The value of an in-place crisis plan? Priceless

IV4 Inc. is a successful computer technology company in suburban Rochester. Founded under an earlier name, it recently combined with another similar company with an office in Syracuse and it has 30 employees.

Visory [the V] Group in Syracuse started in 1996 and merged with [the I] integrity Networking Systems of Rochester in 2011, and they became IV4.

By its own description, it offers a host of crucial computer and technology services to upstate New York clients ranging in size from 20 to 2,000 employees.

They need firewalls, servers, routers, network infrastructure, desktops, Microsoft products and virus software — essentially tech services and labor to place and maintain them.

Working in the field it’s in, what sort of crisis could it have? Someone spending too much time on Facebook? Tweeting while they should be working? Pinning too many fun things on their Pinterest page? Think again.

Firefighters work on the fire that destroyed Building 700 at Fairport Office Centre in Perinton.It experienced an ultimate, Wrath of God crisis. The building that housed its office, including all its computer equipment, burned to the ground April 2. The fire started in the wee hours after midnight Monday morning.

For a small company without a plan, this is catastrophic, perhaps fatal. For the same company with a crisis management plan, it’s a body blow that can be overcome. And IV4 — full disclosure, Eric Mower + Associates is an IV4 client — didn’t miss a beat.

EMA’s partner and director of information technology John Wilder said he received an email about the fire at 11:48 a.m. after IV4 switched to back up and remote systems. From EMA’s point of view, the fire’s effect was negligible. Out of respect for the real fire drill IV4 had to run, he postponed some queries to let the company deal with its crisis. That was the only ripple.

All companies rely on such tech backup, but what happens when the company with the backup suffers catastrophic damage? Larger computer support companies probably have “fire-proof” facilities, but those likely support larger corporations that pay a premium for such higher-end arrangements.

For a small company that only recently formed via the merger of two even smaller companies, IV4’s performance was flawless. From the point of view of managing a crisis, the owners enhanced their overall reputation because they had a crisis plan in place and they executed it.


About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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