Practice it to make sure your business can be up and running within hours of a disaster. The point of disaster recovery is to be able to recreate key data files off site should the company's headquarters be destroyed or become incapacitated.
"In an emergency, the IT guy's butt is on the line if the recovery plan doesn't work," says Steve Gruetter, business development director at Platform Lab.
Platform Lab is a nonprofit testing and development facility that offers organizations a place to perform disaster recovery drills and test and develop software and other applications.
"Statistics show that 72 percent of firms in the country have no disaster recovery plan," says Gruetter.
So what could go wrong? Plenty. A typical problem is the medium used -- usually a tape filled with data -- that doesn't work in the tape drive.
"That happens more often than you think," Gruetter says.
Ron Citterberg, IT manager at Edison Welding Institute, held his company's disaster recovery practice session at Platform Lab and in the process discovered he needed Internet access.
"I didn't think I needed Internet access," he says. "But we did need to download service patches. I used a modem. A faster Internet connection would've helped."
Platform Lab's disaster recovery lab is available for $2,000 per week.
"We meet with the technicians," says Gruetter. "They submit the configuration they want and we put it together."
Platform Lab's lab includes T3 Internet connectivity and strict security features.
"Nothing goes in or out if they don't want it to," says Gruetter.
Citterberg says Edison's disaster recovery drill showed the company where it needed to make improvements in the process.
"We found simple things we could do differently," he says. "And it's amazing how much the changes speed up the process." How to reach: Platform Lab, (614) 675-3711 or www.platformlab.org; Edison Welding Institute, (614) 688-5000 or www.ewi.org