Your Company Against Disaster
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
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
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
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
■ Records of faxes sent and received.
■ Password lists.
■ Scanned images of paper you have
■ 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
■ The 'My Documents' folder defaults its storage to the C drive of
■ 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
■ 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
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
of the CSM Family!
Van Zandt, Emrich & Cary, Inc.
AR Davis Insurance Agency
each newsletter, we would like to welcome clients to our "family." If
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Who said it???
"Just because something doesn't do what you planned
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Call Kim at 859-491-7947 to oder
Recovery - Part 2
Centralize Data and Protect Your Servers
know that CSM is 10 years old this year?
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