Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Preparing for bird flu: time to reboot?

Computer viruses have certainly affected "real life" (assuming that what many of us do passes for a life). Now the Information Technology research and analysis company, The Gartner Group, is warning that biological viruses can also affect your online life.

In TechWeb News:
"Include the possibility of an avian flu pandemic in your business continuity planning and crisis management preparations," wrote a pair of analysts at Gartner in a briefing posted on the research firm's Web site. "A pandemic would not affect IT systems directly, but would likely cause considerable economic disruption through its impact on the workforce and on business activity."
Gartner analysts Dion Wiggins and Steve Bittinger point to the major economic disruptions from the few hundred SARS deaths in 2003. Planning for a possible bird flu pandemic is needed because "many business continuity plans rely on IT to keep business running even when travel restrictions, quarantines, or vendor problems develop because of a disease, or the fear of a disease."

Recommendations included
"re-assessing business continuity plans, establishing policies for employees working from home (as well as providing them with the means to do so, such as VPN access), and coordinating crisis management plans with workers."


"IT managers should ensure that their enterprises plan, from the boardroom on down, for a likely future outbreak whose course and consequences are unpredictable..."
Oh, and by the way:
"Do not wait for an outbreak before reviewing or establishing contingency plans. Many strategies take time to set up."
So here's my IT plan for DHHS: Ctl-alt-delete.