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Metro North Outtage and You

At approximately 5:20 a.m. on Thursday, September 26th a 138,000 volt electric feeder cable failed, leaving an eight mile segment of the Metro North commuter rail line without power.  This outage effectively halted train service between Stamford and New York City, disrupting nearly 40,000 daily commuters.  Also disrupted were the businesses those commuters work for, and the  businesses that depend on those businesses.  And the local businesses disrupted by all the extra commuters on the road.  And so on.

Unfortunately, we have had many lessons in the past dozen years or so (including multiple Metro north disruptions, power outages, and Super Storm Sandy) that underscore the relative fragility of our business eco-systems and our reliance on everything operating at 100%.  We only need to observe and remember to know that operating at 100% always and forever is not a realistic

Questions are being asked of Metro North:  “Why didn’t they know”?  “Why are their contingencies so deficient or even, non-existent”?  Elected officials are promising inquiries.  And yet, the cold reality is that businesses are being disrupted.  Projects are not moving forward.  Payments are going to be delayed.  And the longer this disruption continues and the impacts ripple outward, the worse it is going to get for more and more businesses.

While we are shaking our heads at this situation, perhaps it provides an important lesson for every business.  Are our own houses in order?  Do we have the appropriate contingencies in place?  What happens if….if our employees can’t get to the office? If our customers can’t pay us on time?  If field workers can only accomplish two service calls each day instead of four?

And what about those businesses upon which we rely.  What if we can’t get replacement parts from a vendor? What if contracted services are slowed or delayed?  In the past, one might be tempted to rationalize the risks away:  “It will never happen”, “What are the odds of that?”, or “That would be a perfect storm”.  We’ve had two “perfect storms” in our recent lifetimes, and that phrase has entered into the mainstream lexicon.

At Sound Technology Services, we help you maintain your computer and data networks.  Your business relies upon those networks for more and more critical functionality every day. We’ve written before about the risk of business failure from a catastrophic network incident.

If you haven’t reviewed how dependent you really are on your networks, give us a call.  We will help you understand the risks associated with these dependencies, and also provide you with affordable options to mitigate that risk.

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