Security

New Bird Flu strain emphasizes need for adequate disaster planning

Since I view almost everything which negatively affects IT performance to be something of a security issue, I wanted to remind readers of the very real threat posed by Bird Flu and the potential pandemic which the World Health Organization as well as The White House keep warning us about.

A lot of the people who initially saw this post seem to have decided it was a doomsday warning. It wasn't.

Bird flu is a serious threat, but so is the regular flu as well as any other natural disaster.

While I was reporting some dangerous new trends in H5N1's spread, I was also warning all IT managers that they need to prepare for any disaster.

It doesn't matter whether your staff is cut by 50% by hay fever, the yearly flu, flood, power outage over a large area, another terrorism incident which stops all air travel, a hurricane, or, yes, even a serious pandemic which has the potential to kill millions.

If your executives can't get to the office, your sales staff are all stuck in motels, or, worse yet, can't even get back from Europe or Asia, then you have serious problems which can be mitigated by planning in advance for how the IT department can expand online operations and turn a physical office into a virtual office, if only for the duration of some natural disaster.

So, instead of arguing over the fine points of epidemiology, why not take the potential of a bird flu pandemic and turn it into a positive?

This is just the sort of thing you need to get management to fun a general disaster planning session!

But, don't ignore bird flu, there are some serious threats out there which includes bird flu, and I will continue to report on the ones which are both credible AND which we can do something to prepare for in a sensible manner.

For instance, I won't be reporting on potential life-ending meteor strikes which, while obviously a real possibility, aren't something you can really prepare for.

But, as far as the bird flu threat is concerned, just in time for  the beginning of the normal flu season, a new strain of the H5N1 Bird Flu has been found in South East Asia. The new "Fujian" strain is not stopped by the existing poultry vaccinations and a human case is already suspected.

This development is one of the two key requirements for a true pandemic, the other being the mutation to a human-human transmittable form, which has already been seen.

A bird flu pandemic could shut down many business and government operations, disrupting food supply and causing other
problems.

Many government agencies have warned businesses to plan ahead for a possible severe flu season by bolstering their IT disaster planning, including preparing to operate a business remotely as much as possible.

For the latest actual news about bird flu and the potential for a pandemic, please check my free research site, helpdotcom.com regularly. (My site is approved by HON, Health On the Net, an NGO affiliated with WHO which monitors and certifies the reliability of health-related information sites.)

A flu pandemic could be a disaster for companies which haven't planned for it, but could be an enormous boost for those who are prepared and especially those involved in e-commerce. 

My bird flu page only includes significent new developments, not the daily chatter. 

If you don't think it is a threat, then don't pay any attention, but do go ahead with general disaster planning - it is all about the planning and far less about any particular threat. 

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox