Every year is almost always bad in terms of calamities and disasters for the Philippines, but last year was amongst the worst, a big earthquake, and a world record hurricane hit central Philippines. Once more, the preparedness of the Philippines was called into question. As somebody from the tech industry, we have lots of responses from governments and businesses – what do we do in order to insure business continuity? That means how do we prepare so that when disaster struck, we can minimize the damage and recover and bounce back fast? Obviously, we can minimize life lost, and we can insure property so that we can somehow spread the risk. However, in the last 20 years , another factor has been called into question – what about our data and operational capability?
The 9/11 tragedy on the world trade center, and the several disasters have highlighted something about businesses — those that lose their data ( like for example a business, you lose your inventory or receivables data as it is wiped out) would have very big difficulty to recover. In fact a study by McKinsey showed that upto 93% of companies who could not recover their data within a few weeks and get back to their operational capability would become bankrupt. So it is imperative that we understand the risks, and be prepared.
In this context let me tell a story. There was a group of college students who went out to a picnic. It was summer, and therefore nobody prepared anything to anticipate a rainy day, except one. In the middle of the picnic, the clouds started to darken, and eventually rained poured. The students knowing that they did not bring anything, started running for cover, except one. This person was very confident. After all, she did prepare by bringing an umbrella, so she did not panic. She went about slowly gathering her things. However, the rain suddenly poured all the way down, and it was too much for her umbrella, which was damaged. That was the only time that she started running. I guess you know what happened – the person who prepared something actually became the most wet.
This was what happened to Leyte, though we should not discount the ferocity of the typhoon. IN many ways, the people had prepared something, and was overconfident. So they were not unduly alarmed, and I guess that was the reason why so many people suffered, and it took them so long to get back. So next time, always be prepared, and always save something for a rainy day. Always back up your data, and make sure you have another copy of your data elsewhere! And be aware of one thing – a little preparation can actually be more dangerous than no preparation at all, if it causes you to be careless and overconfident.