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This situation is probably one of worst disaster scenarios of all. The old building and equipment is intact but completely unreachable. Tantalizing and frustrating. Sigh. What to do?
Hope and pray that you've got an excellent disaster recovery plan and a very competent team, that's what you do. In this case, you'd better have a hot site or, at very least some excellent backups. Not only that, you're business continuity plan had better be totally finished and rehearsed. You see, in this case you will not even be able to look through ruble or burned building for papers, disks, CDs or anything else. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will be available for your use for a long, long time. In fact, if any of your people are in building you may find them unavailable (as in quarantined) as well.
Lightening - One day a few years ago, when I was just beginning in computer field, I was working late, way past midnight. I was just sitting in computer room (freezing my butt off), listening to one of heaviest rain storms that I'd heard in a long time. It was kind of eerie, listening to rain drops on roof and thunder in distance.
Suddenly, room lit up and I was blinded for a few seconds. I instinctively pulled back from keyboard, and I believe that saved my life. I felt heat on my face and body, and when I opened my eyes computer room was dark.
I soon learned that lightening has struck power pole just outside building. The computer simply melted down - no circuit breaker in existence could have protected it. I was lucky to be alive - wow, what a rush that was!
Unfortunately, this company did NOT have a disaster recovery plan. We had to purchase a new computer system and build it back up from scratch. Fortunately, we did keep backups off-site, and within a week or so we were back up and running.
And that's reason why, now, I have a complete belief and focus on disaster recovery - if you have a plan and have prepared well, you will recover just fine (even with unexpected bumps and such). If you don't, then you basically leave it up to fate or whatever else you believe in. Personally, I would rather be in control of situation. I find that makes things much easier.
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at http://www.internet-tips.net - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.