Think Disaster and Recovery Planning Is a Waste? Think Again.

We all know we should back up our files now and again to prevent data loss from a computer malfunction. But let’s face it, the only ones who suffer from not backing up is ourselves. Regretful but in the scheme of things pretty small.

Loss of┬ábusiness data, on the other hand, would be of much greater consequence. The way to prevent such a loss is to do some disaster and recovery planning: backing up all the data, putting the backup somewhere physically separate from the business premises, finding ways to keep the data intact or available for recovery…..on a regular basis.

It’s easy to think that disaster will never hit and you have other priorities. Here’s the story* of someone else who thought learning something for “just in case” was a waste of time.

Harry Sowle is a helicopter pilot. He was trained to fly helicopters when he was 20 years old. Twenty-five years later, he is a commercial pilot hired by a company that required water survival training. He was confident in his skills as a pilot and felt his time and the company’s money was being wasted on this training. Even though he ferried men back and forth from oil rigs he was sure that he was so good and had been a pilot for so long that there was no way he was going to need this training because he would never crash, much less in the water.

Another 20 years goes by without mishap. It was starting to look like Harry was right and he did waste his time on that training when (you know where this is going) disaster struck. Something in the helicopter’s engine failed and completely destroyed itself. Harry managed to get the helicopter to a place where he could (somewhat) safely put down and get everyone out. That place was the Gulf of Mexico where the rig sat. Into the water.

Harry’s “wasted time” turned out to be the only thing that kept him alive. He got out of the helicopter and made it to the surface before passing out. It was close.

Now Harry is extremely glad to have wasted that time. Which turned out not to be a waste after all. The same can be said of disaster and recovery planning. You may never need it, but when you do, you really need it.

So make the time to do what you need to do to keep your data safe and recoverable. Better you “waste time” now than have deep, deep regrets later.

*from La Louisiane Spring 2009 pp.15-16

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