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September 9, 2016
No matter what field of study you look into, experts have dire predictions. Virologists forecast an impending pandemic that could wipe out humanity. Geologists warn that the West Coast is long overdue for a massive quake, which would disrupt the supply chain top to bottom — cutting off supplies of essential foodstuffs, technology, and infrastructure like critical ports of entry where many of our goods come in from overseas. Cyber security experts warn that a major hack attack on our power grid or other essential services is a given; they’re actually surprised it hasn’t already happened. Riots and acts of terror are becoming commonplace.
If you didn’t have a business to take care of, you’d probably run and hide! But you do, and you likely can survive if you have a disaster recovery plan that’s up to par when things go down. Here are the essentials of a great disaster recovery plan.
1. Two Kinds of Backups
There are two types of backups: differential (or comprehensive) backups and incremental backups. Comprehensive backups are the ‘whole enchilada’. It includes archived data, system and security settings and configurations, etc. Incremental backups supplement comprehensive backups. These are run in between regular comprehensive backups.
Incremental backups include the data that has been added or altered since the last comprehensive backup. These should be run with much greater frequency. Depending on the amount of data your business produces, incremental backups should be done daily or perhaps multiple times per day.
2. Two Places to Store Backups
The argument over cloud backups versus onsite backups is ridiculous. The fact is, you need both. Cloud backups are essential for protecting data in the event that primary systems are devastated. Onsite backups are important in case you can’t access the cloud for some reason (like a power outage, Internet disruption, etc.). It isn’t either or. You must have both.
3. Communications Make or Break Disaster Recovery
If cell towers are out and landlines are down, how will you communicate with key people? Essential personnel need standing orders to report if a serious emergency occurs, so that they can get started restoring operations. Walkie-talkies and other low-tech communications are lifesavers when primary systems are out. Just make sure you’ve got batteries and backup batteries. Those items sell out quickly in stores when a real emergency happens.
4. Have Up-to-Date, Comprehensive Documentation
Say the zombie apocalypse goes down, and you barely make it to your offices with a handful of your best people. You crack open your disaster recovery plan, only to realize that it was last updated during the first Bush administration. It doesn’t reflect your current systems, applications, or even the people you have on staff. Well, at least the ones who haven’t been eaten by zombies. This plan is basically worthless, unless, perhaps you need to build a fire to stay warm or heat up your stash of Twinkies and Vienna sausages. Make sure your documentation is updated as you change and add IT services, systems, applications, and data stores. Otherwise, the zombies will get you.
Disaster recovery is a godsend when things hit the proverbial fan. Do you want to learn about how IT managed services can help you and your business survive the apocalypse? Download the white paper: Managed IT Services For Small Businesses now.
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