One aspect of a compliance program is disaster recovery. Investors want to know that your operations can be up and running if something goes wrong. Although first thoughts go to an extraordinary event like the World Trade Center attacks, the problem is more likely to be something less dramatic.
From today’s headlines, it may be time to look at your disaster recovery plans in case of a pandemic. If Swine Flu keeps most of your workforce at home, what do you do?
But first you should decide whether you need to worry about the Swine Flu. The culprit is an unusual new virus known as A/H1N1, which is a form of swine flu that has made its way from pigs into humans. This is an entirely new hybrid strain composed of pig, bird and human viruses. As to whether it risks becoming a pandemic, that depends on the severity of the effects and how easily it is transmitted.
Over 1,500 Mexicans have been afflicted with symptoms that may be the result of this new virus. But it is not yet confirmed whether the cause of most of these cases was A/H1N1 or commonplace strains of influenza. Five American states—California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and New York—have confirmed mild cases of A/H1N1. So too has Canada, Britain, Israel and New Zealand. One theory is that college students have been bringing the virus back to the U.S. after college spring break in Mexico.
On the very good side of things, reports indicate that the Mexican swine flu virus is susceptible to the most widely stockpiled flu antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and its relatives. If the effects are severe and it is very contagious, tools are available to fight it.
You can judge whether you should be alarmed at the Swine Flu outbreak. (I am not.) But you should take this as an opportunity to test your disaster recovery plan and make sure you can still be up and running if your workforce is not in the office.
And just to be safe, don’t kiss pigs.
- An Unwelcome Mexican Wave from The Economist
- Swine Flu: What You Need to Know from New Scientist
- Europe Urges Citizens to Avoid U.S. and Mexico Travel from the New York Times
- Update Your Pandemic Plan NOW by Roberta J. Witty of Gartner
- The FBIIC/FSSCC Pandemic Flu Exercise of 2007, a large-scale testing of business pandemic plans (.pdf)
- PandemicFlu.gov – One-stop access to U.S. government avian and pandemic flu information
- CDC/DHS Press Conference; WHO pandemic alert level; Epidemiology Update from the Center for Biosecurity