prepared should a disaster occur. That means they will be up and running in just a day or two post-disaster. Retaining your own market share means you need to have a similar level of security for your firm, if you want to remain competitive or even simply in business should a disaster occur,” says Garry.

Keeping your fingers crossed and hoping that your business won’t take a hit during hurricane season is insufficient for today’s market needs. Indeed, developing a system that just ensures confidentiality and integrity of an organisation’s information is also insufficient, according to the experts.

Garry explains, “Accessibility of information is also key, especially when impending hurricanes usually see employees spread far and wide over the globe. Companies often go to great lengths to make sure their information is protected but sometimes overlook the crucial element of designing a plan that allows for employees to actually retrieve the information they need. Ensuring that individuals can easily access information wherever they are is crucial to maintaining successful continuity of business.”

Economic constraints during this current severe recession might deter an organisation from implementing proper disaster recovery plans on the basis that they are looking to cut costs. Yet, if your business is open to suffering irreparable damage for six months of the year, can you really afford to operate without such a vital insurance policy?

Never-the-less, merely implementing a disaster recovery system is not sufficient. MCS Vice President of Core Technologies Garry Southway explains, “Systems that were put in place a couple of years ago as a consequence of Hurricane Ivan’s wake-up call might not be totally relevant now. It’s therefore crucial to ensure systems are constantly tested and, if need be, updated to meet the current needs of your business.”

Testing not only ensures that adequate disaster recovery systems are in place; it ensures that everyone in the company is on board with the system.

“It’s all very well for the IT technicians to be up-to-speed with the disaster recovery plan of an organisation but does everyone else know the plan and how it will operate post-disaster?” questions Garry. “Regular and thorough testing will help guarantee that everyone knows exactly where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing, during and after a hurricane.”

Having a well-thought out and properly functioning disaster recovery system makes sound economic sense, particularly in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace.

“We estimate that 70% to 80% of financial services companies on island have good robust disaster recovery plans and policies, so businesses in Cayman should know that their competitors most likely are well-prepared should a disaster occur. That means they will be up and running in just a day or two post-disaster. Retaining your own market share means you need to have a similar level of security for your firm, if you want to remain competitive or even simply in business should a disaster occur,” says Garry.

Keeping your fingers crossed and hoping that your business won’t take a hit during hurricane season is insufficient for today’s market needs. Indeed, developing a system that just ensures confidentiality and integrity of an organisation’s information is also insufficient, according to the experts.

Garry explains, “Accessibility of information is also key, especially when impending hurricanes usually see employees spread far and wide over the globe. Companies often go to great lengths to make sure their information is protected but sometimes overlook the crucial element of designing a plan that allows for employees to actually retrieve the information they need. Ensuring that individuals can easily access information wherever they are is crucial to maintaining successful continuity of business.”

Economic constraints during this current severe recession might deter an organisation from implementing proper disaster recovery plans on the basis that they are looking to cut costs. Yet, if your business is open to suffering irreparable damage for six months of the year, can you really afford to operate without such a vital insurance policy?

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Garry Southway: Accessibility of information is key

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