Not the Unthinkable, But What We Didn’t Think Of: Preparing For and Recovering From Disaster
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Not the Unthinkable, But What We Didn’t Think Of: Preparing For and Recovering From Disaster

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The flooding of New Orleans that followed hurricane Katrina devastated the city and begged the question of not just how institutions prepare for and survive disaster, but how they recover from it. This presentation examines the experience of The Historic New Orleans Collection in the context of the very active 2005 hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico. It discusses the level or preparation carried out and the effects of the scope of the disaster on staff effectiveness and recovery operations.

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  • The Cabildo fire of 1988 exemplified the benefits of advanced planning. Although it appeared that firefighters delayed needlessly before turning hoses on the fire that destroyed much of the third floor of the historic structure, they were in fact following a disaster plan that involved covering valuable artifacts with waterproof tarps. This act saved a major portion of the museum’s furniture collection.
  • In add
  • Hundreds of gigabytes of image files were stored on a NAS that, at that particular point in time, could not be backed up by the existing tape backup system. As the period of time that the museum remained closed and without power extended, these files were increasingly at risk.
  • One way trusted information was dispensed was through the creation of targeted discussion lists that hosted information from people on the ground. This is web-discussion list created for a neighborhood association in an uptown neighborhood.

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  • 1. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Not the Unthinkable, But What We Didn’t Think Of Preparing For and Recovering From Disaster Charles Patch Director of Systems The Historic New Orleans Collection
  • 2. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Hurricane Katrina was the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history. The overall destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, which was both a large and powerful hurricane as well as a catastrophic flood, vastly exceeded that of any other major disaster, such as the Chicago Fire of 1871, the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992. – The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina, Lessons Learned. Department of Homeland Security, February 2006 Disaster in the Real World The Official Word
  • 3. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Living in a post disaster world
  • 4. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Living in a post disaster world  City population < half of pre-Katrina levels  > 60% of city uninhabited  20 public schools in operation  15% of student body  5 of 14 branches of public library open  No second class mail delivery  Most museums and archives not open until late February
  • 5. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Living in a Post Disaster World Condition of Public Libraries in LA Post-Katrina
  • 6. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract  TERMS:  Business Activities  Business Continuity Plan  Business Impact Analysis (BIA)  Business Interruption Event  Business Process  Business Resource  Business Resumption Plan  Control  Key Business Process  Maximum Acceptable Outage (MAO)  Outage  Procedures  Resources  Risk Event  Risk Management Plan  Service Area Contingency Plan
  • 7. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract  Business Continuity Management (BCM) is part of a larger Risk Management Plan  Disaster Recovery is a subset of BCM  Risk Management considers both negative and positive risk  The Prime Directive: Plan for the best, prepare for the worst  Proactive design and implementation of controls to prevent risks from occurring  Reactive design of controls to mitigate effects of adverse events that occur.
  • 8. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: Overview of Risk Management Process Review operation and continuing suitability of controls Monitor and Review Establish plan. Implement controlsImplement Controls Identify, analyze, rate and prioritize risks Evaluate design of existing controls. Redesign controls if necessary Identify and Assess Risks Determine key business objectives, processes and resources Establish Context
  • 9. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: Organizational Context Organizational Objectives Output Group Output Group Output Group key business process key business process key business process key business process key business process Business Support Process Business Support Process Business Support Process
  • 10. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: Organizational Context Collect, Interpret, Display Cultural Materials for General Public Administration Collections Management Information Systems Payroll Facilities management Accounts Payable Acquisitions Data storage File hours with Paychecks Inc. Create loan records in Collection Management System Create semi-weekly backups of all data
  • 11. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: Risk Management Process No Yes No Yes Determine Possible Risk Events using risk framework Determine likelihood and consequence without control in place Determine risk level and compare with acceptable risk Acceptable ? Evaluate design of existing controls Determine likelihood and consequence with control in place Determine risk level and compare with acceptable risk Acceptable ? Redesign controls Record in Risk Register Identify Analyze Evaluate Control Document
  • 12. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: Risk Identification
  • 13. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: Analysis & Evaluation  Is a risk minor (acceptable) or major (unacceptable)?  What is “acceptable”?  What are the consequences in terms of resources?  Do they have a detrimental impact on  Staff  Facilities  Collections  Telecommunications  Information Systems  Rank the consequences on the degree of impact on these resources  What is it worth to you?  A consequence can be minor if its fullest possible impact will not be detrimental to institutional resources.  Last question: will a consequence have an impact on normal business operations?  Events which have detrimental impacts on resources are likely to impact business operations <- remember this!
