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Disaster Recovery Planning

What would you do if you couldn’t get into your physical offices due to a fire or natural disaster? What if your computer was stolen? Could you continue operating your business from an off-site location without downtime?

It is a fact that 70% of businesses without a DR plan are gone within two years of a disaster such as a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or extended power outage.

Disaster recovery is the process, policies and procedures of restoring critical business operations, allowing businesses to continue to access data, computers and software, and to reestablish communications, set up physical offices
and regroup their people.   Every well-protected company must develop a disaster recovery plan with a particular focus on data protection.

Basics of a DR plan:

Here is a list of essential tools you must have to get started with a disaster recovery plan. Contact us if you’d like to get better prepared.
Emergency plan
Every business must have a written emergency plan, showing who will be responsible for the operation (i.e. backup) and who will implement the plan when necessary. This does not need to be a long and difficult document to create; it may be a simple list of names and assigned activities that clearly defines responsibilities.

Anti-virus software

If the Internet is part of your daily operations, anti-virus software is imperative.  Microsoft has released a free, automatic update and easy to use antivirus software. Click
here to download it now. The makers of these softwares are constantly looking for the latest threats and will update your computer to keep your data safe at all times. Go to TopTen Reviews for information on some of the available programs and where to buy them.

Backup software

You must backup your data every day.  Windows and Mac OS come with software to backup your files, and there are a number of other software packages available to meet your needs.  It is important not only to do a backup, but to take that copy of your files to another location.  Depending on the size of your files, you may only need to use a USB key, or a small external drive to do the job.  Another popular option is to do remote backup via the Internet. 

Surge protectors and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)

The biggest cause of business interruptions is power outages.  Brownouts and spikes on the lines can burn out your equipment.  At a minimum, all your electronic equipment should be connected to a surge protector.  Your computer, router, and DSL or cable-modem must be connected to a battery powered device (UPS) that will keep your equipment running for no less than 20 minutes, then will shut down your equipment gracefully in the event of a prolonged outage.

Fire prevention
Installing and maintaining fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers is an important part of fire prevention. Other fire prevention tips are:
  • Do not store computers in a small closet without ventilation
  • Do not overload outlets and surge protectors
  • Do not plug in space heaters on surge protectors
  • Turn off equipment over nights and weekends


One in ten laptops is stolen every year in the United States. An anti-theft alarm system for the premises and physical security for the equipment will help prevent the huge headache of replacing lost data and equipment. There are a number of resources to help with this:

Extra equipment

Having an extra desktop or laptop on hand will greatly reduce downtime in instances of hardware failure, data corruption, or a lost or stolen computer.

Other considerations

If you have multiple computers, a network server may be part of the solution to prepare for disaster. By centralizing information, there is only one place to protect and backup the information. Remote access to your equipment would help in case of weather or time constraints. It will also provide almost instant access to your office when you are out of town or working from home.