National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, so I thought this would be a good time to talk about Backup, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity.

First, it’s important to define these terms and understand how they fit together:

Backup, ensuring that a copy of your data is available for retrieval both onsite and offsite, is an IT function and is only part of a disaster recovery plan.

Disaster Recovery is a process and set of procedures that prepare for recovery or continuation of your technology infrastructure after a natural or human-induced disaster.  A Disaster Recovery plan is also typically an IT function, and it is one element of a larger business continuity plan.  Disaster Recovery plans typically assume that your facility will not be available.

Business Continuity is an ongoing exercise performed by an organization to ensure that critical business functions will be available to customers, suppliers, regulators, and other entities that must have access to those functions.   Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is a management function that involves all aspects of a business, from personnel to facilities to IT.   Health & Safety issues, power supply, transportation, food, and facilities issues all fall within business continuity. 

Every business should put at least some effort towards creating a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).  Give me a call and I would be glad to help you with your plans.  In the meantime, let me share a few tips that can jumpstart your plans:

  • Backup:  A revolution in backup, a Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR) device is now available for a small monthly fee.  This solution entails installing a “backup” server at your office.  It backs up all of your servers as often as every 15 minutes throughout the day.  You can recovery files quickly at anytime.  However, if one of your servers crashes, we can “virtualize” the most recent backup on the backup server, and have it back up and running in about an hour.  The crashed server can then be repaired under normal rather than emergency circumstances.  The BDR continues backing up even while standing in for your crashed server, so once your server is repaired, we simply restore the most recent backup and you are back to normal operation.  Further, the BDR sends your data offsite nightly to two secure locations.  In the event of a disaster,  a new BDR will be overnighted with your data already loaded.  We can virtualize your server(s) and have you running in a new location as soon as the delivery is received. 
  • Disaster Recovery:  We partner with a national disaster recovery service that can address the 4 primary disaster related issues:  Power, Technology, Space & Connectivity, with facilities and equipment staged throughout the US.  For only $295 per month, you are prepared to recover from any disaster, small or large.  For example, if a critical server crashes, we can provide a loaner.  If your Internet connection is cut, we can provide high speed satellite backup.  During an ice storm, you may simply need a generator.  In case of a large scale disaster, we can provide a fully running office with servers, 48 desks equipped with PCs and telephones, full power and connectivity within 48 hours, guaranteed. 
  • Business Continuity:  Lack of communication will cripple any business.  Create an emergency communication plan today:  Designate a person in another geographic region to serve as your emergency communication point of contact (POC).  This could be a friend, relative or partner – we use a vendor based in California.  Print business cards with full POC contact information and distribute to all employees to carry in their wallet.  In case of an emergency, if employees can not make contact with the office, they are to contact the emergency POC to check in, report their situation, and receive further instructions (could be check back in 12 hours, report to the office at noon, etc).  Want to show your key clients that you are a step ahead of the competition?  Provide them with your emergency POC information as well, and they will know they can count on you when they are in trouble.