What to Do When... There's a Landslide


Landslides occur in all 50 states and cause $1-2 billion in damage annually. The February 2013 landslide in Arizona caused an estimated $40 million in repairs and rendered a portion of a major highway useless.

The most common trigger of a landslide is water. When heavy rains occur, the particles in the earth are loosened and may start to flow, producing a landslide. Other common causes include earthquakes, wildfires and volcanoes.

Below we've compiled lists of landslide warning signs and what to do during and after a landslide.

Landslide Warning Signs


Landslides can happen quickly, often with little notice. The best way to prepare is to look for the following warning signs:
  • New cracks in parking lots or sidewalks
  • Tilting or cracking of concrete floors/foundations
  • Leaning telephone poles or trees
  • Saturated ground in areas that are not normally wet
  • Unusual bulges in the ground

During a Landslide


If your business encounters a landslide, follow these safety tips:
  • Contact local police and fire departments to notify them of a landslide.
  • Listen to local radio/news for updates on debris flow.
  • If evacuation is a safe possibility, evacuate all employees; if not, alert employees to curl up and protect their heads.
  • Listen for any sounds that may indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking against each other.
  • Be extremely cautious if driving. Watch the road for cracked pavement and be aware of falling rocks.

After a Landslide

  • Anticipate flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow.
  • Alert your local utility service of any broken utility/power lines near your building.
  • Stay away from the landslide area. Move employees to an alternate work environment to continue business operations.


For more safety tips about the hazards surrounding landslides, check out our post "What to Do When... There's a Flash Flood."

Three Reasons You Need Business Continuity as a Service

In a recent AT&T Business Continuity Study, 87 percent of 500 IT executives surveyed said their business had a business continuity plan, yet only 38 percent indicated that business continuity (BC) was a priority.

While 87 percent is nothing to sneeze at, business continuity is too important not to be at the top of a business’s list of priorities, especially considering that the total average cost of a single unplanned data center outage is estimated to be $505,502, including detection, recovery, ex-post activities, equipment, IT productivity, end-user productivity, third parties, lost revenue and business disruption.

Unfortunately, BC plans are subject to “slow decay with the passage of time” due to inappropriate delegation of planning activities, the lack of senior-level management involvement and ultimately “the organization’s overall casual attitude toward the BCP.”

The solution to maintaining the momentum of BC planning, we've found, is to bring in a third party: a business continuity as a service (BCaaS) provider. The benefits of obtaining professional assistance with your BC planning are countless, but here are our top three reasons BCaaS is vital to your BC planning efforts.

You Adhere to Business Continuity Standards


For many organizations, business continuity planning is not a matter of if but when due to strict federal regulations for industries such as financial services and healthcare. Not having and following a documented business continuity plan can lead to costly regulatory fines.

Having a professional service helps these organizations meet business continuity management (BCM) standards such as the internationally recognized ISO 22301 standard.

But even if your organization is not required by law to implement certain business continuity measures, developing a plan that complies with an established BCM standard is a sign of commitment to your stakeholders.

You Preserve Resources for Daily Operations


Ideally, it should take three to six months to produce a business continuity plan. However, if you’re shorthanded and need your critical resources for maintaining your daily operations (ironically, this is also why a business continuity plan is so important), outsourcing your BC planning allows you to establish your plan in a timely manner without having to sacrifice day-to-day productivity.

With the data you provide, BCaaS vendors can do the nitty-gritty work of evaluating your business’s needs and drawing up your BC plan.

You Benefit from Professional Expertise


The best way to become an expert on something is to immerse yourself in it, and for the reasons cited above, you might not have the time to adequately research and prepare a thorough BC plan.

A BCaaS vendor that has worked with companies of all sizes and industries will have the benefit of being intimately familiar with BCM standards and can determine what the scope of your business’s plan should be based on your industry and your number of employees, departments and locations.

In addition, a professional can help you meet audit requirements, which is important because “only 38 percent of executives understand the effect of regulatory issues on business continuity management efforts or know whether the organization is fully compliant with audit requirements.”

Keeping your business operational — no matter what — should be a priority for any organization. Implementing a thorough BC plan in a timely manner can be challenging, but with the help of BCaaS, it doesn't have to be impossible.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Maintaining Business Continuity in a Diverse IT Environment

IT is a critical part of any business's business continuity plan and must be available 24/7, even during a power outage or natural disaster. But, as the as the below infographic by eweek.com shows, coordinating diverse proprietary, open source and open standards software within the same data center environment can be challenging. For this reason, it's necessary to have a tested disaster recovery plan to ensure your systems will still be up and running in a worst-case scenario.

Infographic
Courtesy of:Eweek.com

Star-Spangled Safety on the Fourth

Red, white and blue fireworksThe Fourth of July  a day synonymous with flags waving in the breeze, the smell of hot dogs filling the air and fireworks illuminating the sky   is quickly approaching.

