A little over a week ago, we had a traumatic fire just a couple of blocks away from our TEAM ITS office. This got me to looking back at how far we have come in Disaster Recovery. Today, I am writing a blog for TEAM ITS, LLC from my ERBA job of IT Coordinator. I guess I am my own guest blogger, :-).
As a Community Action Agency that works on Federal and State grants, our grantors require us to have a disaster recovery plan. We help people in crisis, so it would stand to reason that if there were a crisis, we would need to be able to operate.
When we started working with TEAM ITS, we had been struggling to make all the pieces fit that needed to be in place for our own disaster recovery plan. At the time, our server was being backed up to a My Book, that was kept in a fire safe vault, on our property. Period.
If something happened to the machine, the backup could be used on the same model of server to get our data back. Again-Period.
Little did I think about the fact that even a fireproof safe is going to get hot. And plastic coated drives may still not be 100% safe. And then we were at the mercy of our IT company finding us an identical machine quickly. We would still be looking at two days down and that is even if we just had catastrophic system failure. The thought of knowing we were really 100% ready to face a real disaster, such as a fire, or even worse, a tornado to our town, really made me cringe.
Fast forward to today. We now have a three-tiered disaster plan in place. One that I am confident with, and one that I know, should we have our community depending on us after a disaster, we will be able to pull through.
Here in our building we have a NAS- Network Attached Storage. This is a file by file backup that I absolutely love. This is the thing you need 10 seconds after you hit delete, saw the message that your file was too big for the recycle bin, you were talking on the phone so you just hit okay and then you realized you weren’t deleting what you thought you were deleting. Our NAS backs up every night, so every file is just a day back. It takes me just a couple minutes to restore a file when someone calls in that panic. (And I have done this MULTIPLE times in the last year). EVERYONE needs this! This is also the best recovery for a system failure, and as much as we want to think bad things never happen, we all know better. Better to be prepared and never use it than to need it and not have it.
Our second back up is off site, at another location, but still hooked to our network. It is a complete system backup. This too runs every night, I get emails as they are running that tells me they are successfully backed up–something else I love. This would be the backup we would turn to if we had a fire in this building, or a natural disaster that took out our building but not the whole town.
We then have a third backup. It is cloud backup and it is used for our most important items. I have a file on my system called In Case I Get Hit By a Bus. This file is everything someone would need to know to keep doing my job the morning after my demise. Of course, I have shown my assistant, and others, but my guess is, they might be a little emotional- either because I got hit by a bus, or because of all the work they now have to do; either way, they probably need a little “in writing” guidance.
I have had all the department heads create a similar file. Things they have to have to continue working. These, along with our absolutely have to have documents are saved to the cloud. I am going to give you a word or forewarning- truly secure cloud backup is not cheap, but this is not the place to skimp. Choose a company for its track record, not its price. (TEAM ITS can help with this). I am not a huge cloud fan personally and we use VPNs rather than cloud for our day in day out business. I personally like the fact that my document storage is here in my building, but in order to have this level of backup, I feel the cloud is necessary and as I said, if you choose the right one, there are multiple layers of security.
Having this backup gives us the tools we need should our town be hit by a tornado. We could go to another building in another town and be set up ready to assist our customers in a matter of hours. We could be back to 100% fully functional within 2 days.
THIS is a disaster plan. One that I have slept better at night every night since it has been in place. What is funny, is going back to the beginning where I said we needed a disaster plan in place for most of our grantors. When we started working with TEAM ITS, Mike put this plan together, not knowing we had to have it for grants. When he started going over it with me and our Executive Director, we realized he had just written our much needed disaster plan.
Mike Miller is a specialist at creating disaster recovery and backup plans. If you do not really know how you would handle a fire or a natural disaster, give TEAM ITS a call. Let Mike come to your business and lay out a custom plan for you. That sleeping at night thing is priceless.