Planning for the

Wrong Disaster">

Planning for Disaster

In addition to their data-protection and recovery plans, businesses must consider long- and short-term scenarios.

Some New York financial companies have data centers in both Manhattan and across the Hudson River in New Jersey, said Braunstein. While data would be safe in a contained fire in the financial district, a hurricane or terrorist attack most likely would impact both sites, he said.

On the other hand, some San Francisco companies have data centers in Arizona or Virginia and have split the workload between the two sites: The odds are good any disaster would not impact all locations simultaneously, said Braunstein.

"Most of the plans are based on, 'We've lost power to the building' or 'We lost the building somehow,'" he said. "Most of them were localized. 'We lost our building,' not 'We lost our county.'"

And, while sending employees out-of-state for several days or weeks is feasible, businesses must consider the far-reaching implications if—as in 9/11 and Katrina—areas are disrupted for months or years, Braunstein said.

Before 9/11, one Chicago company, for example, planned to take its backup tapes via plane to its SunGard site in New Jersey, he said. After the terrorist attacks, no planes were allowed to fly—effectively rendering this firm's plan useless, said Braunstein.

"If you are hit with something like Katrina or 9/11, you cannot count on your staff picking up and going elsewhere," he said.

Next page: Smart Planning

This article was originally published on 09-23-2005
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