What Cillit Bang teaches us about our risk perception.

It appears that a disgruntled employee discovered that Cillit Bang could do more than just clean – sprayed into a firms servers in copious quantities it could eat away at the components causing them to fail.

Having spent many years as a computer consultant and reviewed many disaster recovery plans one thing that always leapt off the page was what wasn’t included.

Most disaster recovery plans cover big ticket items – Fire, explosion and death of key personnel.

However there are smaller things that can take down a business as effectively that need addressing and that it’s advisable to have a plan in place to deal with.

My favorite omission to point out was a burst pipe causing water contamination of the server room. It doesn’t have the same inspirational quality as a fire or explosion but faulty plumbing is an everyday occurrence and can cause significant disruption.

The other huge omissions are human factors.

Do you have the following scenarios covered in your disaster recovery plans?

Any disaster triggers the “flight or fight” response making responses more reactive and less imaginative.  It is easy to plan effectively and explore more options with a clear head than with an adrenaline rush.  It’s also easier to negotiate good prices for backup services in advance, rather than at the moment of failure.

Human perception of risk is geared towards accentuating “big ticket/high drama items” and under playing the day to day, a tendency we all need to keep in mind when assessing risks.

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