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Are you Prepared for a Disaster?

Plan for the WorstAs I write this blog post a hurricane is bearing down on Florida and Texas has been flooded out by another.  I wanted to write a security piece about the new Apache Struts vulnerability, but I keep getting distracted by news of gas shortages in Florida and traffic jams of people evacuating the state.  And by most standards Florida has one of the best evacuation plans of any state.  As I plan to review Thrive’s disaster preparedness plan, I realize no matter how well I plan something, it just won’t go smoothly when things go wrong.  Though we always hope no disaster will strike, it is prudent to plan for it.  So here are a few items you should be thinking about for your own business, as we hope and pray for the safety of our fellow American’s this week.

  1. Have a plan. Don’t just think about it, write it down and let other senior people know where it is and what it says.  If you are not available, someone else will need to pick it up and understand what to do.  Disaster recovery is just one plan, but you should also have incident response plans, etc.
  2. Run through your plan at least yearly. People should know what to do, and have a alternate person if they are unable to perform it.
  3. Have a backup and make sure it is offsite. If you were out of town when the hurricane hit Texas and your business went underwater, it wouldn’t help you to have a tape backup that was also sitting next to your server.  Have a backup, preferably automatic, that goes offsite each night.  There are many cost effective solutions available that even let you spin up your server in their datacenter, if you have a site disaster.
  4. Have a way to contact your employees. If your computer system is down, how do you plan to communicate to your employees during a disaster?  Make sure your employees also know what the method is going to be.
  5. Have a plan to contact your customers. If there is going to be a service disruption, many customers will understand, but timely information is critical.

If you are just starting to write a plan, don’t go overboard, but make something easy to follow.  In the above example of a Hurricane, you should mention where the backups are, how to access them, and a link to another write-up on how to restore from them.  Also mention if you are going to gracefully shut down computers and how and when that will be? How are you going communicate the situation to your customers?  Are you employees going to work from home and how will they know when the business will be open again?  If you are prepared, the stress level is less and your chance of weathering the disaster is higher.

Thrive would be happy to help starting this process with you.  As these natural disasters seem to be coming at a higher frequency, it is prudent to prepare your business for their destructive forces. Thrive is standing by to assist with any small or large event that may hit your business. Thrive can create custom solutions that meet your unique requirement.

Please also consider donating to the Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org) to help those in need.

 

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