Issue link: http://ailahub.aila.org/i/89177
Disaster Ready: Minimizing Interruptions by Eugene Goldstein and Michael J. Goldstein C
Probably, the best preparation for catastrophic business interruptions is to realize that it can happen.
atastrophic events do occur, whether it is a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, an act of terrorism-or anything else that is unexpected.
My office is in downtown Manhattan, as it was on September 11, 2001, one block from the World Trade Center. Following the attacks, my office was down for two weeks—the first week, the authorities investigated the crime scene, and the second week they vacuumed out the pervasive dust. Those dark fast moving dust clouds were real (some of the dust still remains underneath a file cabinet in my office).
For two weeks, my three telephone lines were routed through one cell phone (and I was fortunate). Thankfully, my home internet connection still worked. My e-mail was full of messages from clients—some sincerely concerned if they still had a lawyer and a case.
WHAT I LEARNED: 1. It can happen here or anywhere 2. Backup data from client files regularly 3. Backup client contacts as oſten as possible 4. Backup colleague contacts regularly 5. Keep your backup data someplace else—securely
6. Maintain a network of colleagues for support 7. Maintain a communications plan with staff—have home and mobile phone numbers updated and handy
offsite or "in the cloud"
8. Make sure that staff (and yourself) are both physically and psychologically well. (The incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was very high in the downtown area aſter 9/11.)
Backing up data isn't as much of a hassle as before. Technology has improved, prices have dropped and advances in soſtware have made managing cases much easier. Improvements in scanners have helped to preserve and maintain many files and important documents. Also, flash drives have become extremely portable and convenient. And, of course, there is the cloud and smart devices that can sync with one another for easy access to storing and retrieving information. While these things make working away from the office easier, they can also serve as data backups in the event of a physical catastrophe. My office prefers the use of flash drives over internet-dependent devices and services as they do not rely on third-party hosts. In addition, ethical concerns can arise when releasing privileged information on the cloud.
While communication lines have evolved dramatically in recent years, availability during and soon aſter
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a disaster are difficult to predict. Many of us have become accustomed to uninterrupted e-mail and smart phone access which may be unavailable in the event of a business interruption. If communication lines are up and running, but access to the physical work place is restricted, video conferencing and face- to-face communications can be achieved through smart devices without the need to share a physical space. There are also many smart device applications (apps) and computer soſtware programs which offer convenient ways to conference when physical meetings are not feasible.
For useful links to information on minimizing business interruptions and disaster recovery please see AILA InfoNet Doc No. 12073149.
Eugene Goldstein is the managing attorney of Eugene Goldstein and Associates. Michael J. Goldstein is an associate attorney at Eugene Goldstein & Associates.
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