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Surviving a computer system disaster

Five simple steps for when disaster strikes at your computer system
By Al Ramon Dela Cruz |

Disaster recovery planning for computer systems is an area that many small businesses in the Philippines overlook despite the fact that the country is hit every year by at least 20 typhoons and any number of destructive floods, earthquakes, and landslides--not to mention volcanic eruptions. Disaster recovery planning is not a glamorous task, but in today\\\'s IT intensive business climate, it is a necessary part of a successful business strategy. In today\\\'s IT-intensive business environments, however, disaster recovery planning is imperative to a successful long-term business strategy.


In the event of a disaster that leads to substantial damage to computer hardware or to considerable loss of data, such planning can save a company precious time, money, and manpower--possibly even the business itself. This is because a good plan for independent system recovery would enable a company to quickly recover data, save and restore critical software, reestablish customized settings, and--even more important--get back to business much faster. For most small companies, in fact, the ability to deal with information systems failure during a disaster could spell the difference between simple disruption of the business and going out of business altogether.



The approach to effective disaster recovery planning is actually not a very complicated process. For small businesses, in fact, it can be done by taking the following five relatively simple steps:


1. Create plans for disaster recovery and business continuity. Small businesses need to put in place a systematic written plan for dealing with problems in the event of a disaster. The plan should include all important contact information and specific information to ensure recovery and business continuity as well as the specific procedures to implement in case of a major IT disruption. If these procedures are already in place, it is also important to keep them periodically updated. In addition, changes in the company\\\'s IT systems and infrastructure changes should be duly recorded and incorporated into the plan.


2. Install security software. Aside from those posed by natural disasters, other disruptions to IT systems can also happen due to everyday problems like hardware failure, application failure, and human error. In particular, threats in the computing environment such as computer viruses and spyware could shut down the company\\\'s information system. Hackers can wreak havoc on unprotected systems by taking outright control over them, by stealing valuable information, by taking down or immobilizing servers, or by shutting down e-commerce sites. To protect their information systems against these threats, businesses need to install highly reliable antivirus and antispyware as well as firewall and intrusion-prevention technologies. This should be done not only on their system perimeters but also on all of their computing machines, including desktops and laptops.



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