These days, most companies, especially publicly-held companies with complex regulations to follow, have disaster recovery plans. These plans include instructions for data back-up, storage, and recovery as well as employee training. However, with all this talk about corporate disaster planning, do you have a PERSONAL disaster recovery plan?
For many of us, boxes fill our home closets, files stick out from our cabinets, and some may even have boxes in storage lockers. But the time has come to get a handle on our important data and plan for the worst case scenario. Think of the recent hurricane Sandy and its destruction – and use that as your impetus to get started.
Grab some USB thumb drives or a packet of CD’s and identify your most important data. This can easily be described as information or images that you cannot live without. Add the data to your storage devices – and make them easily accessible in case you need to leave home quickly. Quick note, you may need to allocate some time to sit with a scanner, but the time will be well worth it.
As you think through your data, consider storing these items:
 Birth, death, and marriage certificates
 Diplomas and transcripts
 Medical data – details of medications, illnesses, injuries – and contact info for all doctors (note, also include medical details for your pets)
 Financial data — details of bank accounts, credit cards, stocks, insurance (house, car, life), and recent tax returns (don’t forget contact info for all financial institutions)
 Contacts — a list containing addresses and phone numbers of friends and family
 Family photos (weddings, births, graduations, etc.)
 Portfolio – if you’re a writer, designer, artist, or musician, you may wish to add your work to a storage device (if not already there)
 Passwords – a list of websites that you frequent and user names/passwords
 Technology – be sure to keep computer-related software and serial numbers with the rest of your disaster recovery data (whether on thumb drives or on CD’s) – this way, you won’t have to go through the hassle of purchasing new software and starting from scratch in the event of destruction or loss
 Insurance recovery – take photos or videos of all large items so that in the event the items are destroyed, you have proof of ownership (for example, cars, TV, computer, other appliances)
It’s better to be prepared and have your data in this format than the alternative…to experience a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake disaster and wish you had your data.