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Business Disaster in Sunnyside Travel Agency Case Study

Business Disaster in Sunnyside Travel Agency Case Study

Business Disaster in Sunnyside Travel Agency Case Study

Read the case study below then answer the five questions at the end.

The Business

SunnySide Travel Agency is a locally owned and operated small business that provides the full spectrum of travel-related services, including itinerary consultation, fare research and negotiation, vacation package selection and creation, reservations and booking, travel insurances, and ticket/voucher printing.Two-thirds of SunnySide’s customers are individual travelers going on vacation, but 80% of SunnySide’s revenue comes from arranging travel for about three dozen local businesses.Arrangements for business travel are handled by email or telephone, using FedEx “Overnight Priority” service to deliver hardcopy itineraries, tickets, and other documents.Arrangement for pleasure travel are conducted in person at the SunnySide office, using the conference room to sell vacation packages; pleasure travelers pick up hardcopy documents and tickets at the travel agency office.

SunnySide operates out of a strip-mall office that is owned and run by a local property management company.All office furnishings (such as tables, desks, chairs, telephones, and storage cabinets) and all business equipment (such as fax and copy machines) are leased from a local office outlet (not the property company).All computer equipment (such as PCs, printers, and local routers) is owned by SunnySide, but computer-related services (including ISP connectivity) are provided by a local computer services provider.

SunnySide has an Owner/Manager, an Office Administrator, and a Systems Administrator.The 13 employees all work out in the office location and report directly to the Office Administrator.Office hours are Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, and on Saturday from 8:00 am until noon.In addition to working regular office hours, employees take turns being “on call” during the hours that the office is closed; on-call hours are worked from the employee’s home, using remote access to connect to the office LAN.

The office runs a Local Area Network (LAN) for in-house applications, and for sharing storage and printing services.Accounting is done in-house using a suite of purchased accounting software that runs over the LAN.Applications include Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll (which has an incentive bonus module), Fixed Assets, and General Ledger.All checks – payroll, expense reimbursement, and incentive bonuses – are printed in-house, and are usually handed out to the employees, rather than mailed or auto-deposited.The LAN also has a purchased package for scheduling work coverage and for tracking work-hours.The LAN is connected via a high-speed link to the internet.Access to the travel broker and booking software is done through that internet connection.

Each employee has a desktop PC, running Windows, MS-Office, and Internet Explorer.MS-Outlook is used for emails, calendaring, and storing contact information.Two laser-jet printers and the one ticket printer are network-shared.Two fax machines are not on the LAN.Each employee’s desk is equipped with a phone having incoming toll-free service.

Sunny fun has a small web-site, hosted by the local computer service provider.The master versions of all web-site pages are stored on the System Administrator’s PC.

A small room attached to the employee break area is used for storing forms and office supplies, including extra toner cartridges and soda pop.Important business documents are locked in a hallway closet (which is not waterproof or fireproof).Personnel records, including employment, training, and performance reviews, are locked in the Owner’s file cabinet in the SunnySide office.


The Scenario

At 4:20 pm on Thursday August 31st, 2006 – the last workday in August – the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the entire Fort Worth area, lasting until 8:00 pm.None of the SunnySide management or employees was aware of the Warning, and continued with their work.The Owner/Manager finished running the weekly Payroll program, printed off the paychecks he would hand out the next morning, and locked the checks in his desk.The Office Administrator finished organizing all the papers she would need to close the books during the day tomorrow, and put them in a stack on top of her desk.The System Administrator had scheduled the next day off, so he made sure that the system back-up job was scheduled to run on Saturday at midnight, and that a blank back-up tape was in the tape drive.Other employees completed itineraries for business and pleasure travelers, and printed off the necessary tickets, coupons, invoices, and other paperwork.FedEx packages for business travelers were prepared and left at the front desk for pickup at 5:30, and manila folders were prepared for pleasure travelers and left on each agent’s desk for customers to pick up when the people came in tomorrow before their weekend trips.

Just before 5:00, the power went out and the phones went dead.A passerby stuck his head in the front door and yelled that a tornado was coming.The employees immediately left the office and took shelter in the grocery store across the parking lot.

Initial Assessment

The tornado destroyed the SunnySide Travel Agency office.The computer network was irretrievably lost, and none of the office equipment was salvageable.The last back-up copy of the business data – which were stored off-site – was five days old.Emails, appointments, and contact information stored in Outlook were all gone.The “master” versions of the web-site were also destroyed.

Physical records and documents, including checks that had already been cut, insurance policies, employee records, copies of open purchase orders, supplier invoices, and blank forms were all destroyed.There were no blank purchase order forms, no blank checks, nor any means to make emergency purchases or engage contract services.Business documentation was destroyed.Three of the employees were unaccounted for, and there were no succession plans or job descriptions to use in replacing them.Most of the employees no longer had car keys, purses, or cell phones.

Several of the employees asked the Owner/Manager if they were still going to get paid tomorrow, so they would be able to pay their first-of-the-month bills.A customer arrived and wanted to pick up the tickets for his family’s vacation, which started the next day.


1. Based on your reading of the case study and assumptions you are free to make, please identify 4 Facility Risks that may impact the technology infrastructure.

2. Describe mitigation efforts for any two of the risks related to the Facilities Category that you identified in Question 1.

3. Based on your reading of the case study and reasonable assumptions you are free to make, please identify 4 risks related to the IT/Telecommunications Categories.

4. Describe mitigation efforts for any two of the risks related to the telecomm/IT categories that you identified in Question 3..

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