The 2001 attacks in New York and Washington have hopefully placed the importance of “Business Continuity” plans and processes in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Of course, Business Continuity is a new enough term that you may not know what that is. In short, it is a plan that will provide “continuity” of your business in the event of a disaster.
Think about it this way: if there has been some major natural disaster, and there has been wide spread damage (including damaged computer systems), don’t you think almost every company in your area is going to be looking to purchase new computer equipment? Don’t you think that will put a significant strain on the supply chain for computers and computer supplies? Is your building still standing and capable of housing your computers? And if it is, will you have power to run the computers in the first place?
This is why you need more. You need to start thinking in terms of continuity in the event of a disaster. If you don’t think such things are important, take a trip to back in time to Florida during Q3 of 2004.
To complete your full “data security” plan you’ll need a reciprocal agreement, with another company in a geographically and geologically separated area, (meaning one that is at least 900 miles away to either the east or the west). The agreement you make is that if some natural disaster hits your area then your partner will provide enough computing resources and manufacturing space to allow you to do business -- take orders, process AR, process AP, do payroll, and squeak out just enough orders to keep you in business -- until the computers you order can get to you and you can find other manufacturing space or simply have power restored to your building. As the name “reciprocal agreement” implies, you agree to do the same for them should a disaster hit them.
Now, if a disaster does hit, you can get your tapes out of storage, head over to your partner company and get your company back online while your competitors are still fighting just to get computer orders filled and figuring out a way they can manufacture anything in the first place without power.
A plan such as the one I am talking about isn’t just good business sense; it is a monumental competitive advantage.