Independence Day is a day of celebration, but it can quickly take a turn for the worse if you don't take the necessary precautions when using fireworks.

According to Prevent Blindness America, nearly 13,000 people are hospitalized due to firework-related injuries each year, and 40 percent of those firework mishaps injure bystanders.

To keep your Fourth of July injury-free, follow these safety tips:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks without supervision. 
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire. 
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Instead, douse and soak them with water, and discard them safely. 
  • Be cautious of lighting fireworks during windy conditions. Fireworks should only be lit when the prevailing wind is blowing away from spectators. 
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays, which could be a danger to consumers. 
  • Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which are hot enough to melt some metals! Always supervise children when they are using sparklers. 

For more tips on how to practice firework safety this year, visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission Fireworks Information Center.

What to Do When... There's an Earthquake

What to Do When...According to the United States Geological Survey, more than 3 million earthquakes occur each year. You should prepare not only your home but your business as well. Below we've outlined the steps to take before, during and after an earthquake.

 

Before an Earthquake

  •  Minimize potential hazards.
    • Move heavy items onto lower shelves.
    • Lock file cabinets when not in use.
    • Back up business-critical files.
    • Store backup files off-site.
  • Create and regularly test your disaster plan. Your plan should have provisions for:
    • Employees
    • Customers
    • Vendors
    • Critical equipment
    • Recovery locations
  • Prepare a disaster kit, which should include:
    • A three-day emergency supply of food and water
    • Medical supplies, including employee medications
    • Flashlights (don’t forget the batteries!)
    • A portable AM/FM radio

 

During an Earthquake

  • Drop underneath a sturdy desk or table. If there is not a desk or table nearby, move to an internal wall, and drop to the floor. 
  • Cover your head and neck. Stay clear of windows or objects that could fall and harm you. 
  • Hold on to the furniture as it moves, and stay put until the earthquake and any aftershock have ended.

    After an Earthquake

    • Account for all employees.
    • Address staff injuries. For those severely injured, contact 911.
    • When safe, inspect both the exterior and interior of the building for damages.
    • Communicate with employees, customers and vendors to let them know the status of your business.
    • Perform a detailed assessment to determine next steps to continue your business operations.

    For more information on preparing your business for an earthquake, read 7 Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business.

    Natural Disasters: What They Teach Us About Recovery Plans

    Tornado touching down in field
    Last month, violent tornadoes repeatedly struck Oklahoma over the course of 12 days, destroying homes and businesses and killing more than 40 people. Tragic events like this are devastating, but they teach us important lessons about preparedness.

    In a recent article by SecurityInfoWatch.com, Caroline Hamilton and Michael Crocker, the presidents of two different security consulting firms, discuss how to prepare for the risks resulting from natural disasters. From their insight and experience, we gathered the following five tips.

    Don't Just Start a Disaster Recovery Plan, Finish It


    “Companies have good intentions and they start these plans, but they don’t finish them because they get sidetracked by some other thing.”

    Hamilton explained that incomplete risk management planning is one of the most frequent issues she encounters. She suggests not only completing these plans but updating them at least once a year and testing them at least twice a year.

    Expect the Unexpected


    “Something that people don’t normally associate at all with a natural disaster would be an active shooter.”

    Police and the DHS suggest that you practice active shooter drills at the same time as the evacuation drills for natural disasters, fires, etc. When most of us consider the safest way to deal with the threat of an active shooter, locking the entire facility down is probably what comes to mind. However, police and DHS advise the opposite: Open up the building to get as many people as possible out of harm's way.

    Plan for Necessary Employees 


    “What happens if certain members of your leadership are unavailable? How do you replicate that part of the decision making process, and how do you amend it with outside staff or people from other divisions in the company that can fill in during a crisis?”

    In the midst of planning for disasters, businesses can easily forget their most important asset: their employees. Communication is an important part of this step of planning as well. You may have a plan in place for all of your documents and records, but have you thought about where you would direct calls and who would answer them? You may want to consider having an alternate site where business communications can be sustained if your building is affected by a disaster.

    Have a Separate Location Where Records Are Stored


    "Most businesses that lose their records fail within 12 months."

    Crocker suggests storing your organization’s records in the cloud, in a server farm or at an off-site location. Doing so could save your company in the event of a natural disaster. After the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, many businesses could not recover their losses because they couldn’t document their revenue from 2009.

    Designate a Business Continuity Management Team


    “Of course it depends on the type of organization it is. If it is a production plant, whether they are producing Winnie the Pooh dolls or electricity, whoever is in charge of plant production should be involved.”

    The designated business continuity team will help with the planning process as well as with testing and revising the plan. Hamilton suggests including the security director, facilities manager, someone in operations and someone in human resources.

    To read the entire article, click here.