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Disaster Recovery Is All About Planning

As this is being written, a major storm is bearing down on the Texas coast. Nearly a month ago, a similar storm destroyed much of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Tens of thousands of people were displaced, and as many as a million are seeking shelter again.

With those people are going the hopes of thousands of small and mid-sized businesses. Many of those businesses will lose everything, and will never be heard from again. Others will spend months or years recovering the information they need to make their business function, to pay their employees, and serve their customers. Yet a few are already up and running, because they planned ahead for disaster.

No doubt you’re aware of the ability of big companies to weather even terrible disasters. They depend on companies such as IBM and Sungard to safeguard their data, help them recover from a disaster, and even set up temporary offices and communications where necessary. But smaller companies may not be able to avail themselves of the services of these disaster
recovery giants. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t plan ahead.

Fortunately, disasters on the scale of a category 5 hurricane are rare events. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have a disaster. “Your neighbor could have a burst pipe that floods your server room,” suggests Bob Boyd, president and CEO of Agility Recovery Solutions,
in Charlotte, North Carolina. “There are simple things any business can do,” Boyd adds, “they can start backing up their data.”

Boyd notes that simply having a copy of critical business records, such as accounting data, critical documents, and copies of e-mails can make a huge difference between keeping a business running and having it slip quietly into history. “If you don’t have your data it’s difficult to overcome a catastrophic event,” Boyd explains. “You don’t know who your customers are, how much they owe, or how to bill them. You don’t even know your inventory.”

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