  • 14. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: Controls  Preventative Controls  Stop the risk from occurring in the first place  E.g.: require passwords to access the computer system  Ban flammable solvents from processing areas  Corrective Controls  Minimize the consequence of a risk event once it has occurred  Emergency conservation supplies  Backup tapes for computer system  Evaluate current control mechanisms  If the consequences remain unacceptable, redesign them
  • 15. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: Monitor and Review  Incorporate risk management into normal business operations  Strategic planning  Budget process  Facilities Maintenance  Make risk management part of operational management  Supervisors and key workers participate in planning and analysis  Sign-offs by managers on risk controls  Practice procedures  Structured walk-through  Review for validity  Confirmation of supplies needed
  • 16. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: The BCM  A Business Continuity Plan is a Corrective Control  An interruption in a Business Process is an adverse consequence of a risk event  A complete interruption of this sort is an Outage.  How long can an Outage be tolerated before the viability of the organization is threatened?  This duration is the Maximum Acceptable Outage (MAO) Risk Management Conrols Preventative Corrective Disaster Recovery Business Continuity
  • 17. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: The BCM  Business Continuity in 6 arduous steps  Initiate the project:  Identify Key Processes:  Conduct a Business Impact Analysis:  Design Continuity Controls  Implement the controls  Test and Maintain the plan
  • 18. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Abstract: The Controls (but only for the collections) 1. Design Continuity Controls  Review existing controls  Identify and evaluate options and alternatives  Select the alternative activities and resources 2. Implement the controls  Establish recovery teams  Document “Service Area” action steps  Establish event escalation process  Obtain and consolidate contact and inventory lists  Document recovery management process 3. Test and Maintain the plan  Paper test  Manual Verification  Supply validation  Supply, Service and equipment availability  Structured walkthrough  Unannounced team assembly
  • 19. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World:  Background: The Yearly Drill  Street flooding is common  Hurricane / Tropical Storm alerts are yearly events in New Orleans
  • 20. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: Cindy – Wednesday 7/6/05
  • 21. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: Dennis –Sunday 7/10/05
  • 22. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: Katrina – Monday 8/29/05
  • 23. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: Living With the Past
  • 24. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: What we did right Routine procedures  Keep Buildings maintained and up to code  Fire alarms, fire extinguishers checked on semi-yearly basis  Routine roof inspections  Plumbing and electrical services kept to code or better  Lighting and signage maintained properly  Given the choice, try not to put things where they could be harmed  Follow best practices for data management and storage  Make duplicates or copies of important documentation and store them offsite  E.g.: All accession records and documentation microfilmed at the end of each year, including updates to active collections  Stored in two difference places, one offsite
  • 25. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: What we did right Routine procedures File plans with local fire and police departments Be sure that room and floor designations are the same in all documentation, including insurance, collections management systems and fire department plans. Consider requiring third-person contact numbers Keep current contact lists for vendors, lenders, staff and emergency services
  • 26. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 What We Did Right: Disaster Preparation  Disaster preparedness planTHE HISTORIC NEW ORLEANS COLLECTION DISASTER PREPAREDNESS PLAN TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Mission Statement/Staff Assignments Page 4 II. Emergency Prevention Strategies Page 8 III. Communication in the Event of Page 10 an Emergency IV. Visitor Safety A. Fire Page 11 B. Illness Page 11 C. Accidents Page 12 D. Robbery Page 12 E. Vandalism Page 12 F. Bomb Threat Page 13 V. Emergency Resources Page 15 Building Resources Page 16 Collections Resources Page 17 VI. Supplies Page 20 VII. Fire Prevention Page 21 VIII. Hurricane Preparedness Page 22 IX. Disaster Preparedness A. 533 Royal Street 1. General Page 24 2. Fire Page 24 3. Hurricane Page 25 (General, fire, hurricane are addressed for each building) B. 714 Toulouse C. 718 Toulouse D. 722 Toulouse E. 726-728 Toulouse F. 410 Chartres G. 521 Tchoupitoulas X. After a Disaster Page 41 Appendix A - Maintenance Checklist Page 42 Appendix B - Information Flow Table Page 43 Telephone Lists Page 44 Appendix C - Bomb Threat Page 46 Appendix D - Williams Residence Priority List Page 48 Appendix E - Chartres Street Receptionist Guidelines Page 52 Recovery assistance Collections Kid Gloves, Inc. 733-6765 Ron Grose (chandeliers) 831-1669 Ellis S. Joubert (metals) 899-1746 Conservators Book/paper Christine Smith (703) 836-7757 Northwest Document Conservation Center (508) 470-1010 Alan Balicki (212) 873-3400 ex.287 home (718) 855-1723 Jim Stroud (512) 471-9117 Chris Young (615) 227-0538 Painting Richard White 822-4567 Cynthia Stow (615) 269-3868 Barry Bauman (312) 944-5401 Perry Huston (817) 595-4131 Claire Barry (212) 737-4786 Louise Beeson (and frames) 241-2587
