Be prepared for disaster, warns IBM

IBM New Zealand is promoting its ability to help organisations recover from disaster, in the wake of the US terrorist attacks last month.

IBM New Zealand doesn't have the capacity to re-equip a building full of workers but can assist a company's mission-critical staff to restore systems while new accommodation is found, says the company's Andrew Stevens-Clark.

IBM NZ has a team of specialist business recovery personnel and the company says New Zealand firms are increasingly looking at how they can keep their operations going in the event of a crisis.

The issue has been heightened by the US terrorist attacks on September 11. Stevens-Clark says, however, greater awareness hasn't yet translated into a rush of new custom.

IBM's local track record includes two incidents last month of replacing failed servers. In more dramatic situations, the company can provide broader facilities.

“We have capacity for a number of desks," says Stevens-Clark. "We have phones, PCs, fax machines toilets, fridges -- both here and in Dunedin. We are not just recovering your server, we have a place to operate from."

Stevens-Clark calls on firms to assess their risks and prioritise systems and departments based on what would suffer most from any disruption. Some departments, such as outward-bound lead-generation, might be fine for a few weeks, but a disrupted warehouse inventory management system could cause immediate loss of income.

Businesses should implement a disaster recovery plan, even building a bunker if need be, in the case of financial organisations.

Plans must then be tested. Stevens-Clark says many organisations find their backup tapes are misaligned or worn, so later find they cannot read stored data. A crisis management team of executives and line managers may be desirable.

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