Disaster Recovery Docs–Offsite

Years ago I worked at an ISO certified organization, where we took our administration and planning seriously. We ensured everything was backed up, we had backup drills, we each practiced recovering systems, loading tapes, even calling the company that rotated our tapes from an offsite location.

One of our administrators was very conscientious and documented everything. He had screen images, copies of vendor documentation, all linked and labeled in a great folder on our network. We used this documentation constantly while restore systems from mistakes or drills and updated it regularly. It contained vendor contact information and account numbers. Each of us could access is remotely, and I had used it a few times from home while working on a problem with a system.

One day our auditor came in and in the course of examining our details remarked on the comprehensive documentation and said it was great. Then he reached over and turned off our very detail-oriented administrator’s monitor.

“Now show me your documentation,” he said.

Our administrator was a little shocked. All the documentation was on the network. We’d accessed it from home. We accessed it from other corporate locations. We had restored it from tapes.

We’d never thought it would be unavailable.

It was a sobering lesson, one that had interns printing off copies that afternoon, dating them and binding them into books, one of which was always rotated offsite to the tape vendor’s facility.

As for the tape vendor information itself? After overcoming his embarrassment, our administrator made wallet sized cards with the vendor company, phone number, address, and account number. He laminated those and gave us each one to keep on our person at all times.

Make sure you have copies of the stuff you need offsite. It’s easy not with the “cloud”, though you better secure the data with encryption and limit the key access to a few people. You never know what you’ll need to recover, but you never should  find yourself in a position of not being able to recover your documentation.

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1 Response to Disaster Recovery Docs–Offsite

  1. TG says:

    This is something I’ve been struggling with too. As a small company, a canned cloud-based solution would seem to be the best option, but since DR involves alot of sensitive information, I’m leery of using something straightforward like Google Sites (set as Private), even if the critical docs are encrypted before uploading.

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