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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

Squirrel!

One of the basic tenets of business continuity is looking ahead to lots of what if's. That's the only way to be prepared. But even in business continuity, the eye can come off the ball and focus in on the giant thing happening now, not the other things coming behind it.


Two Friday's ago when the news was all over tracking the tropical storm that was on track to hit California (and did that weekend). Continuity professionals were advising on what to do in CA and what clients might need to do (activate any controls measures or backups for vendors that are in the impact area). What I was doing was looking ahead to mid-week...where the potential was high for a devastating hurricane to hit the Houston area. Why?


Taking what I know from emergency management, I know how hurricanes get their power: warm ocean water. The Gulf of Mexico has had abnormally extreme warm temperatures this summer. Hurricanes hadn't really paid any attention to the Gulf so far this hurricane season. I was checking in with a tool I use (and have written about before - a weather channel on youtube). I even wrote about how businesses should also be looking at preparing in the predicted target area in Houston that same Friday everyone was talking about CA. Did the prediction come to fruition? Kinda.


There was a storm that made landfall - south of Houston. It caused 7in of rain over 2 days to fall. Greg Abbott - the governor of Texas - declared a state of emergency and sent the National Guard to address the flooding. But even that was not all.


Due to weather predictions changing as the days go by, a system of named storms started forming. Lots of them. Quickly. AND there was a predicted storm that was going to hit Mexico that was likely going to track to Florida. I found out about this last Monday. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the parts of FL expected to be in the path of the storm that originated in Mexico.


Take stock of what's coming. Both in the immediate and in the short-term future (days to a week out). Be on your feet and agile for any disaster or disruption. To you or your vendors who will impact you.


In the military there was a saying: chop the wood that's in front of you. It's helpful to stay on task and purpose, but it's short sighted. There is a time and place for it. If you have done business continuity, you would have had a lot of contingencies already planned for. To include running the same plan for different areas days apart. Continuously monitor situations and reassess to know what deserves most of your resources. Weather prediction is tricky. The loudest noise (the squirrel) isn't always the thing that's going to harm you.


Looking beyond what's right in front of you will save your business and put you in a place to react before it happens, not after. After is not on your terms. After is sometimes too late.



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