The Importance Of A Personal Business Continuity Plan - InformationWeek
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Michael Puldy
Michael Puldy
Partner Perspectives

The Importance Of A Personal Business Continuity Plan

Devising a plan to back up your data is important, inexpensive, and relatively fast, so there is no excuse not to do it.

A few years ago, I went to a business dinner in New Jersey. My clients and I had a great time, and we closed down the restaurant. However, when the valet brought me my white Ford Fiesta, something looked odd. This car had power windows, and my rental had manual window cranks.

It wasn’t my car.

The valet was apologetic for mixing up the rental cars, and we called the police. In the trunk, I found the rightful owner’s laptop and mobile phone. Fortunately for me, I had made a last-minute decision to take my laptop bag into the restaurant with me.

Although I never got my rental car back, the evening could have been a lot worse. I could have lost my laptop, and more importantly, I could have lost all my business data.

Don’t Overlook Your Personal Data

What’s your plan when your laptop gets stolen or your hard drive fails? What happens when you lose your mobile phone? What happens when your contacts, photos, music, spreadsheets, and apps go missing, along with all their associated data?

People’s knee-jerk response is often to assume their data is automatically backed up to the cloud. While this is a good fallback, it is often presumptuous. If a cloud backup of your computer or your phone is your fallback strategy, you should look and see what is actually being backed up and whether it is current. When I recently examined my personal business continuity plan and looked at my iPhone iCloud backup, I discovered only 10 of my 129 applications were backed up to the cloud. If the cloud were my Plan A, I’d be in trouble.

The reality is that you never, ever want to lose your data. It is your most valuable asset, and you need to do everything possible to protect it. The Disaster Recovery Journal explains that a personal business continuity plan is all about having a methodology in place to recover your data and help you return to full productivity as soon as possible.

Three Easy Steps To A Continuity Plan

The following are three basic steps to get you started on your personal backup plan:

  1. Back up your phone to your computer and the cloud, and then back up your computer data.
  2. Be confident on how to recover your data.
  3. Understand which applications must be recovered individually and which steps are required to recover those apps (i.e., license codes, settings, etc.).

Knowing how you will handle these three steps is important, inexpensive, and relatively fast, so there is no excuse not to do it.

Personally, I have an encrypted local backup at home in addition to a cloud storage backup program. These two simple techniques will work for almost everyone. Together, they provide the benefits of an all-inclusive backup at your home or workplace, and you get the benefits of a cloud-based backup where the latest data can be accessed from anywhere.

In my more than 30 years working with personal computers, losing data hasn’t been a frequent occurrence, but when I have computer problems, my life stops in its tracks. Having a personal business continuity plan gives me peace of mind that when bad things happen, I will have a rehearsed plan and the confidence that I can quickly get things back on track.

Isn’t it time to start your backup plan for your personal data?

Michael is responsible for long term guidance and governance for business continuity management and resiliency programs across the globe at IBM. Prior to this role, Michael was a services and solutions executive where he managed all presales activities associated with IBM ... View Full Bio
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IBM is a global technology and innovation company headquartered in Armonk, NY. It is the largest technology and consulting employer in the world, with more than 400,000 employees serving clients in 170 countries. IBM offers a wide range of technology and consulting services; a broad portfolio of middleware for collaboration, predictive analytics, software development and systems management; and the world's most advanced servers and supercomputers. Utilizing its business consulting, technology and R&D expertise, IBM helps clients become "smarter" as the planet becomes more digitally interconnected. IBM invests more than $6 billion a year in R&D, and just completed its 22nd year of patent leadership. IBM Research has received recognition beyond any commercial technology research organization and is home to 5 Nobel Laureates, 9 US National Medals of Technology, 5 US National Medals of Science, 6 Turing Awards, and 10 Inductees in US Inventors Hall of Fame.
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