Govt disaster advice website omits business data recovery

Online recovery toolkit fails to mention recovering damaged digital business records

The business.govt.nz website now has an online “recovery toolkit” for small businesses recovering from the Christchurch earthquake. However, it includes no advice that Computerworld could find on recovering damaged digital business records.

The site is maintained along with the associated BIZ organisation as a government service to small and medium-sized businesses.

Many Christchurch businesses might be expected to have storage media, either mainstream or backup, that have become difficult to read as a result of earthquake or silt damage. There appears to be no advice on what to do or references to companies offering suitable recovery services.

The advice in the toolkit is heavy on health and safety, coping with disappointment and other negative emotions, assessing damage and claiming compensation.

It advises business owners to establish and maintain contact with their suppliers and customers and there is a reference to helping business continue by arranging for staff to work from home, but no reference to what equipment they might use.

There is, ironically, a link from the site to a “crisis management” page – last updated in October 2010 – but this serves to tell people now faced with data loss what they should have done before the disaster happened.

“Keeping computer back-ups off site will help to mitigate a crisis such as water, fire or other damage to your computer equipment,” say notes on this page. “You might also want to keep hard copies of your customer database and accounting records, or store your data and files in the cloud rather than on an in-house server.”

Unfortunately, the advice will come too late for many.

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