Pending Doom

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Pending Doom


There's nothing like an earthquake to get one thinking about disaster recovery. As I sat in my Queens apartment thinking about what to write for my editor's note, the floor started moving.

Those of you who know me are aware that I have a lot of trouble sitting still, so at first I thought it was the momentum of my rocking back and forth in my chair, except when I planted my feet on the floor the movement continued.

The folks in our Jersey City office were evacuated, as were many other offices in Manhattan as the 5.8 magnitude earthquake -- the strongest to hit the East Coast in decades -- shook buildings from Georgia to as far North as Canada and resulted in more than 3 million earthquake-related status updates in Facebook, and 40,000 related tweets.

Now, we've covered disaster recovery before; I recently wrote a story about how E.W. James & Sons recovered from losing a new store from a fire, and in previos years how various retailers recovered from Hurricane Katrina and other local or regional disasters.

But what about that potential disaster we don't want to talk about? That wrath-of-God-doomsday type of disaster that eliminates dozens of your stores at once: the 8 plus-point magnitude California earthquake, the Tsunami that hits the East Coast, or the 200-yard-wide double-twister that hits a metropolitan area? What kinds of technology, systems, and procedures does our industry have in place to handle these situations -- aside from merely having redundant servers and some extra POS hardware in an offsite warehouse?

Retailers: How are you prepared for such catastrophes?

Vendors: What kind of technology solutions have you developed to address such a disaster.

Let us know, and we'll post selected responses in our next newsletter.

I apologize for such a negative edit note this week, and I promise to leave the next one until the first tech newsletter January 2012, which, if the Mayan calendar is correct, will also be the last technology newsletter...

On that note, I wish you all the best!