Planning for disasters

I'm a self-proclaimed weather buff, so it figures the week I'm away from New York, the city receives its most disruptive and violent rainstorm in many years.

I woke up Tuesday morning in south Jersey to web headlines of "The Night the Sky Fell in NYC" on Drudge Report. Omagod, what did I miss, I thought?

The powerful thunderstorm cells caused the city's subway system to experience massive delays, crippling the morning commute for hundreds of thousands of people.

My first reaction: It would have taken me a half-day to get into the city from Hoboken, N.J. Does that mean I get that half-day vacation back?

Once I decided that answer was probably a big, fat "no", another notable development that grabbed my attention was that the stock markets opened on time, despite the storm barreling through just hours before the opening bell. No real surprise there, as the rain didn't directly impact the exchanges. But one comment from a NASDAQ official showed me that disaster recovery plans were in place, even if it never came to that.

"The Nasdaq is up," Sonny McCauliff in the operations department at the Nasdaq told "We have geographically separate data centers so even if something is wrong in the New Jersey-New York metro area we'd be working out of the back up center," he said.

I think it's important, in this day and age, to be always thinking of business continuity and disaster recovery. Anything can happen anywhere, especially in New York, where a steam pipe explosion and flooded subway lines within a three-week span showed that the city's aging infrastructure is, well, really showing its gray hairs.

So while there's no backup train when the whole subway system goes bonkers, at least I know I can make a trade. Then again, who knows what will happen if that long overdue hurricane ever affects Manhattan.

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