Worries about how big companies would cope in a pandemic seem to be the flavour of the week. Computerworld suggests that the increasingly popular virtual world Second Life could provide a useful backup service. In the article, writer Robert Mitchell reports that Colleen Monahan, director of development at the Center for the Advancement of Distance Education at the University of Chicago, has recently worked with a large corporation to create a virtual human resources department and a situation room for executives.
"By creating a virtual company," writes Mitchell, "employees will have a place outside of the corporate firewall where they can meet around the virtual water cooler or receive counseling. Unlike videoconferencing, in Second Life, employees meet by proxy, using avatars... Security is a big concern although you can create a private island in Second Life. On the other hand, if your other IT systems are down, a virtual company could come in handy."