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Untitled Document It's back to school time. For me, the first half of September is a time when I not only buy a lot of school supplies and start packing lunches and thinking about healthy snacks for the kids, but it's also a time when I start thinking about what needs to be done this fall.

I usually start by making lots of lists - lists of things that need to be done around the house before winter, lists of things that the kids are doing in the fall (soccer, homework, etc.) and lists for work (projects to be started, people to contact, items to follow-up on, etc.). When I start thinking about everything that has to be done, I also start thinking about all the things that might have to be done, or that might happen-particularly in regards to business. For example, I start thinking about disaster preparation--are my business-critical files backed up or do we have appropriate contingency plans in case different types of natural or man-made disasters or accidents happen?

For many individuals and businesses, the fall is a good time to think about these types of business continuity and disaster recovery issues. As we get back to the "real-world" after (hopefully) taking some time off at the beach, in the mountains or by a lake, it's a good time to re-evaluate how ready we are, individually and as a business, for potential problems.

In fact, more than ever before, disaster recovery and business continuity (they're not the same-but more on that later) are not just something that organizations should do once and stick the plans on a shelf for future reference, but they're something that businesses should make sure they do proactively and re-evaluate on a regular basis. Making sure that your organization is prepared and can continue to function relatively smoothly after disruptions is more important than ever before.

As we've seen enough over the past few years, disasters happen-from natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes to man-made problems such as terrorist attacks or massive power grid failures, and organizations need to be prepared. It's also important to remember that when it comes to IT and business issues, disasters aren't always huge events such as tornados or floods-they can also be small, almost unnoticed computer viruses, hackers or even a simple inadvertent configuration change in a database or server setting that triggers an unexpected application or IT system failure.


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