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Simple Ways To Protect Against Disasters

Chances are, you've watched video and seen photos of last year's disasters and thanked your deity of choice that it couldn't happen to you. A tsunami is probably never going to reach Denver or Phoenix, and a hurricane probably won't strike Chicago or Boise. But that doesn't mean that a disaster isn't lying in wait for you, and it doesn't mean that you can't do something to protect yourself and your business against an event that would shut your doors forever.

An event that can cost you your business doesn't need to be of Biblical proportions. It just needs to destroy the information that it takes to run your business or to keep your affairs in order. In other words, for you, a disaster can be something as simple as a power outage, a fire or a virus attack. The extent of the problem matters some " there's less of a problem if the power company restores your electrical service the same day than there is if your entire portion of the continent is dark " but ultimately, even if you're out for a couple of days, you can always come back if you have your data and a way to use it to serve your customers.

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To do both of these things, you need to take a few easy, reasonably inexpensive, steps. But first you need to think things out. Companies that bounce back from unexpected events almost always have had a plan, and they've tested that plan to make sure it works. Here are some steps:

- Have a plan. Before you do anything, think about what you have to protect. What is it that your company does, and what information does your company need to stay in business? Depending on your company, this could include documents and e-mail, accounting records, customer lists, even engineering drawings and supplier records. Once you've figured out which information is vital to your business, make sure you know what form it's in. Is everything saved on a hard disk somewhere? Do you know where? If you don't, find out.

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