Fennell’s employer, Canfield & Joseph, was among the 150 businesses damaged or destroyed by an EF-2 tornado that raked across midtown Tulsa in early August.
As part of her company’s disaster recovery plan, Canfield & Joseph’s accounting and sales departments were able to set up shop in an alternative workspace at Titan Data Services within 24 hours of the tornado taking out their offices.
“We would have had to fly out to other states to work if we didn’t have this option,” she said. “It would have been completely devastating otherwise. We didn’t lose any orders, though. This is the best possible scenario that could have happened.”
Founded in 1996, Titan Data Services deals primarily with business disaster recovery and data restoration.
Slated to speak at the Disaster Resilient Business Council’s “A Day Without Business” symposium Friday at Tulsa Community College’s Northeast Campus, Titan’s founder, Jeff Hamra, has worked in disaster recovery for more than 20 years with companies of all sizes.
That experience has taught him to keep things as simple as possible in order to facilitate covering a wide range of possible scenarios.
“When you do disaster recovery, you should be planning for everything, as you can’t just plan for certain events,” he said. “It has to be pretty general — whether it’s 4 feet of water, a tornado, hardware failure or a virus. It doesn’t matter. The same plan should be in place no matter what it is.”
Having a codified recovery plan is a start, he said, but company employees need to be in on that strategy in order to efficiently execute it. There also needs to be at least one off-site copy that is regularly updated to reflect routine changes, such as personnel adjustments.
“In today’s world, when we talk about business continuity, we’re talking about data and company management,” he said. “You have to have great backups off site, verified and done properly.”
“Anyone can back up to a thumb drive or storage,” he said. “I see failures often when people use a little thing from Target or Best Buy and that’s their insurance policy. That is so wrong and so off base it’s pitiful. It’s like thinking you have a good insurance policy, then find out after a fire you’re not covered.”
That off-site data backup helped make it possible for Canfield & Joseph to resume operations after the tornado. Although the building was destroyed, its damaged server was salvageable, and the company hard drive was restored through backups.
“All of our history was ready to roll and we had up-to-date info from day No. 1,” Fennell said. “Thank goodness we had this in place. We had backups for servers, phones and computers available. We’ve done business as normal out of this location, and our customers are none the wiser.”
A Day Without Business
The Disaster Resilient Business Council, a program of the Disaster Resilience Network, offers “A Day Without Business” at 7:30 a.m. Friday.
According to estimates by the Labor Department, 40 percent of businesses that close their doors after a natural disaster never reopen. One key to surviving a business disruption is to plan ahead with a business continuity plan.
To register, visit bit.ly/adaywithoutbusiness.