Many businesses in flood-affected Brisbane and Ipswich thought their data was safe but found the reality to be devastating.
Many businesses in flood-affected Brisbane and Ipswich thought their data was safe but found the reality to be devastating.

Will data go under in a disaster?

THE speedo on his car did not get above 90 kmh during a recent drive to Brisbane.

And anyone who knows Myles McNamara understands that’s unusual.

It wasn’t an accident on the highway or bad traffic slowing him down, but pure dread at the bad news he was on his way to deliver.

Mr McNamara, the Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce president and managing director of local business Camelon IT, spent parts of January and February helping flood-affected businesses recover IT data from often mud-soaked hard drives.

He and his team donated their time to work with 30 businesses from Ipswich and suburban Brisbane. He said six out of those 30 would not re-open...forever to remain a casualty of the floods. One couple will lose their home.

“I made a special trip to tell one of them face to face that all their records had gone,” he said.

“And they were quite proud when they came to us because they handed us a back-up drive they said contained all their records.

They thought they were ok.

“I had to go back a week later and tell them they had nothing. Seeing the look on their faces really hit home.

“But the thing is, there are some big companies on the Coast who have an abysmal technology profile. They have a massive risk in their business, and if they have a big (disaster) event, they will disappear.”

Mr McNamara said the most common advice given to flooded businesses was how to restore data, set up a disaster recovery plan as well as tips for dealing with insurers, including ensuring coverage for restoration of records in the event of a disaster.

“This is a good time to look at not just the insurance cover of your buildings, but your technology assets and infrastructure.

“I would say Sunshine Coast businesses have a high degree of apathy towards securing their technology assets and their data.

“On a weekly basis I see businesses that have their servers in the kitchen cupboard, with no ventilation, full of dust or with no care or attention paid to them.

“This is the single most important piece of equipment to a is the oxygen.

“There is a statistic going around that 60% of businesses that lose data in a significant event close down within six months.”

Mr McNamara urged all businesses to assess their IT risk, get a disaster recovery plan in place and make sure all technology assets, from physical computers to the data they store, is safe each and every night.

“Just like you lock the door at the end of every day, so should you make sure your technology assets are secure.

“And a good disaster recovery plan can deliver good efficiencies in your business as well. So you can have a more productive and efficient business, plus your robust disaster management plan.”


Test the safety of your IT data with this exercise:

Step 1. Create a normal test file (Word, Excel, etc) and save it to the location where you would normally save company files.

Step 2. After one week, permanently delete the file you created in step 1.

Step 3. After two weeks, make contact with your IT department and ask them to recover the file.

If the file cannot be recovered, you have a large ICT risk in your business and a full review of your business continuity processes should be done urgently.

What would you do if your server was stolen?

What back-up IT plan is in place if your business is flooded?

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