After the disasters of September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina, businesses got a wake-up call to be proactive in preparing for such emergencies. One critical structural component to any organization is its information technology infrastructure and business data.
Business computer systems are very sophisticated and complicated. We often take for granted our IT systems and it is not until the system goes down or is unavailable that we realize the importance of it.
Backing up critical data is very important to the recovery of any organization after something as minor as a power outage or something as major as a disaster takes place, whether it be a flood, fire, act of terror or natural disaster.
So what can an organization do to be prepared to recover its IT infrastructure?
Back-up Critical Data
Every computer system should have a back up process for mission critical data. There are different models for doing this and there are lots of vendors who can help come up with a plan and model specific for your organization. I am familiar with tape backup systems. We backup our network data every day to tape. There is a different tape for every day of the week and backup tapes are run on a daily basis.
Once the data is backed up, it should be taken off campus. Our offices are in a flood plane so we have our data stored “out of the valley” to ensure it is somewhere safe in the event of a disaster. We have a safety deposit box that the tape is taken to for safe storage. The tapes are rotated as they are backed up and the new tapes are swapped with the current tape.
Recovery Plan for IT Infrastructure
Every organization should have a plan in place in preparation for an emergency or disaster. Taking the time to think through all of the “what ifs” is time well spent. It is difficult to “think” in the midst of a crisis so any upfront planning can be invaluable in the midst of a crisis. Things to think about:
- What computer equipment needs to be replaced?
- Who has access to off-site storage of back-up tapes?
- What vendors can access needed equipment quickly?
- Who has the knowledge and skill set to rebuild the computer infrastructure?
- Where will the computer network be staged temporarily?
- What is the priority for computer restorations?
- How are employees communicated with?
Update the Plan
It is important to update the IT recovery plan at least annually to ensure the plan stays current with organizational changes.
Computer networks are something that every employee in every organization takes for granted. Most businesses can be paralyzed when their computer systems are lost and can be detrimental to the operation of the organization. Taking the time to back up critical computer data and develop a plan to recover after a disaster is a responsibility that management should take seriously and invest the time in doing.
photos by davesag