Catastrophe Recovery

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Disaster Recovery - for it to work you need to make a plan then USE that plan!

Disaster Recovery is a plan, when executed will save you an unimaginable amount time and a lot of money, not to mention your data, frustration and stress!

When a catastrophe happens how will you recover?

A catastrophe isn't just a natural event, such as a flood, hurricane, or an earthquake.

In this day and age information is King. Cell phones, PDA's, laptops, computers, tablets are everywhere.

And to top it off all your information is on a computer (and don't depend on that "cloud" for your backup!). You use it everyday in your job, your bank and financial information, your correspondence, every bit of information you have is on a computer.

There is a shift away from the traditional PC to the netbook and tablet (a tablet is a PC by the way).

The problem with a tablet is the storage, some are very limited but newer tablets are getting higher capacity storage. Very few people (including my family) understand that when the tablet breaks their data may be lost. Therefore it is imperative that you know how to make a backup of that data or you will lose it.

How would you cope if your computer became inaccessible? Say the mass data storage died, or the power supply burned up or in the event of a natural disaster?

We all have a reliance on computers, do you have a Disaster Recovery Plan?

The big guys do. They hire loads of experts (I was assigned to a DR team for seven years) to insure your bank account is safe not only from hackers but tornado's, earthquakes, floods, fire, you name it. They have banks of servers in different parts of the world that have duplicated information about your accounts ... a Disaster Recovery plan.

But the question is do you have a Disaster Recovery plan?

One way to insure you have adequate protection is to duplicate your data, if not in your home or business, maybe someplace else.

For hardware disasters you need an ERD, do you know how to make the custom Emergency Repair Disk (ERD)?

A more important question is: "Do you have the tools to execute your plan?" You may want to read this...

There are online services now that will back up your data to a place far away from your location.

The "theory" is that the same disaster will not happen to two different locations because of the distance. A earthquake in California will not effect New York. Or a flood in Omaha will not effect Anchorage. Distance makes a difference.

It maybe expensive and if your current computer isn't available you will need a backup computer.

Now the normal person will not have the resources to duplicate their data in more than one place. Be that Grammas house or your own.

Still having a back up will ease the pain of a hardware failure or a natural disaster.

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How would you go about creating a recovery plan? Well the big guys create reams of procedures (I was on two Disaster Recovery teams, believe me when I say your banking account is safe!), it is quite involved, and expensive. But you can have a Disaster Recovery plan all setup, waiting, and done right it will not be expensive.

How?

Consider this, what did you do with that old computer when you bought your new one? Gave it away? Trashed it? Well that would have been sufficient to cover you in a disaster.

Why?

Well if you have a hardware failure you may need a computer to use for work while the other one is being fixed. You could rent a computer (like a car) while it is being fixed.

But you would have to install all the applications you use and then restore your data to the rental computer. (Then insure it is wiped when you return it - wiping means erasing all your data to a degree it would cost more to recover it than it is worth to the thief).

Question: You DO have a BACKUP of your DATA, Right? NO?? Read this page: Disaster Recovery - Data Backup

If you have the old computer and I can see your face. You don't want to use that 'ol dog, the reason you bought a new computer was the old one was so slow, the hard drive was full, and on, and on.

But if you cleaned it out, got rid of all the junk, maybe upgraded the memory and hard drive it would get you by until your good computer was repaired or replaced. Consider the time and money you would save by having a backup computer!

Another option (the one I use) is a decent laptop, it doesn't have to be a top of the line, most expensive laptop made, but it should have the power to run all your normal apps.

The trick is to keep the backup on the laptop up to date. Then if you should have to evacuate in an emergency you just grab the laptop and go. It would also make for a good recovery computer for your data should your main computer have a hardware failure.

Things to consider for a DR (Disaster Recovery) Plan:

Where the backup computer is stored. Will it be accessible to do backups of your data to?

What to backup? You will need to consider a typical day, what do you use on a daily basis if you use the computer for your business. What records are on the computer that you can not do with out or are irreplaceable. What records will take a lot of time and effort to replace?

How much money can you spend on the DR computer?

If you have an 'off site' recovery computer will it have all the applications setup and ready if you need it?

The email works, the word processor, spreadsheet, data base (like Quicken) are all operational? Most software publishers will allow you to make one back up of their software with out another license (All ways check the End User License Agreement before assuming this is true!).

And the last thing is to test, test all your applications, test the recovery of you backup data, then when you are satisfied that the recovery computer will work until the good computer is ready you will have a valid and functional plan.

Note:

If you are going to use the old computer you upgraded from to be your recovery computer check out  these pages for information on how to....

With a little effort and maybe some money you will be covered in the event of an emergency.

Not to sound geeky but do you have an "It Toolbox"?  --->Your IT Toolbox should have these programs...

Note:

A suggestion for those that evacuate an area that a hurricane is coming to. You should power down your computer of course. Also if you have a UPS you need to get the circuit lock that came with the UPS and reinsert it to keep the UPS batteries from shorting out if it gets wet.

If you have time take the computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and ups and put them in heavy trash bags. Squeeze out any extra air, and seal the bags. Then place them above what would be the high flood plain if the area should flood. Keeping your computer dry will help you recover faster than if you left the computer in it's normal place. Ten minutes will save you a lot money later after the hurricane is gone.

Remember: It is your data and only you can protect it.



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