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Lessons from the Scouts

I was a Venture Scout for several years, and a Girl Scout for 13 more. To say that the ideals and values of these organizations have been ingrained in my head is an understatement. I can’t tell you how many “try-it” badges I earned or how many boxes of thin mints I sold but I can tell you that I learned a lot.

‘Be Prepared’ always resonates with me… especially when I find I’m not.

Here’s a perfect example of being prepared in the scouting world. When going on a camping trip, miles away from civilization, it is crucial to have something called a “bear bag.” Its ultimate purpose is to protect food and basic necessities from bears, raccoons, and other pests. Our version was a 5-gallon bucket filled with our food, toothpaste and bath soap which we placed high in the trees. After it was hung, we’d give it a tug to make sure wouldn’t fall into the paws of a bear.

Everyone brings their own bear bag, and the camp site is set up like a triangle. Bear bags scattered at one point, camp fire at another, and the final point is all of the tents. That way if a bear come along, there is distance and fire between you and it.

The idea is that even if an animal gets it’s paws on a low hanging bear bag and eats everything in it there should be enough left in everyone else’s cache to cover the losses. It’s kind of a “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” ideology.

These same concepts can be applied to your Disaster Recovery (After all wouldn’t all of your food being eaten by a bear feel like a disaster?).

  1. Be prepared. On a camping trip – it means protecting the essentials. It’s the same with Disaster Recovery, only it also includes a plan to get back the infrastructure and data that’s lost as quickly as possible.
  2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. We recommend a local and offsite back up. In other words scatter your bear bags – err – I mean data. That way if your physical location is damaged or destroyed, you can still get back the files critical to your business.
  3. Test it out. When you hang a bear bag – you give it a quick tug to make sure it won’t fall down from the trees. It is also common practice to test the camping stove, etc. before you leave civilization. Do the same with your backup and your disaster recovery plan. Make sure they work and that you haven’t forgotten anything important to the survival of your business… before you need it.
  4. Get advice from someone with experience. In scouts we didn’t just read a manual and head out on our own. We had someone with a lot of experience go with us to show us how to setup camp and remind us of the essentials. Disaster recovery is no different. Ask your IT services provider to help you develop and test your plan. They have the experience to help you avoid the pitfalls and costly mistakes.
Julie Siller

About Julie Siller

Julie is no longer an employee of AtNetPlus.

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