Sunday, October 9, 2016

The time to get cloudy is before it gets cloudy

Matthew, the deadly storm that is spreading misery from the Caribbean to the Carolina coast, is no longer a hurricane. But it's still packing a powerful punch. The storm whipped North Carolina Sunday morning, causing "record-breaking" flooding and blowing powerful winds after killing at least 17 people in four states. As of 2 p.m. Sunday Matthew was about 150 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and heading east at 15 mph.

When a business has a loss of customer data, it might never recover. Any data loss could result in a loss of income. Missing one billing cycle can be enough to devastate a business. It is too late to preach to those who were in the path of Hurricane Matthew about backing up their business data, scanning paper documents, or moving phone and computer systems - moving a copy of everything - to the cloud.

Here on the east coast of the USA, we have been hit many times by severe storms in the past ten years. When a business suffers a loss of its records, its books, its data - this becomes the #1 reason for business to close its doors and never reopen.

This can all be avoided. Buildings can be rebuilt. Vehicles can be replaced. But once the data of a business is gone, it is gone forever.  

We live in a digital world. Our lives are now digital. Photos, contracts, records, anything on “paper” can be scanned, digitized and archived. This has been true for years. And yet, so many in business will have shuttered their doors before Matthew arrived, and they will never reopen when Matthew is just a bad memory. Over the next few weeks, companies all along the east coast of the USA will file for bankruptcy. All because they lost their data.

Hurricane Katrina – 2005
The Category 5 Hurricane Katrina by far tops this list. In the U.S., areas up and down the eastern seaboard felt Katrina. However, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and especially Louisiana were hit incredibly hard. The image of the levy breaking in New Orleans is one that will stay with many of us for a long time. Hurricane Katrina was not only the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, incurring about $108 billion in damage, but it was also the 5th deadliest, claiming approximately 1,833 deaths.

Hurricane Sandy – 2012
If you were on the east coast of the United States in October of 2012, you definitely felt at least some effects of Hurricane Sandy. New York and New Jersey residents felt the full impact of the storm, with much of Manhattan being evacuated and significant portions of the Jersey Shore being completely destroyed. While Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic storm season it was also the 2nd costliest hurricane in U.S. history. To date, Sandy has cost about $85 billion dollars, however the total cost is still being evaluated. Most of that cost is due to the 650,000 houses either damaged or destroyed by Sandy.

Loss of life is tragic during any Hurricane. But a storm can take the life of a business, too. Years ago, storms hit without warning. With the technology of today, we have advanced warning. We have time to prepare, time to get our families to safety. You can evacuate - but you cannot bring your business files with you. You cannot load filing cabinets into your car when you leave for higher ground.

Buildings can be replaced. Insurance policies can help a business to rebuild. But once your business data is gone, it is gone forever. It’s never coming back.

In business, some things can easily be replaced. 
Others, not so much.

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