  • 27. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 What We Did Right: Staff Preparation  Regular testing of alarm system and drills  Training of docent staff in emergency procedures  All areas kept stocked with emergency supplies
  • 28. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World What We Did Right 3: Disaster Preparation  Prioritization of materials
  • 29. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: What We Did Right  Storm monitored by Disaster Coordinator from first appearance early in the week when still a tropical storm  Emergency supplies checked, calls made to confirm that all staff has copy of Disaster manual  Preparation Meeting held Friday morning, August 26th in directors office  Emergency message activated  Staff put on alert  Head count of who is available this day and the next  Initial clean-up of processing areas completed  Storm monitored throughout day  Saturday, escalation of probable hit, staff called in at 7:30 AM, 16 people respond.
  • 30. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World What We Did Right: Set Up  Saturday 7:45AM:  Fresh computer backup tapes produced  Collection Management System data and Membership/Development data compressed and sent via FTP to vendors  Computer system shut down and disconnected from power source  Major servers moved to second floor of buildings and covered with plastic sheeting  Phone system shut down and disconnected from power source  Art work removed from exterior walls  Sunday:  Remaining staff either evacuates city or takes protective measures at their homes  Hurricane raised to Category 5, then Category 4 status; Direct hit procedures invoked. Five staff return to carry out remaining preparations  Removal of all work remaining materials in processing from floors and surface areas  Relocation of all art works on first to second floors
  • 31. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World What We Did Right: Set Up  Building Preparation
  • 32. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: August 28, Sunday: The Evacuation  Mayor declares mandatory evacuation on Sunday morning  Extremely difficult travel conditions prevail  8 to 12 hours to reach Baton Rouge (80 mile)  Director contacts all department heads by phone to establish whereabouts  Director and several other staff members stay to ride out storm
  • 33. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World: 8/29 – 9/3 : Katrina “misses” New Orleans  Hurricane tracks to the East of the city  Power and phone service throughout Southern part of state lost during most of Monday  Monday night, most believe New Orleans has “dodged the bullet” again and plan return to the city on Tuesday morning.  Tuesday morning television reports 80% of city is under water  Phone service dysfunctional, cable and Internet access extremely rare  By Wednesday there are 100,000 extra people in Baton Rouge  Wednesday NO School board announces that school is suspended for the year  Initial reports suggest it will be months before the city can be inhabited again  Most evacuees begin looking for long- term living arrangements
  • 34. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World What we did right: The Evacuation  We learned to work the damaged phone system  Lesson: cell phones worked via text message in the New Orleans area and with voice when calling outside the New Orleans area code.  First Contact: Tuesday night, August 30  Staff members in the area organize rescue of valuable materials.  Initially planned for September 2, delayed because of conditions until September 8  “High Priority” materials were clearly marked and were stored in easily accessed locations  Offsite location for materials established upstate  Movers retained on special contract called in  Google Group created 9/1 after contact with Minisis Inc.  Staff assured of continued employment, salary and benefits  This is the first message posted to the list that is not a response to the “Where are you?” query.  Staff web page created 9/5  Most valuable collections rescued 9/8  Network gear rescued 9/8  Personnel Database created 9/13
  • 35. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006
  • 36. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006
  • 37. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006
  • 38. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World What Went Right: The Evacuation  Staff stayed of their own volition  Our vendor becomes our go-between  Staff members found the Google Group  Our web master took the site with him on his laptop  Our network manager was close enough to join the convoy  Our vendor anticipated our need for a personnel database  The French Quarter was spared and sufficient staff were on hand to open the facility on October 3.
