With companies investing huge amounts in their databases and e-commerce, the structural and operational integrity of servers and programs is even more critical than before. Today’s information professionals are willing to be security-minded. They include many levels of passwords, i.d. badges, and other forms of data safety, but how many are prepared for a hurricane, or an earthquake, or a flood?
George Smart, CEO of Strategic Development, Inc., a professional speaker and strategic planning consultant to Internet companies, tells of one firm, quick to say how at the 17th floor a flood was irrelevant, eat their words as pipes broke on the 20th. Here he shares seven tips for better disaster planning:
- Start with the three types of disasters: natural (floods, earthquakes, hurricanes); accidental (sprinkler malfunction, someone spilling Pepsi on the server); and willful (viruses, sabotage).
- Next, make estimates of the cost (in terms of response time and overall labor hours) of any part of your system going down. Consider what your backup systems are. And not just for data. For example, what would you do if your main machine was stolen (it does happen!)?
- Jeff Williams, an Ottawa-based consultant and developer of disaster planning and recovery software, says that the "CFO ought to be the most concerned about disaster recovery because he/she understands what happens when he/she loses any kind of any asset, whether it is a computer, records or the entire building."
- The CFO is the one who will have the most to pay when replacing lost assets, so get him or her involved in the plan up front.
- Taking time for disaster recovery is NEVER going to be convenient. There is no good time for this, although many companies wait until just after a disaster has happened. There are always going to be other issues that seem more urgent, more important, and, more...well...real.
- Understand that when you start taking time to plan for disasters, people may react like you are a nut, or that you are wasting valuable time when they (and you) could be out selling, or producing, or whatever. This is true even if you are the CEO. Especially if you are the CEO. That's O.K. Do it anyway.
- Practice your plan. Shut something down for 60 minutes in the middle of the day and test how your company responds. You'd be surprised how few firms practice "live drills" when it comes to their systems. Yet this is where you can learn the most, and therefore be the most ready, when a real disaster strikes!
George M. Smart, Jr., CEO
Strategic Development, Inc.
(919) 806-0444 Phone
(919) 742-9506 Fax