Businesses plan for ‘disaster recovery’

Mar 4, 2003 5:56 AM

Even before the advent of war with Iraq and the World Trade Center tragedy of Sept. 11, Las Vegas companies sought disaster recovery plans that would enhance the effectiveness of information storage and recovery.

For most businesses, the need to ensure the integrity of electronic and traditional data storage is a key if not crucial to the ability of the business to survive in the wake of some kind of disaster.

Toward that end, companies are turning to off-site centers for a variety of reasons, including fear of terrorism attacks, and protection from fires or floods.

In Las Vegas, IT Strategies International, Inc. helps businesses form plans that will minimize disruption in the event of a disaster.

"IT consultants develop plans and analyses customized to businesses before they bring their critical data to off-site facilities," said Verner Dixon Jr., vice president of sales and marketing for IT Strategies. "These consultants handle everything from researching the market for appropriate collocation center locations to determining which records are critical to developing full-blown disaster recovery plans."

Dixon said that, whether a company turns to a professional consultant or takes on business recovery planning alone, two critical elements must be met.

First, companies must routinely back up data. Ideally, this should occur daily, but weekly back up may be sufficient for a small business.

Next, companies must secure the saved information. This usually means taking the information to a secondary site. While some companies store CDs or tapes in a fireproof safe or cabinet at the main business location, it is preferable to store backed-up information where it cannot be affected by disaster and where it can be easily accessed in the event of a catastrophe.

There are various sites in Southern Nevada that are used to store data. Often they are non-descript looking structures, usually fenced, and often appearing like a blockhouse or bunker.

Many businesses in Las Vegas as well as major casinos have undertaken disaster recovery and data storage programs. But for security reasons, they’ve requested their names not be published.

Once an effective plan for recovery is in place, the procedure should be reviewed annually and updated as needed, Dixon said. Technology changes, as does the threat of disaster and other catastrophic events to businesses.

"Many see disaster recovery as the wave of the future, as we enter a time when it is impossible to predict what dangers face companies," Dixon said.