  • 39. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World What We Could Have Done Better  No designated essential personnel  Compounded by timing issues  A failure to communicate  Dependence on phone system for communications  No working email addresses  No common contact point for reaching individual staff members  Administration chose to stay close to the physical institution rather than communication hubs.  Most were in rural areas with poor or no Internet access  Nearly all communication from the administration was by cell phone, which worked only sporadically  Administration did not take advantage of communications channels  Tended to wait until staff contacted them rather than contacting staff  Rarely posted information on the staff web page or the Personnel DB bulletin board  No alternative admin site  And no policy for defining how to recognize a workable alternative  No back-up network site  Inadequate conservation supplies on site  Most suppliers for recovery materials listed in handbook were local
  • 40. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World What We Could Have Done Better  Some things we didn’t think of (that might have been caught in a risk analysis)  Book Trucks  The Real Truck:  Who was going to drive this?  The giant image files that weren’t backed up  Network “single point of failure” (actually 4 potential failure points)  Magnetic Locks (no electricity, no security)  Time lost to making ad hoc arrangements  No pre-arranged alternative “home” for rescued collections  No pre-arrangements for care of “essential staff” before or after disaster  No plan for setting up network in alternative location while staff was disbursed  (as opposed to securing backups)
  • 41. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Real World What Didn’t Go Well?
  • 42. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Lessons Learned  Increases in scope and intensity increase impact of a disaster.  Impact can vary in regard to timing:  As intensity increases, the greater the need for fast recovery measures  The recovery of materials may be time-dependent  Severely damaged physical plants need immediate stabilization  As scope increases, recovery becomes more difficult to execute  Common services and infrastructure may be unavailable  Scope and intensity can affect how you recover  Materials  Human Resources  Property  Both scope and intensity hamper the execution of business processes  A widespread disaster can prevent access to facilities as much as an intense but localized disaster
  • 43. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Lessons Learned  Roles:  Disaster Recovery Coordinator  Service Area Teams / leaders  Vendors / Service Providers  Chosen on an “as available” basis
  • 44. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future: Lessons Learned The Inconvenience of the personal lives of personnel  “Normal” personnel issues  Employees with dependents  Employees with physical disabilities  Extended absences of employees with critical knowledge  Disaster issues that exacerbate personnel problems  People with dependents need more time to prepare for an evacuation  People with dependents cannot respond as quickly to emergency calls as those without dependents  People with dependents may not be able to return as early as others  E.g.: no school in New Orleans until January 2006  E.g.: inadequate medical care
  • 45. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Lessons Learned?  Most forms of communication will fail  No single source will provide adequate information concerning real events  Individuals or small groups working independently were most effective  Data redundancy is highly desirable  Professionals involved in activities unrelated to what authorities regard as the central economic interests of the city and region will be marginalized
  • 46. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Lessons Learned?  Communications 101  Mechanics:  Create multiple forms of asynchronous communication  Out-of-Region phone bulletin board  Web discussion groups/web pages/staff directories  “Real” bulletin board on site for leaving paper messages to other staff  Develop policies for choosing administrative sites that provide for access to the disaster area AND good communications
  • 47. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Lessons Learned?  Communications 201  Semantics:  Create a protocol for communicating with staff  Procedures for posting staff supplied information  Scheduled administrative updates and news  “Test the channel”  No news is bad news
  • 48. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Information  Weigh all information carefully and whenever possible, rely on trusted sources in the area If the images were to be reduced to a sentence in the minds of Uptown New Orleans, that sentence would be: Crazy black people with automatic weapons are out hunting white people, and there's no bag limit! "The perspective you are getting from me," one of Fort Huger's foot soldiers said, as he walked around the living room with an M-16, "is the perspective of the guy who is getting disinformation and reacting accordingly.“ -Michael Lewis Wading Toward Home New York Times Magazine, Oct 9, 2005 “We heard stories about helicopters being shot. But you’ve been in helicopters, and you know how noisy they are. The only way you know you have been shot at is if there’s a bullet hole,” Landreneau said. “There were no shots fired at our helicopters.” -Maj. Gen. Benny Landreneau, Louisiana National Guard commander , quoted in “What We Signed Up For” by John Hill, Louisiana Life Magazine, March 2006 The media’s willingness to report thinly attributed rumors may . . . have contributed to a cultural wreckage that will not clean up easily. . . . Victims, officials and reporters all took one of the most horrific events in American history and made it worse than it actually was,” Lecture by New York Times media reporter David Carr, September 2005 “Four weeks after the storm, few of the widely reported atrocities have been backed with evidence,” - Times-Picayune September 26, 2005 The New York Times has confirmed that one person was murdered at the Convention Center and one at the Superdome, and the Times-Picayune has confirmed that a National Guardsman was attacked by an assailant wielding a metal rod in the darkened Dome. The coroner’s early report implies that the murder rate among those stranded in Katrina’s aftermath was at least five times New Orleans’s normal murder rate. This real, not imagined, violence prevented New Orleans from getting the level of volunteer and professional help it needed after Katrina. -“Who’s Killing New Orleans?” Nicole Gelinas, City Journal, Autumn 2005, http://www.city-journal.org/index.html  Information: Who To Believe?
