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Katrina and Disaster: Doing Something to Recover

Disaster recovery experts in the 3000 community are starting to offer advice in the wake of the hurricane that has de-populated New Orleans and devastated other Gulf Coast cities. Even locations far north of the storm have experienced heavy rains, local flooding and power failures.

John Saylor, Director of Special Markets for 3000 supplier Quest Software, posted some very basic advice about restarting equipment after a water disaster:

If your equipment has gotten wet, take a moment to plan your recovery strategy before you plug anything back in. To begin with, don’t plug in anything if it’s even damp, let alone wet. Make sure that any equipment that has been touched by water is completely dry before turning it on. That goes for battery-operated equipment as well as equipment that you plug in. If the water damage was minor, it might work fine. Even if it’s underwater, you might luck out. I once had a cell phone that went through the washing machine yet miraculously worked once it dried out. Had I turned it on when it was still wet, it would have almost certainly have been permanently damaged.

If your computer is completely underwater, there is a strong likelihood that your hard drive has been damaged. If you have a backup, you’re going to be okay. If you don’t have a backup, you might still be able to recover the data, but it will cost you. Disasters like Hurricane Katrina have been with us for a long time, but in today’s world there are additional things to think about as people begin the recovery process. Even if you don’t live in hurricane country, you still run the risk of another type of disaster, fire or just a run-of-the-mill power failure.

Even if your home or business wasn’t damaged, there is a good chance that you lost power if you’re in Katrina’s path. That’s not to say that your equipment definitely will be damaged. More often than not there are no negative consequences to electronics when power comes back on, but it is a possibility. To help protect your equipment in the future, it’s a good idea to use a surge protector, especially with computers, regardless of where you live. Data replication to another location or state is best served in disasters like we have just witnessed.

Saylor's company, like many others, has a product to to assist in disaster recovery scenarios: data replication software (Netbase/Shareplex). Other 3000 supplier products include Computer Solutions' Minuteman Recovery, a comprehensive set of forms for a plan that that costs $39. Last year we ran a pair of articles in the 3000 NewsWire about disaster recovery strategies, written and adapted by Paul Edwards of Paul Edwards and Associates. Our columnist Scott Hirsh has also weighed in with best practices on DR in his Worst Practices column, written in the wake of 9/11.