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This was an interesting article that came across my desk from a colleague at Progress (thanks Dave C.!) regarding a disaster that has gone largely unnoticed. I thought it was an interesting example of what you can plan for (or not plan for).
The article talks about a small town in Northern California called Morgan Hill. The challenge is that this type of man-made disaster could happen anywhere in the US. How you build a contingency into your Disaster Recovery Plan for this is very difficult.
You could make sure you have ham radio operators on staff, but that seems a bit eccentric. You could also buy satellite phones for key personnel, but they may not work either (and still need to be charged).
There are times when you can’t do or plan for everything. There are, however, things that you can do to help mitigate these types of disasters. You will not completely eliminate the impact of them, but you can minimize the affect they might have on your business.
The first is to establish a good rapport with the local emergency services personnel. These include police and fire department. But you should not limit yourself to those agencies. You can also connect up with your local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) organization as well as the local Red Cross. Communicating with other businesses nearby is also critical to all of your success. There are organizations like this in almost every country. There are often times when you can work with other businesses to share resources to ensure that both of you are successful. This also helps you know and understand what Disaster Recovery plans they may have in place that you may have overlooked. For example, it would be nice to know that your office is close to their chemical processing plant.
The second thing you can do is ensure that critical systems are available during this type of an outage. For example, can you run your internal network without an internet connection? Some companies rely heavily on the internet from the corporate office to the remote branches that they become crippled if the network connection is not there. Are the remote offices part of the critical business application that needs to function?
Lastly, you can choose to accept the risk that this type of a disaster will cause an outage to you. As long as you quantify the outage and understand the impact it will have on your business it is acceptable. This is similar to being self-insured when it comes to insuring your vehicle.
Have you seen or been a part of a local disaster that you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it!
Until next time – Failure to plan is an option – just not a good one!
Brian Bowman has been working for Progress for over 20 years. He has performed database tuning and disaster planning for all sizes of customers around the world. Brian started in technical support, and has also worked in product development, pre-sales for Direct and Indirect customers and is currently a Senior Principal Product Manager for OpenEdge.
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