Identifying Critical Systems & Components: Sometimes your systems are dependent on things that you would not normally consider, basic utilities such as electricity, water, and natural gas are key aspects of business continuity.
In the vast majority of cases, electricity and water are restored—at least on an emergency basis—fairly rapidly.
The damage created by blizzards, tornadoes, and other natural disasters, such as a major earthquake or hurricane can overwhelm these agencies, and services may be interrupted for quite a while.
When these types of events occur, critical infrastructure may be unavailable for days, weeks, or even months.
Real World Scenario
The Importance of Utilities
When the earthquake of 1989 occurred in San Francisco, California, portions of the city were without electricity, natural gas, and water for several months.
Entire buildings were left unoccupied because the infrastructure was badly damaged. This damage prevented many businesses whose information systems departments were located in those buildings from returning to operation for several weeks.
Most of the larger organizations were able to shift the processing loads to other companies or divisions.
When you evaluate your business’s sustainability, realize that disasters do indeed happen. If possible, build infrastructure that doesn’t have a single point of failure (SPOF) or connection.
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (WTC), several ISPs and other companies became nonfunctional because the WTC housed centralized communications systems and computer departments.
If you are in the administrator for a small company, it is not uncommon for the SPOF to be a router/gateway.
The best way to remove an SPOF from your environment is to add redundancy.
Consider the impact of weather on your contingency plans. What if you needed to relocate your family to anther region of the country due to a tornado hitting your server room? How would you get personnel there? What personnel would be relocated? How would they be housed and fed during the time of the crises? You should consider these possibilities in advance.
Although the possibility of a crippling disaster is relatively small, you still need to evaluate the risk.