Sunday, September 22, 2013

Disaster recovery and Contigencies: Are you Ready?

Most of the time when you think of the terms Disaster Recovery and Contingency planning people think of some external event such as a natural disaster, war or an event that causes physical endangerment. What others tend to overlook is the digital disaster and the contingencies needed to prevent these attacks from occurring.

Almost all major corporations and companies have some sort of technological disaster recovery plan in order to maintain functionality in the event of some form of an attack or natural occurrence. Even though they have these plans, many companies are lacking a solid grasp on what assets they have and where their weakest security areas are, either due to uncertainty on how to begin the process or having too few resources to allocate to it.(Hinkley, 2013)

Whatever the cause for your slipshod hold on your areas of weakness, you must create a risk profile over time in order to take your data protection to the next level.

  • Identify each of your assets and classify them, so you can then pinpoint exactly what risks exist and what assets they affect.

  • Determine what version of your software each of the assets run on, where that is on your network, and how it’s deployed.

  • Assign a value to each of those assets. Figure out how much risk is truly constituted within each one based on the business impact if the assets’ security was compromised.(Hinkley, 2013.

In order for effective business operations to function, these companies have to devote more time to contingencies, disaster recovery, and maintaining business continuity in the wake of these events.

This works great for businesses but what about the every person who has his or her data on their personal network at home? Do you have a personal disaster recovery plan in the event of a natural disaster? Does it allow you to recover all of your information stored on your computers?

These are all reasonable questions that with a little contingency planning can be answered and leave you and your family ready and prepared in the event of a disaster.

So what type of data should you store for retrieval later?

As you think through your data, consider storing these items:

[1] Birth, death, and marriage certificates

[2] Diplomas and transcripts

[3] Medical data – details of medications, illnesses, injuries – and contact info for all doctors (note, also include medical details for your pets)

[4] Financial data — details of bank accounts, credit cards, stocks, insurance (house, car, life), and recent tax returns (don’t forget contact info for all financial institutions)

[5] Contacts — a list containing addresses and phone numbers of friends and family

[6] Family photos (weddings, births, graduations, etc.)

[7] Portfolio – if you’re a writer, designer, artist, or musician, you may wish to add your work to a storage device (if not already there)

[8] Passwords – a list of websites that you frequent and user names/passwords

[9] Technology – be sure to keep computer-related software and serial numbers with the rest of your disaster recovery data (whether on thumb drives or on CD’s) – this way, you won’t have to go through the hassle of purchasing new software and starting from scratch in the event of destruction or loss

[10] Insurance recovery – take photos or videos of all large items so that in the event the items are destroyed, you have proof of ownership (for example, cars, TV, computer, other appliances)
(Pratt, 2012)

Having these items stored where they can be retrieved digitally later can help prevent a lot of hardship in the event of a disaster. This is only the tip of the planning spear for a potential disaster but if you would like to read more, check out the following links:

Pratt, A. (2012). Do you have a Personal Disaster Recovery Plan. Retrieved from

Hinkle, C. (2013). Three Security Must-Haves for 2013. Retrieved from


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