Zombies and Clouds and BCP—Oh My!

Anthony Malakian, US editor, WatersTechnology

Sure, a zombie attack is unlikely, but isn't preparing for the unexpected the whole point of business-continuity planning?

Let's talk about a zombie apocalypse for a minute. It was yesterday afternoon and the March issue of Waters had all but been put to bed. It's at times like these that the last thing that I want to talk about is financial technology.

So naturally, the conversation between my colleagues and I quickly turned to zombies and what we would do if a zombie apocalypse fell upon the Earth. We discussed things like, would they be slow and lumbering zombies, or “28 Days Later”-style agile zombies? Could they swim? Could the zombie virus be spread by animals? Would birds be infected? Would the water be safe to drink? How long would it last?

Then came the last question: Is there commercial gain to be made from the zombies?

This last question was posed by Waters' head of editorial operations Elina Patler. It was at this moment that I realized just how much of a closeted capitalist she really is. It also got me to thinking about how Wall Street would cope with a disaster, and a conversation I had with the CFO of an asset management firm earlier that week.

When the zombie apocalypse comes—perhaps before the end of this year if the Mayans are correct—you're going to have to have a plan in place:

1. Who will be on your survival team?

2. Where will you go?

3. What is your business-continuity plan?

To this last question, we're assuming here that the attack will not last forever. After all, if it's the end of the world, what's the point of a BCP anyway?

So when the assault ends and the markets open back up, those who had a solid BCP in place will get a leg up (perhaps literally—we are, after all, talking about zombies) on the competition.

This brings me to cloud computing. Earlier this week, I was speaking with a contact who works at a firm that manages about $6 billion, which is in the process of turning as many functions as possible over to the cloud, specifically to improve its business-continuity planning. The firm wasn't where it thought it should be in terms of BCP, he says. With advancements in cloud functionality and security, it no longer made sense to shun the new technology. (You may recall that Waters' Editor-in-Chief Victor Anderson wrote something along these lines recently after a power outage at one of Incisive Media’s London offices.)

BCP is becoming an increasingly more important topic and not just because the regulators care more about it today than ever before. While a zombie attack is low on the list of likely disasters, that's the whole point of business-continuity planning—preparing for the unexpected.

Cloud is not a panacea, but in this day and age it should be your starting point when reevaluating your BCP guidelines.

As per the "commercializing a zombie attack" hypothetical, which exchange group will create the first "brain futures" contract? Send your thoughts to [email protected] Or give me a call at 646-490-3973 if you have any skills that would make you a good candidate to be on my zombie survival team. (Specifically, I'm looking for a Marine Corps sniper. I’m now accepting applications.)

For a good read on cloud computing, James Rundle also wrote an opinion piece on cloud for sibling publication Sell-Side Technology. It was not planned this way, but as my dad always says, "Great minds think alike."

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