A disaster to one person might be normal to another person, same goes for companies.  One company might be completely comfortable with loosing a million dollars while another company won’t make a million dollars this year.  Disasters are all shapes and scales!  While this can kind of sound abstract, let’s look at one that is a little more tangible.

Last week our sponsored cyclo-cross racer, Vicki Thomas, had a near disaster of her own.  No, luckily this did not involve a car meets bike or bike racer meets big tree type of disaster.  This disaster, while not affecting her personal health, definitely could have had a big impact on her bike racing, career, and peace of mind.  Luckily an attempt to break into her house was averted thanks to the awareness of her neighbours.

Vicki’s eagle-eyed neighbours noticed a young man attempting to get into her house via the basement window and a crowbar.  As luck would have it, one of her neighbours is an undercover police officer who was just returning from work.  So yes, the guy with the crow bar and the two in the getaway car were caught.  Thank goodness.  While not on the same scale as a flood, fire or pandemic, if these guys had managed to get into Vicki’s house, this would have been a disaster.

You see it is all about how you think of disasters.  We talk about this in a previous post discussing air travel disruptions thanks to that big volcano in Iceland.  Well, similar case here.  The possible outcomes of being broken into (the house being messed up, scaring the cat, and loss of laptop, iPod and other valuables) are worrisome.  The potential of what the results are if “x” or “y” happens or goes wrong.

Now, Vicki is the first to admit that she hadn’t really considered how important her laptop is to her day-to-day life.  Sure she uses it for her freelance writing career, updates her blog posts with it, surfs the Internet with it, and pokes around on Twitter and Facebook.  But this didn’t really seem that valuable until she thought about the possibility that it might not be around.  She started going through her computer, taking an inventory of the files she actually has on it.  There’s a lot of stuff on there; ranging from sponsorship proposals, to works-in-progress, contact information, articles she’s written, invoices, and photos. Yes, a lot of really good stuff could have gone missing.

The headache of trying to rebuild her computer combined with the stress of starting some of the bigger projects from scratch, would for this “smaller entity” been of disaster like proportions.  The time spent trying to rebuild contact lists, emailing people for their copies of this document or that document would not have been fun.

Now, Vicki is in the process of investigating off-site back-up methods for her files.  She may not be running a multi-national company out of her home, but what she has is valuable for her.  And the potential loss of this content is pretty severe to her bottom line.  What if her computer was stolen?  Then what?  Well, with a bit of planning and consideration of the bigger picture – likely it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.  Nope instead it would have been a chance to get a shiny new computer.  But the alternative without the backups and file recovery plan would have been pretty darn horrible.  Not only did she lose five plus years of content and information, but she also would have had to figure out how to start over.

Something to consider when you’re looking at your disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan; the potential for disaster. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be there.

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