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Volume 27, Issue 3

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July 25, 2013

Alberta floods a vivid reminder of the growing relevance of business continuity plans

When a deluge of rain and river water hit Calgary's streets last month, many of the city's businesses were forced to shut their doors and stop employees from coming into work. In fact, an estimated 180,000 workers that live in the downtown core and were forced to evacuate from their homes had no way of getting to work. Some of the country's largest energy corporations were forced to contact staff through social media channels to notify them that their workplaces were no longer accessible. Others asked available staff to log in remotely if they could do so safely. And others set up makeshift satellite offices outside the areas affected by the flood and asked workers to convene at the nearest one instead of overloading the computer systems by logging in remotely all at once.

While the cost of Calgary's floods to local businesses is still being tabulated, the overall economic cost is estimated to be more than $1-billion. Much of that will be related to business losses in the wake of the flood. Tragedies such as the Alberta flood bring to the fore more frequently the often-overlooked issue of risk management and business continuity planning.