Were you impacted by the recent cell phone outage? It seemed to be mostly AT&T and its resellers in the east and central U.S.. Companies were more likely to remain unscathed if they had both active and passive disaster recovery systems.

Active systems allow QUICK system recovery as they’re implemented with either full-time redundancy or a means of rapidly bringing alternative systems online—what the geeks call “hot spares.” This can include real-time replication of data to offsite staged servers, backup electrical generators (either online full time or “at the ready”), or hosting of your systems “in the cloud” where fail-over is a built-in component of the provider’s architecture.

For mission-critical systems where downtime simply can’t be tolerated, there’s simply no alternative to active disaster recovery. But that’s the most complex and definitely the most expensive option so it has to be worth the investment.

On the other hand, passive disaster recovery systems are less expensiveusually requiring only infrastructure planning for the “What If?” scenarios to the greatest degree possible. Here are some inexpensive suggestions to consider:

Incoming telephone lines that are “Plain Old Telephone Service” (POTS lines) into your in-house telephone system, called a PBX, certainly support digital phone lines but those would ride your Internet connection and be a single point of failure for both email AND phone service. So, even though you’d get solicited at least monthly to save a few dollars by changing your lines over from POTS to digital, sticking with the old fashioned copper pairs has advantages. Local Internet outages are rare, yet they do happen—and when they do, your customers can still reach you via phone.

► For our clients who have their systems hosted in-house, it’s possible for iSOFT to restore AccountMate systems to cloud-based hosts. It’s not necessarily easy, but if you still have access to your backups after the catastrophic event and can get them to us, then we can get a cloud server running for you—restoring your backups to it and configuring remote access for your users. The key component to success here is “access to your backups after the catastrophic event,” so those backups will need to be offsite of your system that’s down, yet still accessible.

Disasters come in many forms—from natural disasters like earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, and wildfire, to technological disasters of power outage, loss of communication, ransomware, and hardware failure—and it’s practically impossible to be prepared for all of them. But we’ve seen with our clients that a little preplanning—like ensuring your system backups are regular, automated, offsite, and accessible—has been the difference between surviving a catastrophic event and the permanent closing of the business.

Of course we’re only scratching the surface here, so let’s please get your local IT support in the loop and become as prepared as possible for the possibilities!