What to Do When… You’re Out of Office for the Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, many businesses will be taking time off next week. Use the checklist below to make sure your office stays safe during the holiday break.

  • Send a friendly reminder to clients and staff members. Whether or not your business is staying open during the holidays, it’s best not to leave your staff and clients guessing. Go over the holiday work schedule with your staff and inform your clients of any revised holiday dates and hours.
  • Set your Out of Office Assistant. Remember to provide recipients with alternative associates’ contact information in case of an emergency.
  • Update your voicemail recording. Let callers know you’re away from the office and provide them with information about who to contact in your absence.
  • Review your disaster recovery plan. Unless you’re in the retail industry, business demands tend to slow down during the holidays. Take this opportunity to assess, upgrade and modify your business continuity procedures.
  • Turn off office equipment and decorations. If you and your staff are going to be out of the office for an extended time, unplug printers and computers to save on electricity costs. Also, remember to disconnect any office decorations and throw out flammable trees that could potentially cause a fire if left unattended.

Have a safe and prosperous holiday break!

Discover Your Tornado Risk

The Southeast is on alert for rare winter tornadoes after storms touched down in Alabama, Lousiana and possibly Mississippi. Although winter tornadoes are rare, tornadoes can and do strike at any time off year, so it’s important that you make sure your business is prepared with a safe room and thorough business continuity plan.

To assess your tornado risk, check out the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety’s tornado frequency map.

Part 5 — $22 Million Worth of Reasons Why It Pays to Comply with Regulatory Organizations

So far in this series we’ve discussed four different organizations who have cumulatively racked up nearly $7.3 million in fines. Just to recap, we’ve seen:

  • A financial services firm penalized for failing to incorporate adequate business continuity measures
  • A cardiac care clinic called out for publicly posting patient appointments online
  • A financial giant caught overcharging its customers and failing to provide required notices
  • A healthcare practice chastised for refusing to provide its patients with copies of their medical records

This next organization tips the scale, so to speak, receiving the largest fine out of all the companies included in this series.

Morgan Stanley — $15 million


As you’ve already seen in Part 1, Morgan Stanley is no stranger to regulatory fines. In 2002 Morgan Stanley, along with four other firms, was fined $8.3 million for not complying with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) email retention policies.

History repeated itself in 2006 when the firm failed to produce thousands of copies of emails in relation to an investigation into the firm’s Wall Street business practices. When Morgan Stanley was unable to come up with the emails, the SEC produced a $15 million fine for the firm.

The Takeaway


While each of these organizations mentioned in this series found itself in hot water with regulatory authorities for slightly different reasons, there is one important lesson companies can learn from each of these examples: When it comes to regulatory requirements, it pays to comply.

The next time your business is tempted to cut corners, take a look at the number of zeroes listed in these real-life scenarios. The fines totaled more than $22 million. Is that in your company’s budget?

Prevent Your Pipes from Bursting

As low temperatures return, so does the likelihood that frozen water pipes will burst. A crack as small as 1/8 inch can release up to 250 gallons of water per day, leaving your business vulnerable to flooding, serious structural damage and mold.

Take note of these tips from Nationwide to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting:

  • Turn on the tap to relieve water pressure.
  • Leave the heat on overnight.
  • Open cabinets under the sinks to keep warm air circulating to the pipes.
  • Seal cracks to keep cold air from leaking inside.
  • Wrap the pipes with insulation sleeves if they aren’t in areas that can receive warm air.
  • Drain the pipes by shutting off the main water valve and turning on both taps until they are empty.

Cold weather does not have to mean disaster for your business. Taking preventative measures to keep your pipes from freezing can help you keep your business above water.