Disaster Recovery - are you prepared?

Disaster Recovery - are you prepared?

Hindenburg disaster By History In An Hour on flickrThe events in Japan over the last week are heartbreaking….but there’s lessons to learn from these events.

Elliot Ross has a great post titled Disaster Preparedness And Recovery with some excellent links to a write-up of a first person account from Japan called Some Perspectives on the Japan Earthquake. In that article, a description was given on how quickly the disaster recovery plans were put in place.  Apparently this team had their disaster plans in place and working within 15 seconds.  15 seconds….that’s a short amount of time.

What about your disaster recovery plans? Do you have them? Have you practiced them?

I know many IT groups that have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place, but few have actually practiced this plans regularly.  Sure…there are quite a few meetings held to discuss the disaster plan and perhaps there are a few exercises at first to ‘practice’ what teams will do in a disaster – but few undertake regular, ongoing practice to make sure their teams are prepared for the worst.

In the story described above, it was made extremely clear that the entire country of Japan was well drilled in what to do in case of disaster.  I’d bet money that the emergency services in the US are well prepared for emergencies – that’s their job. They’ve shown their ability to respond in many instances across many disasters.

But…are we – those of us in business – really ready for a disaster?  Are you confident that your company will be able to run smoothly after a natural disaster?  You may have a plan in place and perhaps you’ve practice a few times…but have you drilled your team to be truly prepared?

What if you don’t have a team? What if your entire IT is outsourced to the cloud….what’s your cloud provider’s disaster recovery plan(s)?   Do they have one?  Have you talked to them about it?

So I ask you this….if you have a small business or a small team, do you have an emergency preparedness plan? Does your outsourced vendors have a plan?  Have you practiced what you would do in case of an emergency?  Have you asked your vendors to practice with you?

Do you know what you will do if something disastrous happens and you don’t have access to your financial systems, your website, your email or your customer management system? Will you be able to survive a few days, weeks or months without your primary systems? If not…what can you do today to make sure you can get by in case of disaster?

Take some time to think about it and prepare.  Because its not a question of “if”….its a question of “when.”

Image Credit: Hindenburg disaster By History In An Hour on flickr