Daily Archives: October 2, 2009

If You Have One Hour To Do Disaster Planning …

… then I hope you’re religious because only a miracle’s going to save you. Every now and then I run across an article that makes me cringe. This article on NewsFactor is one of those articles. It says that minimal preparation — the kind you’d have to resort to if a disaster were in fact on the way — can be accomplished in an hour by a small business.

While that will hopefully be enough time to save your people, that’s all your going to save. If you haven’t planned in advance, say goodbye to your profits as your data goes up in smoke. (Your office might also go up in smoke, but presumably you were at least smart enough to be adequately insured for your physical assets.)

If you lose your location, the first thing you need to do is get up and running again. That’s going to require a back-up location, back-up equipment, and up-to-date data. While most cities always have space available that can be leased and outfitted reasonably quickly, at a premium, this is only the case if you don’t need any proprietary equipment. But if you’re operational data wasn’t already backed up, chances are you’re not going to get it backed up in an hour … especially if you didn’t have a plan in place.

In the average small business, data recovery in the event of a disaster is an afterthought and most of the data is sitting on end-user PCs which are not part of the nightly backup which only backs up the mostly-empty server. Unless you have time to run around and pull the hard drives out of every machine and gather up every laptop, if the building is about to go up in smoke because of a forest fire raging your way, your data is going to go up in smoke too if this is your situation. And up-to-date data is often the difference between a quick recovery and a quick bankruptcy in today’s knowledge-driven economy.

But if you planned your data backup and recovery in advance, a backup process executes in the background every time a user logs into the network or, better yet, you are running virtual machines off of the server that stores all data in a centralized data store that is incrementally backed up to local tapes (with critical transaction data backed up nightly to a remote server). Then all you have to do is shut down the network, grab the tapes, run, shunt them into the backup drive at the remote location, restore, and go.

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Are You Ready for the Mega-Risks?

A recent Supply Chain Digest piece recently covered a few of the supply chain mega-risks that you need to be prepared for, because chances are that you can statistically count on at least one of them happening in the near future.

The mega-risks highlighted by Supply Chain Digest include:

  • Terrorists Attack Your Port
    The article focussed on an attack at at US port, such as the Ports of Los Angeles or Long Beach, which could cripple supply chains for a number of multi-nationals, but an attack at a major port in China, for example, could be just as devastating.
  • A New War Breaks Out
    The article hypothesized that Israel could attack Iran over nuclear capabilities, but war could break out anywhere tensions are high. Northern Ireland, Africa, Venezuala … who knows.
  • Pandemic
    The article mentioned the Swine Flu. But it could be Bird Flu. Or SARS. Or something worse.
  • Rapid Inflation / Deflation
    The dollar could rise, or fall, rapidly.

But those are just a few of the mega-risks. As highlighted in nine cautionary tales (which I reviewed in your supply chain is not secure I and II), you also have:

  • Massive Power Failure
    A targeted attack or opportune failure in a critical region of the grid can take out a city, state, or even an entire region of the country.
  • Toxic Atmosphere
    A train wreck could unleash toxic chemicals into the air and make an entire subdivision, town, or city uninhabitable for an indefinite amount of time.
  • Severe Oil Shortage
    A single attack on a major refinery or drilling platform could take out a sizeable chunk of global production.
  • Agro-Armageddon
    Mad-cow could spread faster than a viral outbreak and decimate national farm populations.

And natural disasters and catastrophes, though unlikely, that are still too numerous to mention. Are you ready?

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