New Orleans After Isaac – Update 2

New Orleans After Isaac – Update 2

Progress in recovering power is moving slowly. Today Entergy reports they “expect to make significant progress today and through the weekend restoring power.” They expect to restore power to 90% of customers “who can take power” by September 6. But the statsu today looks a lot like yesterday. See below.

Global Data Vault continues to support our online data backup and our disaster recovery customers. Some customers have reported they expect to be without power for two weeks.



Legend: Blue = 1 to 50, Yellow = 51 to 250 and Red = 251 to 1,000 power outages. Red lines are failed power lines.

Business Continuity Survey: How prepared are businesses?

Business Continuity Survey: How prepared are businesses?

We couldn’t quite take our eyes off this recent study conducted by Forrester Research and Disaster Recovery Journal. The results were so compelling.

Titled, “State of Business Continuity Preparedness,” 300 DRJ members shared their insights and fears into what puts their business continuity at risk:

  • 61% of respondents were from organizations with 1,000 or more employees
  • with revenues ranging from under $500 million to more than $10 billion
  • and represented a variety of industries primarily from North America (82%).

Some of the key findings:

The top three reasons for increased risk to business continuity are:

  • increased reliance on technology (48%)
  • business organization complexity (37%)
  • increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters (36%)


The respondents’ indicated that the following issues are either currently addressed or they plan to address them in future business continuity planning (respondents were asked to select all that apply):

  • IT failure (91%)
  • Natural disaster/extreme weather (84%)
  • Power outage (80%)
  • Fire (79%)
  • Telecommunication failure (75%)
  • Epidemic/pandemic (72%)
  • Flood (59%)
  • Cyber attack or IT security incident (53%)
  • Utility outage such as gas, water, sewer (53%)
  • Employee health and safety incident (49%)
  • Environmental accident (49%)
  • Supply chain disruption (42%)
  • Terrorist event 41%
  • Negative publicity cover/damage to corporate reputation (33%)
  • Sabotage (28%)
  • Other (7%)


Strategies for workforce continuity or recovery include the following (the survey requested a “select all” response)

  • Provision employees with remote access technologies so they can work remotely from a location with Internet access (81%)
  • Use another internal site as an alternate site for work area recovery (69%)
  • Arrange for mobile recovery units (23%)
  • Subscribe to shared seats at a BC/DR service provider site (23%)
  • Susbrcibe to dedicated seats at a BC/DR service provider site (15%)


In the past five years, respondents had to use their business continuity plan:

  • Never (39%)
  • Once (18%)
  • Twice (15%)
  • Greater than 5 (12%)
  • Three times (10%)
  • Four times (4%)
  • Five times (2%)


Why did they have to implement their business continuity plan? The reasons:

  • Natural disaster/extreme weather (55%)
  • Power outage (49%)
  • IT failure (36%)
  • Flood (28%)
  • Fire (18%)
  • Telecommunication failure (14%)
  • Utility outage (13%)
  • Epidemic/pandemic (12%)
  • Other (8%)
  • Employee health and safety incident (7%)
  • Environmental accident (7%)
  • Cyber attack / IT security incident (4%)
  • Terrorist event (3%)
  • Negative publicity coverage / damage to corporate reputation (1%)
  • Sabotage (0%)



Disaster Planning – Pacific Coast Tsunami Preparations

Disaster Planning – Pacific Coast Tsunami Preparations

The Cascadia subduction zone is a 600-mile-long offshore earthquake fault that runs from northern California to southern British Columbia. And that fault has a serious tale to tell. Geologists have found sand deposits up and down the Pacific coast along this zone, the result of a tsunami a little over 300 years ago.

Three hundred years is a long time and that bit of trivia in and of itself may not seem threatening, but pair it with what scientists now know about earthquake patterns, and the Pacific Northwest Coasters should be trembling in fear – or at least preparing for an impending disaster in the very near future.

“I think all subduction zones are guilty until proven otherwise,” Dr. Kerry Sieh told National Geographic in their February 2012 issue. Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, is one of the world’s leading paleoseismologist. He spends his days obsessing over geologic records for evidence of ancient earthquakes and tsunamis, and identifies what he calls, “supercycles” or clusters of big earthquakes that occur at regular and predictable intervals. (more…)

Predicting Natural Disasters – Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Predicting Natural Disasters – Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Tsunamis are arguably one of the most devastating and difficult to predict natural disasters. Evidence of this is the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which is considered among the deadliest in human history, credited with more than 230,000 people killed in 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean.

tsunami-9227937_sWhile the science is nowhere near exact, researchers are closely examining vulnerable areas of the world based on the theory that history does and will repeat itself. They have found what they refer to as “supercycles,” or clusters of big earthquakes occurring at regular intervals. It’s these underwater earthquakes that have the potential to create tsunamis of epic proportions.

Leading the supercycles charge is Dr. Kerry Sieh, currently serving as director of the Earth Observatory at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. Sieh is one of the world’s leading paleoseismologists studying earthquake patterns. He and his team have discovered that for at least the past 700 years, pairs of large earthquakes have occurred about every 200 years on a segment of the Sunda megathrust, a fault extending 3,300 miles from the southwestern side of Sumatra to the south of Java and Bali and ending near Australia. The earthquakes in each pair were separated by roughly 30 years. Sieh found there had been a pair of quakes around years 1350 and 1380, another pair in the early to mid 1600s, and a third pair n 1797 and 1833. (more…)

Solar flares and their effect on technology

Solar flares and their effect on technology

My iphone has been behaving badly the last couple of days. I blame solar flares.

You can stop laughing, solar flares are very real. And while they may not be the actual culprit of MY wireless communication device’s deviant ways – they do have the ability to wreack havoc with satellites and power grids.

Basically it works like this: The sun spits a big giant piece of its atmosphere at us at 5 million miles an hour (which is 5 times faster than solar particles usually travel) and that slams into the earth’s magnetic field. It’s that fluctuation (or “tsunami in space” as the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA calls it) in the magnetic field that can affect our communications technology and power systems.

Before you brush this off as a “never gonna happen,” make note that in 1989, a solar flare knocked out the electrical systems in Quebec, Canada.

There’s an upside to this sci-fi weather forecast too however. The after-effect of the sun’s spitball is that many areas of the world are privy to stunning Northern Lights — Aurora Borealis – displays that would normally be reserved for less inhabited regions of the earth. Much of Great Britain is in awe of the astonishing night sky. (See Images here) (more…)