If you can predict disasters you can be more prepared. SunGard in a recent press release talks about preparing for hurricanes because they are potentially more predictable than other types of natural disasters.
I agree that using forthcoming inclimate weather as a forcing function within your business to raise the alarm around preparedness is a great idea! At the same time, you don’t want to be labelled as “chicken little”, so it’s key to be rational in your approach to driving change for greater reliability and preparedness.
SunGard’s recommendation to use cloud computing as a solution makes sense to me as it will allow you to geo-distribute your infrastructure away from hazardous locations. Moving your app into the cloud might be a good solution, but not every application can run fully in the cloud. If you have on-premises components for data security, legacy, or performance reasons, this answer won’t work for you.
Another great piece of advice from the release is to have a plan to bring the service back up once hazardous conditions are over. In an ideal situation your system would gracefully migrate away from trouble areas before it affects customers and automatically redistribute back. In order to do this, you need not only elasticity from a cloud provider like Windows Azure or Amazon Web Services, but also weather system awareness, a risk management practice, and a deep understanding of how your system works and interacts with customers.
Whatever technical strategy you undertake to prepare for a disaster, it is only as good as the last time you tested it. You can design & implement your systems, train your people, and calculate risks all day long. But the question is – are you sure you’re ready? With your business on the line, this is a not a question you can take lightly.