Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you a most happy
Holiday season. Of course, I hope
your holiday is disaster free, but as you know, even the best laid plans of mice,
men, and technology staffers can easily go awry. If a disaster strikes during
the holidays, how will your staff handle it?

Planning is everything in helping you respond well to a crisis.
During the holidays, you need to make sure you know where your staff will be
and that you have appropriate coverage for your technology systems. This may
mean that some people will have to work on what are generally considered “days
off,” but it may be required in order to properly maintain your data systems.

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Especially, if you work in medical or other critical fields,
data systems must be up and running at all times—there is never a day off. So
when something happens, you will need to react just as quickly on the holiday
as you would on any other day of the year. Since you have your schedule in
place and know how to contact your staff, you should be able to respond quickly
in the event of a service interruption or more serious disaster.

First, gather your staffers who will be required to properly
restore the data systems in question. In many cases, that could be you, so be ready to figure out how to
get from where you are to where you may need to be well ahead of time. Once you
get your staffers together, you can make sure that all personnel outside of the
tech department can be updated on the
status of the systems
and the recovery efforts. You should already have a plan in place for
how employees will be informed of emergency situations
. During stressful
holiday crises, keeping everyone outside of the IT staff calm is going to go a
long way toward allowing tech staff to do their jobs. Constantly answering the
phone, having irate employees showing up, and other distractions will only make
the process take longer.

Make sure you also know your hardware and other vendors’
support policies for after-hours and off-hour response. Many companies have
limited support over the holidays, which could make your recovery efforts
nearly impossible, depending on what went wrong. Be sure that you know who you
can call, and when.

Finally, be ready to assure the end users that you have solved
the problem. This will allow you to get back to your holiday celebrations and
give end users confidence that the systems won’t fail again before the end of
everyone’s holiday. Clearly define what went wrong, how you fixed it, and what
steps you’ve taken to make sure it will not go wrong again.

Hopefully, there will be no issues at all over the holidays,
but if there are, you’ll need to be ready to act quickly and completely, even
if it means the turkey might need to wait.