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How Many Feet of Snow Does Your BCM Vendor Have on Their Roof?

by Roberta J. Witty  |  February 9, 2011  |  3 Comments

I live in CT. I have snow on my roof. Lots of it. For the last few weeks, I’ve used a snow rake to remove it from my rather flat sunroom roof. With almost daily news reports hailing roof collapses due to the weight of snow in excess of two feet in some places, you’d think that businesses would be especially attentive to the issue. Especially business continuity management (BCM) vendors. But a recent article “Weighty issue for local roofs” from the Lowellsun.com media site pointed to a partial roof collapse of an Iron Mountain facility in Billerica, MA. I wonder whose records might be impacted by this crisis, if anyone?

Granted, excessive snow on roofs is a rather uncommon event (even in New England), and given the number of unique crises in 2010 and 2011 – volcanic ash and a government countrywide shut down of Internet and cell phone access to name just two, the risks facing BCM managers is growing and they are getting lots of great experience in treading new tracks (snow management tracks in this case). So the question is why did the Iron Mountain situation occur given the weeks of news reports of such events taking place?

The underlying reasons for this collapse have not been made public by Iron Mountain, but I can tell you that BCM service providers are a critical group of vendors that must be included in your supply chain availability risk management program. Not just from the planning perspective, but from the crisis management perspective as well. How many firms stood up their crisis command center and pro-actively reached out to their vendors since December/2010 to understand how they were handling the excessive snow and how secure their assets are and will be if the situation gets worse? Not many I’m sure. The 2009 H1N1 crisis was one situation where some firms did do such outreach.

Customers of every records management vendor, or any vendor that houses your organization’s assets, should understand in detail what are the vendor’s guarantees regarding the safeguarding of assets in unique circumstances such as excessive snow, and understand what recourse you have if they are damaged or if the situation is too risky for them to remain in their current facility. You should also require an annual assessment report of the vendor’s own BCM plan for the facility in which your assets are stored.

If you know of other such events for BCM service providers, if your firm has stood up their crisis command center this winter or have your own experience in these situations, we’d love to hear from you.

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Category: advisory  

Tags: availability-risk  backup-and-recovery  bcm  business-continuity-management  business-continuity-planning  business-impact-analysis  business-resiliency  compliance  disaster-recovery  ediscovery  it-disaster-recovery  records-management  workforce-continuity  

Roberta J. Witty
Research VP
11 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Roberta Witty is a research VP in Gartner Research, where she is part of the Compliance, Risk and Leadership group. Her primary area of focus is business continuity management and disaster recovery. Ms. Witty is the role specialty lead for… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on How Many Feet of Snow Does Your BCM Vendor Have on Their Roof?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by joviann , Roberta J Witty. Roberta J Witty said: How Many Feet of Snow Does Your BCM Vendor Have on Their Roof? http://bit.ly/fgW5js […]

  2. Great article. Concise and to the point.I am happy that at least somebody gave this subject an attention. People should understand its importance as well…

  3. Nick Trendov says:

    Business continuity management is normally considered when an adverse event occurs like the snow on the roof but there is a greater risk…normal wear and tear on infrastructure that cascades into a massive failure.

    Electrical systems appear to be the problem in most cases and specifically the breakers and boxes which tend to fail for any number of physical reasons that may include ‘normal’ wear and tear over time.

    Manufacturers of electrical components and entire systems may be at risk especially if they don’t adhere to strict documentation regimines that may or may not include ISO standards.

    E-DIscovery can reach out beyond general contractors or their electrical suppliers back to manufacters which are increasingly sourcing components globally from suppliers that don’t understand or use components that stand up to the combinations of heat, cold and snow that some customers face.

    Its sad to say but eDiscovery lawyers may be the ‘stick’ that enforce end customer oriented quality across global supply chains.

    Cheers,
    Nick @eDiscovery_



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