Offsite Storage - Move It or Lose It !

The answer is: "the trunk of your car, your desk drawer, and your briefcase." What's the question?... Name three locations that do not meet Disaster Recovery guidelines for off-site storage. For many of us, these have become convenient backup storage locations. If you ask most people to show you their PC backups, they reach for their desk drawer, that is if they have any at all.

The purpose of off-site storage is to safe keep the data needed for recovery at a location away from the primary location, as a protective measure. Then, if the primary location is destroyed in a disaster, the data needed for recovery is available at the off-site storage location.

The strategy for arranging for business off-site storage involves the following:

• Select an off-site storage facility.
• Establish procedures to manage and control the rotation of backups to and from the off-site storage facility.
• Move backups off-site following a planned schedule.

Follow these guidelines for quality off-site storage:

1.) Identify an off-site facility that has the following characteristics:

• Separate location from the primary location (it is recommended that the location be at least 25 miles away) to prevent a disaster from affecting both sites.
• Controls for temperature, humidity, and fire protection.
• Accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to authorized personnel.
• Secure access controls.
• Capability to rotate backups to both primary and alternate processing locations.
• Bonded employees.
• Electrical power backup.

2.) Document the following:

• Methods for identifying disaster recovery backups.
• Method for transportation to the storage facility.
• Process for rotation / retention.
• Personnel that have authorized access.
• Obligations for nondisclosure of backup data.
• Shipping and receiving schedules.
• Length of storage contracts.
• Cancellation provisions.

3.) Define procedures to be followed at the off-site storage facility during normal, non-disaster periods.

4.) Define procedures to be followed at the off-site storage facility during a recovery operation.

Equally important is having good backup procedures. They are essential to ensuring that critical company and customer data, as well as your own personal data, is captured. It is every employee's responsibility to backup data that is necessary for the recovery of their job functions.

Listed below are some items to consider backing up and moving to an off-site location:

• Personal files or PC diskettes containing critical data.
• Phone lists (customers, employees, vendors).
• Financial documents.
• Any documents or manuals necessary to perform your job.

Remember, if you don't want to lose it, move it - off-site.