I am not here to create FUD. I am merely here to say, “Stop what you’re doing on Thursday, November 13, and consider what your company would do if disaster struck.”

Why Thursday? Because on Thursday, November 13, at 10 a.m. Pacific time, millions of relatively normal southern Californians will stop what they’re doing and drop to the ground wherever they happen to be, in the largest earthquake-preparedness drill ever conducted in the United States. The Great Southern California ShakeOut will model what would happen when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hits the southern San Andreas fault on that day at that time. People in homes, schools, businesses, and public places all around southern California will do the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill to practice the proper physical action to take when an earthquake hits, and government officials and first responders will test and practice emergency procedures.

So maybe you don’t work in California or any other earthquake-prone zones around the world. But if you work in IT, you have to be cognizant of the possibility of disaster, whether it’s a blizzard; a pandemic flu; silly, malicious, or evil acts by other humans or even your fellow IT folks; a 100-year flood; utility brownouts and blackouts, or what author Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls “Black Swans”—that is, events that could happen that you haven’t a clue could happen.

How will your company deal with disaster? Does it have a plan? Numerous resources are out there. I'd like to offer you some advice from our own pros such as David Chernicoff, an IT consultant and Windows IT Pro magazine contributing editor who weathered heavy floods at his Pennsylvania office("Disaster Preparedness Checklist") and Hurricane Ike veteran and Windows IT Pro author, Tony Howlett ("Hurricane Preparedness for IT") who dealt firsthand with disaster preparation and recovery.

At the least, on Thursday at 10 a.m. Pacific time you might well want to revisit your company’s disaster recovery plan, or bring up the Great Southern California ShakeOut and use it to ease into a discussion of what your company would do if caught in circumstances beyond its control.

To read more advice from Windows IT Pro IT pros about disaster planning and recovery: 
"Lessons in Disaster Recovery" 
"Offsite Storage and Its Discontents" 
"Virtualized Preparedness"

And if you don’t plan and need to know what to do when disaster strikes:
"The Sky is Falling: 3 rules for managing a crisis"

To read about Black Swans: "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable"
To read about November 13's earthquake drill: The Great Southern California ShakeOut: The Great Southern California ShakeOut