Disaster Recovery Procedure

Ever since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York it has become apparent how important it is for companies to have a disaster recovery plan. While we do not expect a commercial airliner to take a detour by way of our office building, a fire could do just as much damage. The fire marshal would properly condemn the building making it nearly impossible to recover any of the data and remaining files in due time.

Assuming that a fire could consume the building along with communications facilities, computer and data equipment; the questions to be analyzed and answered would be: what would it entail to continue daily operations at an alternate location…? How long would it take..? What are the costs and what can we do now to be prepared.?

The management team at INTERCOMP USA, INC. has done some extensive research and come up with an extremely cost effective disaster recovery procedure. While the plan we developed works for us, bear in mind that it was implemented with our industry in mind. The framework might work for you, but the details may need some adjustments. Since it may take a little while to assure new permanent office space, leasing that needed computer equipment may be your best bet since we are rebuilding from scratch later on anyway.

Having the data to restore servers and workstations is the part that takes a lot more planning and actions. Not only should all server volumes be available for immediate restoration, it must also be off site and redundant. The solution that we are using is a combination of software, hardware and disciplined procedural actions which must be followed to the minutest of details.

Our email system is managed offsite with Google Apps. It is a cloud based system that is backed up in real-time. We find that this type of service allows us to be in constant communication with our clients at all times and especially in the event of a catastrophe.

Our onsite backup procedure is as follows: Every weekday the IT Manager creates a complete backup of all data on every server using Symantec Backup Exec 11d at approximately 11:00pm. This process can vary in time from 15 minutes to 5 or even 6 hours depending on your tape backup system. There are 10 tapes for 2 weeks worth of full backups. These tapes are held by the CEO and IT manger at the residence of each individual.

Documents that we gather and of course occasionally update are: Accounting systems, Access services, Domain Registrations, MS Exchange Recovery, Disaster Recovery Procedures, Software Licensing, Messaging Systems, Password Lists, Remote Office Systems, Stock Updates, Security Issues, System Info, T1 Data Line, T1 Voice Data and a few others which are vital to our industry. We found that a regular “Catalog Case” which can be obtained from your local office supply store will work just fine.

This document collection is also redundant and is kept together with the tapes set at the two locations specified above. As we stated before, the entire system depends on a well organized and carefully planned implementation of these procedures. It is understood that all of the data compiled is sensitive to the survival of the company; therefore, extreme caution is advisable with respect to which this task is entrusted to.

The procedures described above have been developed with common sense in mind and plenty of reading and research. They are by no means perfect, but they do provide a well thought out solution that will work for our type of operation and cover a situation we, hopefully, never have to face.