Applied Operations This Work Intends to Examine Research Paper

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Applied Operations

This work intends to examine what business has learned from the disasters that occurred on September 11, 2001, and during Hurricane Katrina and how these events changed the way that business managers should plan for business continuity.

Hurricane Katina -- Lessons Learned

Hurricane Katrina is stated to have been the first Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and was of such force that left approximately five million individuals without power and more than 1,200 dead with damage estimated in excess of $200 billion. More than a million people were reported to be displaced as Hurricane Katrina "created a humanitarian crisis on a scale unseen in the history of the U.S." (Striedl, Crosson, and Farr, 2006) Striedl, Crosson, and Farr (2006) report that lessons learned include the following:

(1) Lesson #1 -- Improve and enhance disaster preparation and crisis response plans through worst-case scenario testing and exercising (Striedl, Crosson, and Farr, 2006);

(2) Lesson #2 -- Clearly define the organization's command and control organizational structure for emergencies. Include procedure for linking to local emergency management and response agencies (Striedl, Crosson, and Farr, 2006);

(3) Lesson #3 -- Regularly exercise your command and control organization as part of a comprehensive business continuity and continuity of operations exercise strategy (Striedl, Crosson, and Farr, 2006);

(4) Less #4 -- Responsible businesses should make responsible decisions for their employees even if government agencies do not provide guidance. This can be done through: (a) proactively monitoring conditions; (b) make decisions based on available information; (c) if a government agency, get involved in the dialogue through emergency management center if possible; (d) communicate with local or state emergency management agencies during non-disaster times to self-educate on their disaster plans. Build business plans accordingly. (Striedl, Crosson, and Farr, 2006)

(5) Lesson #5 -- Review employee education and family preparedness planning as part of BC plans. Improve and enhance where necessary (Striedl, Crosson, and Farr, 2006);

(6) Lesson #6 & # 7 -- Businesses in potential disaster areas should stage resources outside the 'danger zone' and consider likelihood of travel difficulties post disaster. (Striedl, Crosson, and Farr, 2006)

Recommendations stated in the work entitled "Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina and the Role for Standards and Conformity Assessment Programs" include that plans and systems must be strengthened in the response to disasters and catastrophes and as the private sector is in control of 85% of the nation's infrastructure, privately owned businesses need to be better prepared to disasters and other catastrophes. Specifically noted is the need for the development of and resourcing for a "deliberative, integrated and execution system in combination with specific contingency plans integration in order to address capabilities and gaps." (ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel, 2007) Planning for continuity of operations is also stated as of primary importance as well as ensuring that there is a "basic line of succession for key management positions" and the protection f "essential records, facilities, and equipment." (ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel, 2007) Also noted was a need for setting standards that better positioned federal assets to state and local entities and development of more robust private sector partnerships by DOD and its strategic logistic planners. (ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel, 2007, paraphrased)

The work entitled "Surviving the Big One: 7 Lessons Learned from the Decade's Deadliest Disasters" states that businesses should take heed from lessons learned and ensure that they "…plan a backup site in advance. It is reported that following Hurricane Katrina hitting "Tulane University's IT team was able to recover its backup tapes, but the New Orleans data center was without power, and no backup site had been prearranged." (Computer Word, 2008) However, this has all changed as the university is now signed on as a SunGard customer and entitled to a mobile data center that could be used for local processing." (Computer Word, 2008) In addition, backup tapes are now sent to Baton Rouge three times each week.

Secondly, businesses are advice to "take control" of their telecommunications and it is related that F.A. Richard & Associates, an insurance firm "like many other companies…hadn't expected the local telecommunications failure triggered by Hurricane Katrina." (Computer Word, 2008) However, this agency is now signed up with "various cell phone providers using multiple area codes. The firm can now also reroute its own 800-number services in emergencies, via the Web." (Computer Word, 2008) The third stated suggestion is being ready for power outages of an extended nature and it is reported that at the time Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana coast that there was a lack of batteries and power for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and that its employees were relying on text messaging for communication purposes. However, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has "revamped…[its]…disaster recovery plan, IT employees carry car chargers for their cell phones" and as well there is a new disaster plan for hotel and casino personnel. (Computer Word, 2008)

Stated third is that businesses should make choice of a 'low-threat' data center location and it is reported that Hancock Bank's Gulfport, Mississippi data center which was located only one half mile from the Gulf of Mexico was demolished during Hurricane Katrina. However, Hancock Bank's new $16 million data center, while still in Gulfport, is a "hardened, lights-out facility…located farther inland on the highest point in the area" and able to withstand winds up to 200 mph. (Computer Word, 2008) The next recommendation is one that touts speeding up server file replication as an ideal method for use in disaster situations. The report states that the virtual server of Hancock Bank was of the nature that could be set up quickly on hardware in a backup data center. However, the problem was that getting the data there and loading from the tape consumed 36 hours time. Hancock Bank now has a new system that "reduces the boot recovery pr4ocess to about 45 minutes time. (Computer Word, 2008)

The next recommendation stated is to 'layer on communication methods' as experience during Hurricane Katrina resulted in the discovery that various components for telecommunications were "fading in and out." ( Computer Word, 2008) It is reported that the recovery team for Marriot learned that the best method for keeping communication channels open among its employees was the use of a mixture of cell phones and Blackberry devices with various carriers. (Computer Word, 2008, paraphrased) Stated as the seventh recommendation is that a mirrored infrastructure should be created and should be of the nature that "allows data to be whisked off-site immediately." (Computer Word, 2008)

Following Hurricane Katrina and the incident of September 11, 2001, 'BENS Business Force" was formed which is an organization comprised of business executives and formed for the purpose of assisting with national security in the event of a disaster. BENS involves several programs and the first of which is 'Organized Collaboration' including:

(1) a business operations center in which businesses link to state and local government Emergency Operations Centers to improve communication before, during and following a crisis; and (2) an information/intelligence fusion center in which businesses link to state and local Fusion Center to improve information sharing with law enforcement and intelligence communities. (BENS Business Force, 2006)

The second program is the 'Surge Capacity/Supply Chain' comprised by the following and accompanying descriptions:

(1) Business Response Network -- Businesses make needed resources, including trucks, warehouses, people with specific skills, all available on a pro bono basis via a web-based registry;

(2) Emergency Preparedness Training -- BENS recruits companies to create Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). (BENS Business Force, 2006)

The third program is the 'Mass Vaccination/Treatment' program which includes:

(1) Strategic National Stockpile Partnership -- businesses assist in distribution and dispensing of vaccines and other medical supplies in a major medical emergency; and (2) Workplace…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:

"ACP_Hurricane_Katrina_Observations.pdf" 

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