Plan now, relax later
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Now that the shock of the 9/11 attack has numbed a bit, it's time to look at lessons learned. For a large number of companies with offices in or around the World Trade Center (not just the twin towers were affected) a disaster-recovery plan was a must. It is a statistical good bet that such companies that didn't have some kind of a disaster-recovery plan ready to go will not be in business a couple years from now.
There are many components of such a plan, for the storage administrator, this all comes down to one word: offsite.
Consider. If you have all your data, and your data backups, in your home office, and the unthinkable happens, where do you go, to whom do you turn, to get your data back. That data is gone, and you will not be able to resurrect it, not your business. You won't know to whom you have made a sale, who owes you money, to whom you own money, what parts are ordered and back-ordered. Well, the list goes on and on, and all that vital information is gone forever.
But if you had your data either stored, or backed up, in an offsite location, then you can recover. It will take time and effort, and it will be expensive, but the business can go on.
It is not the purpose of this tip to suggest all there is to know about offsite storage and/or offsite backup. It's a subject about which many people have written at great length. But you should consider doing something about getting some or all of your data stored offsite, just because it's a smart thing to do, and, as we have all seen, no one knows when you might need that extra security.
Various companies run offsite storage activities, and the services they provide are many and varied. For example, ESS Data Recovery, http://www.savemyfiles.com/offsite.htm, offers a slew of services including offsite storage, password recovery, data recovery and data-loss prevention. Datapeer, http://www.datapeer.com/services/storage/, similarly offers a host of online services. Datafort, http://www.datafort.co.uk/, offers a user client that checks for modified files and uploads them to servers during off-peak communications hours, and Back Jack, http://developer.apple.com/mkt/programs/offsitestorage.html, specializes in backing up MacIntosh files (just in case you have large image files on Macs).
This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. But these companies are illustrative of the kinds of services and products that are available for storage administrators who need to get their data into locations that are separate from their home offices. An ounce of prevention, after all, is worth more than you can know.
David Gabel is Executive Technology Editor for TechTarget.