What to Do When… There’s a Flash Flood

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, but not all floods occur in the same way. Some accumulate slowly after a long period of rainfall, while others develop in a matter of minutes. These unexpected, quickly forming waters are known as flash floods.

Besides bringing with them a dangerous wall of roaring water, flash floods also carry many hazardous materials, such as rocks and debris. With the potential dangers of a flash flood, it is important to be prepared.

First and foremost, stay informed on the situation. Keep up to date and know the difference between a flash flood watch and a flash flood warning.

Secondly, you will want to secure your home or business by moving important items to higher ground and making sure your business has a thorough business continuity and disaster recovery plan.

If you are evacuating, try to avoid flooded areas as much as possible. Six inches of water can knock a person off their feet and will reach the bottom of most vehicles. One foot will float many vehicles and two can carry them away.

When in doubt, play it safe. Flash floods present many dangers to our health, safety and
well-being. They pose threats not only to personal lives but to businesses as well. By staying informed and prepared, businesses can minimize the after-effects of the impending disaster.

For more detailed information on how to be ready for a flash flood visit www.ready.gov/floodawareness and www.readypa.org/potentialemergencies/floods/.

Part 2 — $22 Million Worth of Reasons Why It Pays to Comply with Regulatory Organizations

Last month, we introduced Part 1 of our five-part series dealing with regulatory fines. If Capital Market Services’ $75,000 fine from the National Futures Association didn’t send you into cardiac arrest, keep on reading.

Phoenix Cardiac Surgery — $100,000

In February 2009 the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) began a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) investigation of Phoenix Cardiac Surgery, a small Arizona-based physician group, after receiving a notice that the group was publicly posting doctors’ appointments on its website. What had most likely started out as a matter of convenience for the practice soon became a hassle, as the investigation lasted three years.

The OCR found that the group had failed to perform a risk assessment, appoint a security official, create a plan for protecting patient information and inform employees of that plan. Phoenix Cardiac ultimately received a $100,000 monetary sanction.

Don't miss Part 3 next month!

A Disaster Recovery Nightmare from ‘Toy Story 2’

“I can’t look. Could somebody please cover my eyes?” says Rex, the toy dinosaur in Pixar’s “Toy Story 2.”

Oren Jacob, who was then an associate technical director for “Toy Story 2,” was probably thinking the same thing as Rex when he watched a moviemaker’s worst nightmare unfold before his eyes.

After two months and hundreds of hours of work, someone executed an incorrect command on the servers where all the movie’s files were stored. Jacob and his colleagues were forced to watch most of the movie vanish before their eyes as the files were deleted.

The team turned to Pixar’s backup tapes to restore the files. All seemed well until the filmmakers realized a week later that there was a problem: They weren’t working on the most recent version of the movie. At the time, the backups were not continuously tested, and the team realized too late that the tape backups had been failing for the past month.

But by a stroke of luck, Supervising Technical Director Galyn Susman, who had been working from home, had a copy of the entire movie stored on a computer at her house. If it hadn’t been for her, the company wouldn’t have had a backup at all.

After this disaster recovery debacle, the systems administrators re-evaluated their data backup strategy.

Pixar learned some important lessons the hard way:

  • Test your backups.
  • Store copies of your files in multiple locations.
  • Test your backups again.

Click here for the full story.

National Preparedness Month: Pledge to Prepare

September is National Preparedness Month. This year's theme of “Pledge to Prepare” urges individuals and businesses to stay informed about emergency preparedness and prepare their homes and organizations for disasters — not just this month, but throughout the year.

Take a moment to join thousands of participants across the United States in making the Pledge to Prepare. If you are a Rentsys Recovery customer, be sure to thoroughly review your business continuity plan and, if you haven’t already, schedule a test to ready your business for the unexpected.

Stay informed and be prepared!

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