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All Ears: Hurricane Warning

A reminder, gentle reader, as you head into the holiday weekend that the summer months can bring ungentle weather. The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season started June 1 and promises to be above average. And that isn’t good.The latest forecast from hurricane experts Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray of Colorado State University puts the probability of a category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane hitting the U.S. coastline at 69%, compared with the average 52% for the last century.

We called up Harriett Kummer, senior director at SunGard Availability Services Consulting in Alpahretta, Ga., for her thoughts on what CIOs need to be thinking about as they fine-tune their disaster recovery plans.

SunGard worked with more than 200 businesses hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The “consistent theme” in their recovery stories, Kummer said, was they had not done enough to prepare the people directly involved in the recovery efforts. They told Kummer they should have practiced the recovery plan more; assigned backups — key people will be unavailable; and made sure funds were available to lodge employees near recovery centers. Other lessons learned? Families need to go along when recovery efforts stretch from days to weeks. There needs to be at least three means of communicating with employees, because the most obvious mode — cell phones, for example — can fail.

Listen to Harriet talk about putting people first: [display_podcast]

For the story of how Shane Loper, COO of Hancock Bank, oversaw the Gulfport, Miss., bank’s recovery and construction of a new $16 million data center, click here.

Have a happy and safe July 4.

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