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Disaster planning

By Craig Goldwyn, visibility.tv

I do not want to cause indigestion among my clients and friends, but I do want you thinking about a worst case scenario. The events of 9/11 brought the issue into focus. Clearly, everyone is vulnerable.

Backup strategies

MOST IMPORTANTLY, you MUST back up regularly. Most of you should be backing up daily. If you are on the road a lot you should consider backing up to a server on the net. Ask yourself this: How much time and how much money would it cost me to restore my business and my life if my hard drive were wiped out right NOW? Your data is vulnerable to fire, theft, and natural disasters. Lightening could take you out. Power surges. Any number of hazards. But the most likely disaster is equipment failure. All hard drives are motor driven, and all electric motors burn out eventually.

If you are already backing up, remember: one backup copy is not enough! If the building burns, when both copies are on premises, you have no backup. You must have at least two copies so one is always off premises. If you are not sure of how to develop a backup strategy, let's talk.


For insurance purposes, if you have a camera, walk around the office and take pictures of all your valuables. Photograph the serial numbers of expensive equipment. Store the pictures off premises. You should also have a list of all your software and the registration numbers so they can easily be replaced if there is a fire. Make sure your insurance has a valuable papers rider or interruption of business rider if necessary.

Viruses and other net attacks

There has been a lot of discussion in net circles about attacks on the net. There have already been several worms aimed at Windows users disguised as info about the hijackers. So far nothing major has occurred, but this is a good time to be sure you are running virus software and that you have current virus definitions.

Remember not to open emails with attachments unless you are expecting them. This is especially true for Windows users. If you see an email with an attachment, if it is an .exe file, it can harm Windows machines, do not open or download it. Mac users have nothing to fear from exe files. I recommend you mark the 13th of the month on your calendar and make sure you check for virus updates on that date.

If you are running an NT server, you MUST download the latest worm patches from MS. If you have a DSL, T1, or cable modem connection, you should be running firewall software, and make sure it is configured properly. The risk to dialup access users is very small. Most of my web clients are now hosted at Digital Forest, and they have assured me that they are properly configured to repel denial of service attacks or other problems.

If access to the internet is mission critical to you, you should consider having two ISPs in case one is knocked offline. For example, I have one ISP for my DSL connection, and I also have an AOL account.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

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