Disaster Planning

On April 27th, 2011 a tornado hit Cullman, AL and destroyed many things. It swept through the downtown area and destroyed businesses, homes, infrastructure such as power lines and telephone lines and more. My office was spared a direct hit but the effects were substantial none the less. We were without power for 6 days and phone and internet services for 8 days. I had a disaster recovery plan. I thought that we were ready to quickly reestablish a computer network complete with backed up data. I learned that I was not nearly as ready as I thought and I hope that this message will help someone avoid my mistakes.

I had been advised by our IT management company to develop a disaster recovery plan that included having to start completely from scratch and rebuild my computers, servers and workstations. This plan was a plan that would need to work even if my building were completely destroyed and all my paper files essentially lost for ever. You see, while my experience is thus far limited to the ripple effect of a tornado, it could just have easily been a direct hit by the tornado or a fire that destroyed my building and everything in it. That is a scary thought for any of us. But I want you to think about how much better it would be if you planned ahead and had a recovery plan in place to get your computers and communications back up quickly and without losing any of your data.

It is not an impossible goal and it is not a goal that one can afford to fall short on if one is dependent on computers to operate a business. It is called a disaster recovery plan and if it is done properly 24 hours is within reason for a 5 or so user network.

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