Protect Your Company Against Disaster

Part III

Creating Your Disaster Plan

In our last installment, we took all the data that is important to the effective operation of your company and consolidated it to a single server. Which probably made you distinctly uncomfortable. The fact that we equipped that server with power protection, virus protection and hacker protection should have made things a little better. The idea that having all your data on one well-fortified server is better than having it spread all over your network should have made it better still. Running a daily verified backup of all your data is the last piece of the puzzle. Your data is now secure.

Now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with a recovery plan—what some call disaster planning. The purpose of this plan is to:

1. Assess the current operational status of your company
2. Notify the key people needed to continue operations
3. Get the word out to employees, vendors and customers about your business interruption
4. Move from your existing location to a temporary one, if needed
5. Repair or replace affected systems
6. Establish a temporary level of operation
7. Plan and implement the return to normal operations at your original location.

Most companies do not have a working disaster plan, and there are good reasons for it. When you think about all the things it takes for your office to run at an effective level (electricity, phones, computers, Internet access, fax machines—and these are just a few of them), the sheer scope of the problem is almost too massive to contemplate. When you add the list of possible disaster scenarios to plan for, the notion of trying to assemble and organize this information into a plan that you can implement under less-than-perfect conditions, it is easier to give up and hope statistics are on your side—that the disaster won’t happen to you.

Speaking of statistics, here they are:


44% of IT disasters are caused by hardware malfunction.
32% are caused by human error.
14% are caused by software corruption.
7% are caused by viruses, spyware or malware.
3% are caused by natural disasters.
1 in 5 companies struck by a disaster (40%) are no longer operational 5 years later.


When most companies think about disaster planning, they’re talking about fires, floods and earthquakes. The stunning part about these statistics is that those calamities only account for 3% of business interruption. The remaining 97% happens right in your server room, in broad daylight, with not a cloud in the sky. That is the plan you need to write—how to fix or replace broken computers or corrupted data. If you add the 3% component of natural disaster (which generally means loss of location), you have accounted for all of it.

When in doubt, make a list. Here’s what should be on it, in brief:

Phone company – to establish or re-establish phone service, or to forward your main numbers.

Public utilities – to determine the state of power or other utility outages, and how long they will take to come back up.

Employees home numbers – to notify employees whether to report to work or not, and what to do when they get there.

Computer repair people – to help assess the level of damage to the IT infrastructure and start planning repair/replacement.

Internet service providers – to establish or re-establish Internet access.

Critical IT and other equipment – to be moved to a temporary location, and to assess what components are functional and which are not.

Critical paper files – to be moved to a safe location.

Insurance carriers – to file claims needed to activate business interruption coverage.

You may have more items, depending on the nature of your business. The point of the list is that, no matter the cause of your disaster, this is the checklist that you must start going through in order to recover from it.

The most necessary step in disaster planning is deciding that it must be done. Management must make a tangible decision to come up with a disaster and recovery plan. A committee should be formed whose purpose is to evaluate what components are needed to operate, come up with the list I mentioned above, decide who the key crisis managers will be, devise a written plan, communicate it to the employees and key vendors, and update it periodically.

Now that you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ve got your list and your committee, you can begin to write your disaster plan. The best way to conceptualize it is to go through the steps to recovery. Assume you’ve had a disaster, then walk through coming back from it. This is what we will do in the last article of our series.

Part of the CSM Family!

Crescent Springs Fire Department
Crescent Springs, Kentucky

Cumberland Valley Insurance
London, Kentucky

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


Who said it???
"Big results require big ambitions"

Rules:  Be the first person to email us with the correct answer at and win a $10.00 gift certificate from
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Last Contest Winner:  In our last newsletter; the "Who said it" quote was:
"Syzygy, inexorable, pancreatic, phantasmagoria --- anyone who can use those four words in one sentence will never have to do manual labor."

This quote has been attributed to W.P. Kinsella

Our winner is:
Shannon Lankford, Bilz Insurance


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Disaster Recovery - Part 4
Walking Through a Disaster

About Our Organization:

New News @ CSM!  CSM has just launched our new website.  Visit us at!

Did you know that CSM is 11 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

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