computer thiefWow!  Were we ever reminded recently of the importance of having a disciplined work environment and a good business disruption plan.  This, of course, speaks to all professional communicators of the importance of having a crisis communications plan in place.

I came to the office recently and realized we had been broken into.  That’s right, burgled!  Several other offices in our building were hit.  We lost seven laptops. 

After the initial feeling of violation and anger, we immediately focused on ensuring that client information (at the core of what we do) was secure and our work on their behalf could continue.

Because of having good systems, good IT support and disciplined, responsible colleagues, we hardly missed a beat.  Several of our guys with very active client projects were up and running in about 2 hours.  The rest of us had new computers with 24 hours.  In between, we worked off of blackberrys and borrowed laptops with temporary access to our server.

The whole experience, though, reminds me to remind our team and our clients of the importance of advanced planning, disciplined execution and having good systems in place so when the crisis hits – AND IT WILL! – disruption is minimized.

I’ll be spending some time posting about crisis comms. in the coming month and just wanted to start this focus by sharing our own horrible experience. 

Of course, it could have been worse.  No one was here when the bad guy came so no one was hurt.  The server was secured and all data protected and backed-up.  The thief was surgically efficient (only laptops, power cords and a few laptop cases were stolen) and no other damage was done.

We were lucky.  We were also prepared with good systems and good support in place. 

Oh yeah, we quickly let our clients know what had happened and that all information was secure and saved to our server and not stored on our laptops.  We certainly didn’t want them to hear about our break-in from some other source and, then, be left wondering if they had been compromised.  That would not be putting the client first.  We needed to retain their trust and confidence in us.  We need to manage our own corporate reputation.

More on that in coming posts.

Anxious to read your thoughts and suggestions.

Post by Nick Vehr – 7.17.09