Staying Connected After a Disaster: Part 2

Posted by Darren Tedesco

November 30, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Practice makes better.

Today, I had the pleasure of visiting Commonwealth’s business continuity center in Central Massachusetts for a few hours. “Business continuity” simply refers to the preparations companies make to ensure that their clients will notice little to no business interruption if a disaster strikes.

From a systems standpoint, Commonwealth has a fully redundant stretched LAN/server farm (our private “cloud”) that is completely load-balanced. So, one minute, advisors might be viewing Client360°® from a server in our Waltham location, and the next, from our backup location; should either location experience a failure, the other just takes over without anyone noticing.

More impressive than the technology, however, were the 120-plus Commonwealth employees who had been testing the system for the past three days. Advisors weren’t informed of this test—our biggest to date—as we wanted to ensure that we could offer the same great service in a bad situation as we could in our normal idyllic world. Though the workstations at the business continuity center are “cozy,” to use a real-estate term, by the end of day three, we’d learned a lot about small nuances that we should be thinking about in the case of a real emergency.

The pictures below are worth their proverbial 1,000 words, but this isn’t about me patting our firm on the back; it’s about motivating you. You see, while only half of small businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place, even fewer actually test that plan on an ongoing basis. While Commonwealth hosts most advisor data in our secure private “cloud,” which is backed up in four separate physical locations, many advisors also have local files and programs that they would hate to lose.

I wish I could count on one hand the number of advisors who have called me over the years asking for help after they lost their main hard drives, only to find that their backup tapes or systems were blank, incomplete, or corrupt. Unfortunately, I cannot. It’s of paramount importance to test your backup capabilities (typically done on a weekend) at least once a year.

Remember, tomorrow’s battle is won during today’s practice.


Topics: Technology

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