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Prepare for the unexpected

A disaster struck several nurseries in Singapore on Dec. 20.
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Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor on

A disaster struck several nurseries in Singapore on Dec. 20. Heavy rains hit the island-state and disrupted operations of these small and midsize businesses located in low-lying areas prone to floods.

Among the affected businesses was FarEastFlora.com which won ZDNet Asia's SMB of the Year award in 2006.

Photos courtesy of FarEastFlora.com

The impact of the record-high rainfalls was severe. Christmas trees, plants, hampers, furniture and computers were washed away or destroyed. Damages and losses suffered by the nurseries were estimated at S$1.5 million (US$980,000), according to a news article in The Sunday Times.

Photos of the damaged goods, furniture and office equipment were heartwrenching, and my first thought was whether the companies had backed up their critical business data. Physical goods and equipment can be replaced but not valuable business and customer data that have been collected and compiled over the years.

News of the flash floods, however, were drowned out by another disaster a week later. An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale hit Taiwan on Boxing Day and damaged undersea cables. Businesses and Internet surfers were affected as telecommunications and Internet services in East Asia were disrupted, which brought home the eerie reminder of how reliant we are today on information and communications networks--for both work and play.

These December events also remind us of exactly what BCP specialist Nathaniel Forbes has been driving home these past six months, which is the importance of preparing for unplanned events that could severely disrupt business. How prepared are you? Share your views and plans for 2007.

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