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Commentary

Tool Helps Prepare For Disaster

When I see an event like the Haiti earthquake, I worry that we treat disaster preparedness much like we do data backup -- we don't really think about it until it's too late. We are faced with putting in place a plan to deal with disaster, and then realize we don't aren't properly prepared. But I might have found a tool that can help.
When I see an event like the Haiti earthquake, I worry that we treat disaster preparedness much like we do data backup -- we don't really think about it until it's too late. We are faced with putting in place a plan to deal with disaster, and then realize we don't aren't properly prepared. But I might have found a tool that can help.I took a briefing from a little company that I hadn't heard of before (and have no business relationship with) called Preparis because it sounded like these guys had a solution that might make sense. Created after 9/11 because the founder's company had been close to Ground Zero and was nearly destroyed by an inability to get its arms around the resulting staffing and organizational problems, this is a solution forged in fire. What the company realized is few, if any, companies had the bandwidth or focus to do disaster preparedness right, but collectively -- using a SaaS model -- a program might be possible to create a solution that would scale, remain current, and better assure a company of any significant size could better survive the next disaster. This isn't a buy-it-and-forget-it tool. It requires a significant commitment that goes beyond what seems like a reasonable price. The program comes with analytics to determine risks and assess performance, training, and retraining to assure your people are and remain up-to-date on their duties. It also includes a certification process that ensures you aren't fooling yourselves into thinking you are in better shape than you actually are, and a set of online tools that allows the program to spread across your organization effectively. Listed customers include AT&T, Equifax, InterContinental Hotels Group, Georgia-Pacific, UPS, Emory University Morgan Lewis, Paul/Weiss, and the Atlanta Falcons, covering an impressively broad number of businesses and industries. They represent a broad set of subject matter experts ranging from the expected business continuity and disaster recovery fields to mental health, workplace violence, and global warming. This last one is likely to assess flood-related risks.

I think it is worth our time to make sure our companies and employees are protected against disasters of all types. So many lives and companies are lost not because of the disaster itself, but because people simply don't know what to do to protect themselves and their jobs. Whether you use a tool like Preparis or another, it is worthwhile to review it just to get a sense for how extensive a solution could be and to compare what you have against this bar.

In any case, here is hoping that you never need a tool like Preparis.

-- Rob Enderle is president and founder of Enderle Group. Special to Dark Reading.

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