The importance of a comprehensive continuity of operations plan is perfectly demonstrated with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. The superstorm made landfall on the East Coast of the United States four months ago, yet businesses are still working toward a full recovery.
In lower Manhattan, near the South Street Seaport, the roads are deserted and small businesses are trying to find ways to bring back customers. The Associated Press profiled several struggling companies in a recent article.
Adam Weprin, manager of the Bridge Cafe, one of the city's oldest bars, told the AP that many people have no idea how badly this area of New York was hit. He said that it is now a ghost town with construction happening.
According to the news source, 85 percent of small businesses near the South Street Seaport are still boarded up. For example, Fulton Street – home to a tourist-friendly pedestrian walkway – does not have a single one of its chain stores reopened. Included in that list are Coach, Ann Taylor and Brookstone.
"The neighborhood's been beaten," Weprin said. "You walk around here and it's like Chernobyl. At night, it's vacated."
Con Edison, a utility company, said 10 major buildings remained without power as of February 13, with most operating on emergency generators. One 27-story building that spans an entire block near the New York Stock Exchange, had to terminate all of its leases because the building suffered such severe flood damage.
There has also been spotty internet and phone service, which has hindered businesses' efforts to recuperate. Verizon Wireless told the AP that as of mid-February, 10 percent of its customers still had little or no service.
Without up-to-date business continuity planning, it will be exceedingly difficult for companies of all sizes to bounce back from a natural disaster. Business resumption can be quick with comprehensive planning and thorough training of employees.