Earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes are the major disasters we think of when we think of what could disrupt our business.  But what about such things as lawsuits, workplace violence, or loss of intellectual property?  What about technological issues such as email outage, Internet outage, viruses, server crashes, or database corruption?  Any of these could prevent your company from operating normally and, if serious enough, possibly cause you to go out of business.

This was the message from John Isaac, one of my trusted advisors and Vice President of Clare Computer Solutions, a San Ramon firm providing network support and IT consulting services, when he presented to my CEO peer advisory board members.  My members head companies with revenues ranging from $3 million to $90 million.  John’s message applies to any size business.

Have a DR/BC Plan

Every company should have a disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) plan.  This should be written and comprehensive and known to all of your leadership team.  Who knows who will be onsite when a disaster occurs?

Hold a brainstorming session with your team.  Ask what are the critical functions to keep our business running?  You will determine that not all disasters are equal.  What have the highest probability?  Prioritize them.  How long can you be down without phones, emails, database access?  Knowing how much data you can afford to lose will determine your strategy.  Also creating a communication tree is important.  Determine 3-4 people to call first.  They then have several people they call, etc. until all of your employees have been notified and are aware of what happens next.

But John warned a written plan is only a first step.

What Are My Options?

Now you must do something.  Get that data somewhere else!

  • Virtualization – Creating a virtual version of something, for example, partitioning a server into smaller servers so a failed disk drive does not mean lost data
  • Hot/Cold Sites – Off premises sites where servers, managed by a third party, backup your data frequently.
  • The Cloud – Do any of us know what this really is?  The importance is that our data resides somewhere other than in our facility so it should be protected from whatever disaster affects us.

The important thing is to do something.  This is part of your business assurance plan.  Assuring your business survives incidents that are out of your control.  Are you ready for a disaster?

Consider Reading This

Disaster Recovery Planning: Preparing for the Unthinkable (3rd Edition) by Jon William Toigo.  There are a number of books written on the subject of disaster recovery.  I ran across this one and, although I have not read it, the book gets a 4+ rating on Amazon.  The author wrote the disaster recovery plans for the Port Authority of New York City and New Jersey and he includes lessons learned from 9/11.