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Do you have a disaster plan?

A disaster prompts thoughts on the plan that’s keeping Ask Leo! running.

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This is Leo Notenboom for

As I record this, I’m sitting in my RV parked in my home’s driveway. In
fact, if you listen carefully, you may hear the RV’s generator running in the

Like many in the greater Seattle area, I’ve been without electricity for
coming up on three days.

Now, my wife and I have a personal disaster plan – namely this very RV that
I’m sitting in. Seattle’s in an earthquake zone, and they keep telling us that
we’re over due for “the bigh one”. As a result, there’s a bit of emphasis on
being prepared – for example having three days worth of supplies at the ready.
In our case the RV makes perfect sense – we regularly live in it for days at a
time, on the road with our three dogs, so we just keep it stocked and

If you run a business, or are responsible for the technolgy behind a
business, the same concept should apply. Do you know what you need to do should
a business-affecting disaster occur? You may not live in an eartquake zone, but
that doesn’t mean you’re immune. From something as big as a windstorm or
earthquake, or as horrifying as terrorism, to something as simple and more
common like a facilities destroying fire, you are at risk.

As an example, in my case, in addition to thorough and off-site backups, my
business disaster plan includes a laptop or two, and, because my business is so
internet reliant, at least two alternate ways to connect to the net. My wife’s
business has the added complication of physical inventory and telephone sales,
so while the business can in part be run much like mine, anywhere there’s an
internet connection, dealing with physical matters such as a retail storefront,
inventory, telephone access and shipping come into play as well.

Now, your business may be able to simply close down for a period without
disasterous ramifications. Certainly if I stopped publishing Ask Leo! for a
week, perhaps even missing a weekly newsletter, some eyebrows might be raised
but my core business would not suffer.

But that’s not a common scenario.

Do you know how your business would weather a disaster? Do you know what it
means for you to be prepared? Three days without power, for example? Or the
loss of key components of your technology? What if you lost the ability to
phsically go to your office or computer? Would any of those be the end of your
business, or only an interruption? And if only an interruption, for how

How much business relate damage could you absorb, and what does that imply
for you to be prepared?

It pays to be prepared. In fact, it could easily be key to making sure you
keep getting paid.

I’d love to hear what you think. Visit and enter 11004 in the go
to article number box and leave me a comment. While you’re there, search over
1,000 technical questions and answers on the site.

Till next time, I’m Leo Notenboom, for

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