to keep key pieces of equipment under lock and key

Preventive Maintenance Information systems managers should develop a preventive maintenance schedule and stick to it. They should identify key points of failure including power supplies and hard disks

Power Sources Is there an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) at each server? If you work in an area of the country where lightning is a problem, consider installing a UPS at each workstation or, at the very least, a good surge suppressor should be installed at each point of entry into the LAN including telephone lines that hook into modems

Fire Protection Halon fire extinguishers are recommended for computer fires because they stop the fire while preserving the computer data. Water and other chemicals will put out the fire but may destroy hardware and data. Be sure to keep in mind that many buildings have built-in sprinkler systems that can destroy computer equipment even if the fire is in a completely different part of the building

DATA PROTECTION AND RECOVERY Typically, the data stored on a network is more valuable to an organization than the combined value of the hardware, software and LANs that maintain it. This is particularly true in government agencies that have long record retention requirements. Regular backup procedures, that copy or archive data to offline storage, must be maintained so data restoration can be done at a moment's notice. A qualified LAN backup system should be able to meet a user's complete data management needs by backing-up data on network servers and local drives, as well as backing-up security information

After you complete the risk analysis, site audit and plans to protect your hardware and data, you should develop a recovery plan should a disaster occur. The recovery plan outlines how the organization will restore systems and data as quickly as possible and present the appearance of "government as usual" without computers

Set priorities for restoration based on the information gathered during the risk analysis. For example, which systems and networks need to be restored first, second, third and so on? Alternate computing locations should be found in case your facility is inaccessible. If there are multiple LANs within an agency, arrangements can be made for temporary usage of internal resources. Often, internal training LANs can be used during an emergency

CONTINGENCY PLAN Draft a contingency plan that includes plans for your government agency to run manually for a few days. Having this contingency plan in hand can have a critical impact since, in times of disaster, businesses and citizens often turn to government agencies for quick assistance. The plan should detail electronic workflows, within agencies as well as among multiple agencies, that need to be carried through "sneakernet" to keep operations running smoothly. The strategic advantage of maintaining work processes, by having access to paper information, can be enormous during times of regional disasters

After the plan has been finalized, test it. Testing ensures that all areas have been covered. As the LAN systems change, plans need to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis

There is an old saying, "People don't plan to fail, they just fail to plan." The government agency with a disaster prevention and recovery plan in place will have the ability to survive any computer disaster they may encounter

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