When Disaster Strikes

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Embracing the Cloud

How will you respond when disaster strikes?

You would be very surprised to find that many smaller to mid-sized companies do not have a clear Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in the event of disaster like a fire or flood.  Even at the personal computer level, most people don’t even think of the the possibility of disaster recovery.  If you have not thought of it you should.  I’m a one person show with my business, so I can only speak at the personal PC level.  Whether personal or business, however, I will ask you this simple question.  If disaster strikes your computer, how long would it take to get you or your company (employees) back up and running?   I can say based on how my system is set up today, based on how I set up my files to be stored that if I had to purchase a new system, I would be back up in less than 2 hours.  By this I mean getting a new system set up, registered and my files synced to the machine.  It would be less than 4 to include the new machine having all Microsoft updates applied.

I worked for a company who had what they thought was a solid DRP in place.  We came in one morning and found that several of our systems in our IT room had fried and the backups did not allow us to restore properly.  The DRP plan we had in place failed to allow us to recover properly and in a timely fashion.  It caused us to have to seriously rethink our processes we had in place.  It was shortly after this major issue that our company launched an aggressive plan to move away from servers in-house and migrate a majority of our resources to the cloud – Office 365, Overdrive and so on.  Our system recovery time for a laptop crash is now less than 1 day compared to the days it took previously.  I say one day only because we have machines with ghosted images of the operating system and associated software and it is just a matter of sending the machine overnight to our salesperson.

Even at a personal laptop or desktop machine level, you should be thinking about how you can set yourself up for a faster recovery.

We all have software beyond the operating system on our laptops and this can take some time to reinstall this type of stuff.  You have many options which can aid you in the recovery of your machine.

  • Imaging software allows you to image or ghost your machine.  This is best to use just after you set your machine up and install your software.  You can create an image of your machine in this new state and save that image externally.
  • Recovery Disk – Get your machine set up and create a recovery disk you can use in a system crash issue.
  • Restore Point – You can also create a restore point and I recommend doing this often if you are doing major modifications to your machine for any reason
  • Stop using the Documents folder and stop storing on your local hard drive.  Begin using Dropbox, Overdrive or Google Drive.  In a crash situation it is as simple as installing the suggested three software and syncing your data back down to your machine.
  • Using external Backup services like CrashPlan will also allow you to restore data to locations beyond the Dropbox, Overdrive or Google Drive scenarios.

The moral of this story is don’t place yourself in a precarious position by not preparing for a disaster situation.  Think about the scenarios which will allow you to recover in hours as compared to
days or longer.  We live in a technological age and we can drive ourselves a little crazy by making it difficult to get to our technology when disaster happens.  Make no mistake – our technology is not perfect and it will never be a matter of disaster not striking…it is a matter of when it will happen.  Will you be ready when it does?

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