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Disaster Planning, recovery & business continuity

Disaster Planning, recovery & business continuity

Businesses and individuals (that’s you & me), use IT to quickly and effectively process information. We use electronic mail and VOIP telephone systems to communicate. Electronic data interchange is used to transmit data including orders and payments from one company to another or just ordering a tin of beans from Tesco on-line. Servers process the information and store large amounts of data; desktop computers, laptops and wireless devices are used to create, process, manage and communicate information. What are you going to do when your IT stops working?

Now, most small businesses and individuals can cope with an interruption like a power cut or internet failure for a short while; yes, it’s inconvenient, but it’s not usually life changing. Bigger businesses, however, should have a disaster recovery plan as their whole business could stop operating … imagine a supermarket without power, it has to close because it cannot operate. Furthermore, all its perishable stock will be lost, but I’m sure they have insurance for that. Happily, once the power has been restored, life goes on.

So what are you going to do if your server dies a nasty death, or you flush your mobile somewhere it wasn’t designed to go? Much of your data is important; some of the data is vital to the survival and continued operation of your business. The impact of data loss or corruption from hardware failure, human error, hacking or malware could be significant, so a plan for data backup and restoration is essential.

In planning your recovery strategy, you should consider the loss of one or more of the following system components if it applies to you:

• Servers (secure location, backup power supply, etc.)
• Hardware (networks, desktop and laptop computers, wireless devices and peripherals)
• Connectivity to a service provider (fibre, cable, wireless, etc.)
• Software applications (internet, e-mail, resource management, office productivity, etc.)
• Data and restoration (backup!)

My plan only focuses on data restoration as all the others can be ordered for next-day delivery, or connected to my neighbour with a long bit of cable. All of my data (personal and business) is backed-up daily to a cloud-based system that I pay an annual fee for, and my email system is cloud based. If everything failed or got burned to the ground, I’d just buy a new PC, install my programs, download my data and connect to my email. Yes, it would be a faff: Yes, it would be inconvenient: Yes, it would cost me time & money: But would I lose anything? No!

However modest your needs, you should have a plan! The choice as always, is yours, but if you think you need advice, you know where to come.

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Added: 17th December 2019

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