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One Particular Monday…

“I like to be the first to get to the office, especially on Mondays. Before the week gets crazy, I have an opportunity to get all of my planning done for the week. On one particular Monday something seemed a bit strange when I opened the office door. It seemed especially quiet, even though it usually is. I turned the lights on and nothing really seemed unusual.”

“I made my way to the kitchen as the first thing I do is start a pot of coffee. Already making a mental checklist, I hung up my coat and casually walked into my office. As I entered I became immobilized, stunned in disbelief. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. My PC was gone! My phone was gone! All that was left were cords slashed haphazardly and strewn about my desk.”

“When I finally regained composure I went down the hall, quickly checking other desks. No computers and no phones. Last, I got to the server room only to discover that the entire computer server and the phone system was missing. I immediately called the police!”

The above story is true. And believe it or not, it has a happy ending. This incident happened to one of our customers. It was amazing story considering that the client was located in a nice office building. No one ever expected anything like that to happen. Yet, the client was fully prepared.

Just think. What if all of the electronic information that you use in order to run your business was suddenly taken? No more emails, no client and candidate information, and no financial data. What would you do? Could your business survive this?

This unfortunate event could have meant complete disaster for the firm. Not only would business opportunities be lost while reconstructing, but financial and historical references would be unavailable and lost forever.

In our story, a catastrophic situation was completely avoided and our client was back in business within hours. Yes ours. Why? Our client had strong internal procedure guidelines, a strategic night time operations plan, and off-site storage in place.

First, all information was stored on the server. The client had strong guidelines against storing any data on personal pc workstations and non-corporate authorized software. Everyone had to input and save their data on thecorporation’s software located on the server. Storing all information on the server meant that an automatic nightlybackup routine could be put into place. The client also had a technician test the backup a couple of times per year toensure that it could be restored and that it was in fact working. In addition, the client was diligent about checking thebackup log daily to ensure that no errors occurred with the backup the night before. Last, a copy of the data wastaken off site once a week in order to ensure that it was preserved in the event of a fire or natural disaster at the office.This would guarantee that even if data was not accessible at the office, it could be accessed from the off-site location which was located in a different area of the city.

So, how did the client get up and running so quickly? After calling the police the client called the network company and asked them to immediately build them another server. The network company obliged and had a server ready in four hours. Next, the client called our company to alert us of the situation and asked us to have a technician ready help bring the software back up again on a new server. Within 5 to 6 hours, the client had a new server with the software and data fully reinstated from the backup. Personal laptops were hooked up to the network and the company was back in business using cell phones. Clients never knew. Candidates received their checks on time. It was a happy ending.

Not hosting your own server? Is your data safe? Are you familiar with the process in the event of some type of disaster? When your data is out of your control, it is important to make certain that you know how disasters would be handled and how long before you can be up and running again. If a natural disaster, fire or even theft occurs and your data is destroyed or missing, it is crucial to have a copy in a secure place that will be accessible. How does your ASP handle this? This is especially important if your ASP is hosting several businesses. Who gets priority? Will it take longer because many businesses are involved? It is vital to know the plan so that you can decide if it is acceptable for your company’s needs.

This article made an appearance in the September 2009 issue of staffdigest Magazine. www.staffdigest.com

Terri Roeslmeier is President of Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff staffing software for the staffing and direct hire industry. Ultra-Staff is a staffing software business solution with components for front office, back office and the web. Terri’s email address is TAR@abd.net or for more information on Ultra-Staff go to www.abd.net

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