Monday, July 11, 2011

Disaster Recovery 101

Joplin, Missouri's recent tornado devastation should be a wake-up call for every business owner.  

That is, it should be your wake-up call if you've been pressing the snooze button on your "Hurricane Gustav" alarm clock.

Which should only be buzzing still if you slept through Hurricane Katrina.......

Seriously, I can't understand how many businesses, healthcare practices, schools, and other organizations don't have any Disaster Recovery (D.R.) plan whatsoever.   Whether or not a disaster would put you out of business, if you're not prepared for it, it will certainly cause you, your employees, and your customers an unbelievable amount of grief and unnecessary work.

It's simple to get started on a good D.R. plan, and simple to lay out the basic fundamental elements.   Here's a quick guide, and some simple solution ideas:
  1. Don't have a D.R. plan?   Get started now.   Get a pen & paper, your IPad, whatever.   Seriously - please do it now!
  2. Start with a worst case scenario: "If I showed up at work and there was nothing but a concrete slab there, what would I do?"
  3. From that scenario, let's line out some key areas that would need to be addressed (this is only a starter, not a complete list by any means...):
    1. How do you communicate with...
      1. Employees (idea...  ever thought about Google Voice for a D.R. hotline?)
      2. Customers
      3. The community (if it's relevant)
    2. How do you keep doing what you do?
      1. Do you need to have an alternate facility scoped out?
      2. Can you temporarily run your business without an office (ie, go ?   
    3. How do you keep money coming in?
      1. Do you have your accounting data readily available via an offsite backup?   
      2. Can you get back to billing easily?
      3. In the event of a regional disaster, would your customers be able to keep paying you?
      4. Do you have sufficient business continuity insurance or cash reserves to handle 1 payroll?  2 payrolls?
  4. If your business is like mine, you don't have time to sit down & answer all these right now.   BUT GET STARTED!!!!   Somewhere, anywhere!
We've been working on our D.R. plan here @ Turn Key Solutions for 12 years.   And, as our business evolves, that plan will have to keep changing to stay relevant.

For example, we now have almost all of our servers in Tier-3 & Tier-4 data centers in Texas & Louisiana.   We've also just moved to a pure I.P. based phone system.   These two steps mean that we can really work from anywhere, even if our phone lines and/or power go out (which happens a lot in Baton Rouge).

So, don't try to make it perfect right away.   But do take time to think about what you'd need to do in a worst case scenario.   Because sooner or later, Mother Nature is probably going to visit us all, and we better be ready....

And if you need help with this, don't ever hesitate to call or email us for some more ideas!

1 comment:

  1. "The perfect is the enemy of the good." -- Voltaire (If I remember correctly!) An imperfect plan is better than no plan at all. So just get started.