As you take time to prepare for Hurricane Irene headed our way this weekend we recommend you take a few minutes and think about your IT disaster plan. There are a few simple steps you can take before the storm hits to keep you in good shape:
For your home:
- Check your backup and make sure it’s current. Once you know it’s current make sure you have a backup offsite somewhere. That can be anywhere you deem safe… the cloud, a safe location in your home (safe from water damage), or a relative’s house outside the storm range. Just make sure your backup is up-to-date and that it’s in at least two locations.
- Charge up all your devices like cell phones, laptops, and any other gadgets you may want to use to help weather the storm. Don’t forget a battery powered radio!
- Pull out that old school telephone. Any phone that needs to be plugged in won’t do you any good in a power outage.
- Make sure all appliances are plugged into a surge strip. Many small appliances have small computer components built in and are susceptible to damage during power surges (things like new refrigerators, washing machines etc). If it’s not plugged into a decent surge strip unplug it for the duration of the storm.
- Take care of all your online research before Irene hits. If your power goes out you won’t have access to the internet since your cable modem/router will be down. Don’t rely on your cell either since the network could be bogged down and unreliable. Do your research and “googling” now.
For your business:
- Again, check your backups and make sure you have a copy offsite. If your building gets flooded your backup is useless if all your backup tapes or drives are damaged with the server.
- Consider shutting down any servers, or large equipment. If you think your power may go out for an extended period of time, or may go out and come back on unexpectedly we recommend shutting down for the duration of the storm. Basic UPS devices typically last a short period of time and aren’t designed to keep your systems up for an extended period of time.
- Check that all equipment is plugged into surge strips or power protection devices. All equipment such as PCs, fax machines, printers, and postage meters are susceptible to damage from a surge. If they are not in a strip unplug them.
- Print out a list of key contact information and bring it home with you. This list should include key employees, important customers and clients, and vendor information. If you can’t get into your systems on Monday you want to have the information handy if you need to make some calls.
Backing up your data is a critical step to ensuring you have a plan in case a disaster strikes. Whether your data goes missing, corrupt, or destroyed, having a copy of it helps prevent a disruptive issue from becoming a major disaster.
Backing Up the Data is Only One Step of Preventive Maintenance
There is no use to a backup if you can’t restore the data. Someone could spend years backing up every day, but over time tapes can become worn, drives can develop disk errors and bad sectors, and data can be moved around and be incomplete. By doing a test restore of your data you are able to significantly increase the chances of learning about these problems before it’s too late.
Setting Up a Job to Restore the Data
When performing a test restore you can review what files and folders are being backed up, and you may find that while your “Data” and “Accounting” folders are being backed up, a “Marketing” folder that was moved, and a “Media” folder that was added since the backup was originally setup are not included in the backup. If you attempt to restore the data, but find a tape is having read/write errors, or bad sectors on the disk are preventing any data from being copied, you are able to address these errors, and either repair or replace the device at fault.
While it is important to backup regularly, doing the occasional test restore is equally important. It allows you to do a controlled run through a disaster scenario, ensuring that the backup system is working as intended and that if something inconvenient does happen to your data that you are able to recover from it.
To get help on performing a test restore for your important backup data, contact us today!