Katrina: One Year Later

Opinion: Many of the lessons learned from Katrina are being put into practice in corporate IT.

Tis the season for anniversaries, it seems. In just a couple of weeks, we will observe the first major milestone since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a date the recent would-be bombers in London no doubt had in mind for another attack before their plot was foiled on Aug. 10. Oliver Stones timing was perfect for the release of his new movie, "World Trade Center," and work is beginning this month on the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero. Nevertheless, we still have a long way to go in shoring up the security of the nations infrastructure. More on that in the next eWEEK.

This week, on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrinas landfall on Aug. 29, we look back at the storms impact. Many people are still suffering from personal or property losses, but some good news is that, in just one year, many of the lessons learned from Katrina are being put into practice in corporate IT.

Not that there were widespread systems failures last year in the wake of the storm. Many backup and disaster recovery plans kicked in as they should have. The problem was what we call the "neutron bomb" factor: The systems were up, but there were no people left to run them.

Due to the regional impact of the storm, branch or backup facilities suffered as much as offices in the hurricanes direct path. Thats why one business, vacuum cleaner maker Oreck, decided to relocate its new manufacturing plant more than 500 miles from its New Orleans headquarters and Long Beach, Miss., where the plant used to be before it was destroyed. "Its not likely to be hit by the same event," President and CEO Tom Oreck told eWeek Executive Editor Stan Gibson.

Some companies are developing communications contingency plans for displaced employees, but still others are having a hard time finding workers now that local facilities are up and running again. "Its hard to find people. They cant come here because theres no excess housing," said Tulane University CIO Paul Barron. "If you could send me some sys admins or DBAs, I would be forever in your debt."

Contact eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen at scot_petersen@ziffdavis.com.


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