  • 49. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Information: Local Discussion Lists
  • 50. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Information: Local Discussion Lists
  • 51. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Facilitate Independent Agency  Provide materials for short term survival as well as collections care.  Leverage the actions of individuals by providing some method of coordinating among disparate players “Response to Katrina is less dependent on traditional disaster plans than on improvised actions as conditions permit.” -Report of Hurricane Katrina Damage Assessment: Debra Hess Norris (Heritage Preservation) Richard Pearce-Moses (Society of American Archivists) David Carmichael (Council of State Archivists) 21 September 2005
  • 52. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Have Have More More Than One One  Off-site storage of data  Meta-data tagging of individual digital assets  Cooperative arrangements for network operations with sister institutions  Cooperative arrangements for physical storage with sister institutions
  • 53. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Have Have More More Than One One Just a few miles west of Pass Christian, the Hancock County Historical Society in Bay St. Louis fared much better with very little water damage and a vault that held, protecting thousands of documents, including family diaries and thousands of local photographs. Charles Harry Gray, the executive director, was prepared in case disaster struck. Over the years he had been making copies of all of the group's most treasured documents, including 30,000 pictures. Not one single photograph or record was lost. They are the pieces of Bay St. Louis' 306-year history that made the town of 8,230 what it is today, he said. Many of the copies were on computer disks and hard drives, others were sent to the University of Southern Mississippi, two hours north in Hattiesburg. "It is imperative that you have copies in other locations because you never know what's going to happen, what the next catastrophe is going to be, and there certainly will be one," Gray said.
  • 54. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Responding to Disaster in the Future Disenfranchisement Though archivists began asking for re-entry into the city on August 31…(all) requests for attention to historic paper records were denied…The Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism failed to include archivists on planned reconnaissance trips into the city or to include anyone from the archival community in its planning meetings Susan Tucker Curator of Archives at the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women Email, 10/14/2005
  • 55. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 If this ever happens again…  All staff should have a web-based email address .  Publish and update as part of the recovery documentation  All staff should provide a contact phone number outside of the region  We should establish a telephone bulletin board outside of the institution  We should consider a subscription to a satellite phone service  All department heads should have lap-top computers  Online forum should be set up permanently with a single instructional message  At least one institutional email address that is hosted on an off-site server  Staff-only emergency web page should be set up permanently  Policy for alternative administrative site  Not necessarily choose an actual location but develop criteria for choosing one  Develop cooperative arrangements with other institutions for storing collections  Develop cooperative arrangements with other institutions to host our computing equipment and run our network  Contract for archiving of digital assets that are difficult to transmit or store easily to tape
  • 56. Harvard Art Museums April 11, 2006 Web Sites of Interest  Business Continuity Management  NEDRIX - New England Disaster Recovery Information X-change  http://www.nedrix.com/  Risk Management Standards  http://www.incom.com.au/enterprise-risk-management-standards.htm  Better Practice Guide - Business Continuity Management - Keeping  http://www.anao.gov.au/WebSite.nsf/Publications/4A256AE90015F69B 4A2568EE0010062B  National Archives of Australia - Business continuity planning for di  http://www.naa.gov.au/recordkeeping/er/guidelines/9-continuity.html  Business Continuity Planning & Disaster Recovery Planning World  http://www.disasterrecoveryworld.com/