Disaster Preparedness: Planning Ahead

disaster Preparedness: Planning Ahead

Anyone who has actually managed a business’ recovery from a disaster knows that the most critical factor when it comes to business and operation continuity is having a plan in place before the disaster strikes. While disaster recovery will always involve some on-fly decision making and adapting to realities on the ground, both of these can be made orders of magnitude easier by having contingency plans and systems already in place, and staff who are already trained how to implement them. That sounds great, but it’s a daunting task if you are starting from scratch. In this first of four articles on disaster preparedness, we tell you how to start thinking about disaster preparedness and how to gather the information you will need to create an effective, efficient plan for recovering from whatever fate throws at you.

For example, imagine an earthquake causes damage to your main file or database server. Disaster recovery (without proper preparedness) may mean IT scrambling to find a place to set up a replacement server, take a copy of the data and applications from the damaged server, and then restore that data and re-install mission-critical apps to give end-users the alternative access they need to continue key operations.

In an emergency, the most wasteful use of workers’ time (and sometimes their safety), is in setting up makeshift IT triage—that is, on-the-fly access to data and applications after a disaster. Often, such implementations in the wake of an emergency, are not properly configured, may be insecure, and may not meet required corporate compliances, such as HIPAA.

Disaster preparedness means having, at the very least, the data and apps that are required to keep day-to-day operations already running in a remote location and ready to access. It also means having trained end-users how to access that in-place, contingent data so they can continue to get to the systems they need, whether they are working on company-issued machines or their own mobile devices.

Also it’s practically guaranteed that, after experiencing a disaster, a company will not be running with its full staff. IT employees, who would setup these temporary disaster recovery fixes, may not be available or present to implement them, so redundancies need to be built in, and plans clearly documented, so that whoever needs to step in can do so.

In short, IT contingency in wake of emergencies should be as seamless, as compliant with corporate security policies, and as easy for end-users to access as possible.

Easier Than Ever
Such disaster preparedness is easier than ever for companies to deploy because of changing trends in technology. Cloud computing, virtualization, and the continuing increase of always-connected and relatively powerful mobile devices in the hands of end-users are all key ingredients in deploying a strong and effective disaster preparedness solution.

So, why are many organizations still not on-board with creating strong disaster preparedness plans? In a recent survey conducted by Symantec of IT decision-makers in small- to-mid-sized businesses, only 26 percent have a disaster preparedness plan in place. The rest are in the process of creating a plan and others simply do not have one.

Article Source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2408092,00.asp

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