Protect Your Company Against Disaster

Fires... Floods...
Plagues of locusts...

 

When you think of disasters, whatever comes to mind is usually big, devastating, and covered by insurance. A large calamity is something that your clients and vendors can understand and cut you some slack, giving you the time you need to get up and running again.

Here are some disasters you probably haven't considered:

Your building (and just your building) loses electrical power. For three days.  The fish market next door, thankfully, never loses power. They refuse to let you run an extension cord to power your servers.

The fish market next door catches fire under suspicious circumstances, causing the fire department to deny you access to your building for an entire day while they investigate.


An employee deletes your accounting and client databases.  You never find out which employee.


A hacker sends you a virus that shuts down your Internet service. You sit on hold with your Internet service provider for 6 hours before they tell you what the problem is.


Your e-mail goes down. For three days.  When it comes back up, it is so clogged with e-mail your network slows to a crawl while you wait for it all to be downloaded. Your staff plays catch up, costing you day four.


Your Employee of the Month password-protects every important document on your server, then quits to go work for your competitor.


Your Exchange Server hits the built-in 16 GB storage limit and shuts down. The defragmentation process to get it back up and running takes 2 hours. Your staff spends the rest of the day deleting unneeded e-mails. Then you have to do another defragmentation.


Your website that you use for client communication and new business goes down. You don't realize it for a week because you never check it.

 


There are dozens of other examples. A new definition of disaster is required, because it doesn't take a big thing to cost you hours and days of downtime. A disaster for any business is simply the temporary or permanent loss of critical data, or the inability to conduct business for a period of time.

Time is the enemy; the longer you are unable to retrieve and process information for the normal operation of business, the worse your situation gets. One in five businesses struck by a disaster are no longer operational 5 years later.

In this series of articles, we will explore the nature of disasters and ways to plan for them and recover from them in the shortest amount of time. That is the planning that can save your business in the event of disaster.

Part One - Your Critical Data

You immediately think of accounting transactions, inventory lists, customer databases.
Problem solved. All data accounted for.

Once again, "critical data" requires a new definition: the data your company needs to conduct business profitably.  You can certainly get by with a few missing pieces of information, but the more you have to go without, the less efficient and profitable your operation is. In addition to the list above, this definition can be expanded to include:

■  E-mail messages that have been sent and received by all your staff.
■  Correspondence to and from your clients.
■  Records of faxes sent and received.
■  Password lists.
■  Scanned images of paper you have thrown away.
■  Client proposals and presentations.
■  Your website content.

The full list of critical data is much larger than the examples covered here. Now that you know what data is critical to your agency, the next step is to find it and protect it.

Part Two - Finding the Data

You may be thinking that all of your data is safe on your server and gets backed
up every night. If you're right about that, you can skip to the next section.

Before you do, consider the following:

■  E-mail - if you use Outlook Express, e-mail is stored by default on the C drive of every workstation. If you use Outlook without an Exchange server, e-mail is stored on the C drive of every workstation.

■ 
The 'My Documents' folder defaults its storage to the C drive of the workstation.

■ 
Desktop - if you are in the habit of storing documents on your desktop, they are actually on your C drive.

■ 
Internet Favorites - also on the C drive.

■ 
Faxing - if you use a network faxing program, copies of sent and received faxes are stored on that fax server. Fax phonebooks may be stored on that server or the C drives of workstations. If you use a standard fax machine, fax numbers that you use repeatedly may be stored in its memory.

■ 
Lists of passwords for company website access - studies reveal that these are most often stored on sticky notes attached to workstation monitors. 

■ 
E-mail addresses and phone numbers for underwriters and vendors - if not on a piece of paper taped to your office wall, they might be stored in the Contacts folder of your e-mail (see above).

■ 
The client proposal you put on a disk to take home and work on.

■ 
The files on your home computer, and the files on any of your employees' home computers.

■ 
The address list in your Palm Pilot.

■ 
The calendar in your Franklin planner.

■ 
The phone numbers stored in your cell phone.

This list should be enough to convince you that your critical data, or even just the stuff you need to work efficiently, may be spread all over your office and parts unknown.

A critical step in preparing your business for a disaster is to consolidate all that data to a single central point - your server. Once this is accomplished, that server needs to be backed up and protected with electrical protection and redundancy. In our next article, we will discuss ways of centralizing data and server protection.
 

Part of the CSM Family!

Van Zandt, Emrich & Cary, Inc.
Louisville, Kentucky

AR Davis Insurance Agency
Cleveland, Ohio

In each newsletter, we would like to welcome clients to our "family." If you would like to have your business highlighted, please call Carrie at:
(859) 491-7947

Contest

Who said it???
"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless."
 

Rules:  Be the first person to email us with the correct answer at info@csmworld.com and win a $10.00 gift certificate from Blockbuster Video!

Last Contest Winner:  In our last newsletter; the "Who said it" quote was:
"Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence."
 

This quote has been attributed to both Michael O'Brien and Vince Lombardi

Our winners are:
Ed York, Schwartz and Associates - 6:26AM
Chris Kauffman, Logix Investment Management - 7:20 AM

Also with correct answers:

Elaine Gilligan, JATC Local 392 - Chris Hopple, Zimmer Insurance
Stephanie Garvey, Bramel & Ackley, P.S.C. - Bradley Turner, Forward Movement
Kara Oldiges, Little Red Schoolhouse

Deal of the Month
LM 729 Flat panel monitor w/speakers
and 3-year warranty

$265.00

Call Kim at 859-491-7947 to oder

UPCOMING ISSUES: 
Disaster Recovery - Part 2
Centralize Data and Protect Your Servers
 

About Our Organization:
Did you know that CSM is 10 years old this year?  
Computer Systems Management, Inc. is about service and about taking the extra steps needed to form lasting partnerships.  In addition to helping our corporate clientele, CSM serves the community by coordinating PC donations to low-income families and schools, providing free training classes to "welfare to work" participants, motivational assistance to GED students and on-the-job training to transitional workers.

Computer Systems Management Inc.; 
2517 Anderson Road, Crescent Springs, Kentucky 41017
(859) 491-7947; Fax: (859) 392-2682
E-mail: info@csmworld.com

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