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How do you build a DR plan to protect the work you do at home?

By JodyGilbert ·
Following a night of bad storms, with nothing to do but think about worst-case scenarios, I started wondering how well the equipment and data in my home office would fare in the event of a real disaster: a roof blown off, a fire, flood damage.

We talk a lot about disaster preparedness on the enterprise level. But how do you build your own personal DR plan? What offsite facility do you use to store backups? How do you equip yourself to cope with an emergency evacuation -- and how much stuff should you plan on being able to rescue?

There's more than just a difference of scale here, I think. The issues involved in safeguarding "your stuff" out of the context of an organization should really be less complex, more informal -- but how do you devise measures that (realistically) you'll be able to implement?

If anyone has run through this drill before, has a plan in place, has suggestions or advice, please share what you know, either here or in my blog.


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some thoughts on home backup

by barnslt In reply to How do you build a DR pla ...

there are 2 major considerations:

1) Plan against a disaster happening to your on site location (implying an remote storing of at the very least ALL your DATA)

Key home type data: Home photos, email files, personal word processor documents and home finance spreadsheets, programs which backend to databases, downloaded music, downloaded software - regularly burn copies to CD and take a copy no and again to your moms place for the dog to chew. (Invest in a cheap DVD burner). To achieve what preceeds create intelligent directory strucutures - I have written an app which helps me do my own incremental backups without compressing anything or writing all files to some foreign consolidated format. Also know the name and location of email stores.
A thought - run your PC as a virtual PC and back up the virtual PC - this is a dream if you know how. Same is true if you have multiple pcs - consolidate onto a powerful box and run virtual server

2) Plan against equipment level failure within the home (sometimes why, if you're computer savvy, it's good to take the component based approach to construcuting systems)

Personally I have the following at home (I am in IT Pro working from home so this has influenced my outcome). Online UPS (more expensive than interactive type) - supports my server and my screen off my desktop (which I would swithc to the server if the UPS intiated shutdown failed (and I happenned to be there). Funny thing is my UPS failed and crashed my server yesterday (which would have been fine without the UPS no doubt). Online because I wnat filtered current. I locate all files on the server (not in Sharepoint although this is feasible and then you would simply need to restore a directory). My server runs a full backup everynight to a second HDD in teh server.

I regularly, in addition to the above burn to CD/DVD. Because I use excahge I have a copy of my email on both my desktop, laptop and server. There are so many variations and the options are many. If you are interested I could make a significant post of this and detail all the options - need to knwo there is an interest. People with just a laptop have a variety of options - Windows One care does automated backups to an externally connected USB hard drive - another good option - you can get clever and postion this in a secure location.

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Backups and encryption.

by michael_orton In reply to some thoughts on home bac ...

1/ Encrypt your data.
Foe win (98se/XP) I use pgp with a freeware pgp front end run from a USB keyring and a 2048 digit RSA key pair.
I use GNuPGp for Linux, on the same USB and CD devices, all my Pcs are dual or triple boot. (98se/Xp/suSe)
I have a second identical USB PNY 256 meg stored away from my house. I also keep a back-up on a CD.
This protects against the theft of the PC/HD.
For back ups I use cheap DVDs, the sort that I buy in 100s for under ?20. They never let me down.
In Windows I use CDburnerXP pro a freeware program that I find better than Nero or M$.
I save a backup list and reuse it.
I have my saved wotk in a separate partition in Windows, FAT32 and this is copied automatically at each shutdown to a second HD using the non M$ XXCOPY (not Xcopy!!!) and a compiled batch file that takes over the shutdown process in 98se/XP.
I use the DVD burner in SuSe for the Linux back-ups but again they are copied to the second HD, which is in a caddy.
If I am away this is removed and kept in a safe that is set in a large concrete block.
To deter jack hammers the concrete was cast with a lot of 0.22 blanks and dozens of spent shells with used slugs pushed back in, again looks like live ammo. Notice warning of live ammo "have a nice death luser!" attached.
Last year I did have a break-in, but my alarm system seems to have put them off.
If away for home I take a set of DVD backups from all the Pcs with me. I get my wife to carry the PNY USB so that I don't have the PGP keys myself.
I also have a DVD with all the installation files of the non M$, and most of the M$ programs on the HD, including installation keys and an XP installation key cracker.
SuSe Linux is so easy to re-install I don't bother, I can get another set of Cds for under a tenner by post the next day.
Passports in safe too, with images on DVDs.
Bank accounts, shares, DL, F/A cert etc.
Thats why I encrypt them!

XXcopy do a google for it, its free.
Stick it in \windows\command. Go to command prompt
XXcopy /? > prn and you get a list of commands for the batch file and then you need "bat2com" to compile it. There is a similar NT/XP program, cannot remember what it is called at the moment.
I use it with Karen Kenworthy's Windows shutdown utility.
Google Karenware.
XXCopy will copy hidden/system/anything windoze, but doesn't notice any Linux files.
You need Linux scripts to copy Linux files, though the same script will copy NTFS files to fat32 partitions just as well as XXcopy.

Thus if I loose everything in the house when abroad, I should be able to recover all of my data and if it gets stolen, unless they have managed to install a keylogger on a previous "visit" won't be able to get at any of my data due to the 2048 digit PGp encryption.
I also leave a "backup DVD" that has rubbish encrypted with PGP keys that I then have destroyed, so even I am unable to decrypt the rubbish, and there is also a "vital back up CD" which is a virus collection, it even contains Linux viruses, general malware and scripts designed to wreck a PC. These are kept in a wooden Bureau that has a very easily opened lock, and a well marked box containing "backups!"

I got my latest DVDs on offer from B&Q, Sony DVD + R in 25 packs, ?4.99. I bought 200!
I use Cds from 100 spindels from a PC shop in Llandudno, again they always seem to work OK.

I have also saved vital files that are PGP encrypted and hidden in Pictures, (with the free S-tools) in my OperaMail and Gmail servers, but I do sometimes wonder if this may attract anti-terrorist government agencies. So far I haven't had any problems and its all free and if its free its for me!

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More Detail From barnslt

by JamesBrown In reply to some thoughts on home bac ...

You mentioned detailing all of the options. I would be interested in reading that.

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More Detail From barnslt

by JamesBrown In reply to some thoughts on home bac ...

You mentioned detailing all of the options. I would be interested in reading that.

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Options are something

by oneamazingwriter In reply to some thoughts on home bac ...

I am always interested in. I hope you find enough people interested that you decide to write the post.
Not only will I read it, I will save it, and back it up! :)


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RAID Level 1, and Weekly DVD-R Backups.

by kyl191 In reply to How do you build a DR pla ...

I keep my documents and pictures seperated (different partitions), and both partions are on RAID-1'd HDDs, with weekly backups of changed documents, and new pictures, and monthly full backups.

Can't wait until I get an external HDD.

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Evaluate what is critical to you.

by pierre.joubarne In reply to How do you build a DR pla ...

I found your question simple and yet it affects millions of people using a pc or laptop at home.

What information is critical to you?
Can you live without your address book, telephone numbers, all your links and favorites, your data files, your different passwords, your working environment, pictures, My documents and so on.

Many users are developers can they afford to loose their programs coding?

What about the softwares you purchaced, the licences and their Product key numbers, proof of purchase for insurance purposes(documents can be scanned and stored on your pc). We all love using our pc's but when disaster hits, that's usually the time you start evaluating the money lost.

Start evaluating now. Cost of pc, different hardware and software (make a list), reference books etc. What is the evaluation price?

With the new technology and at an affordable price, these are worth looking into.

My suggestion:

Look them up and watch their demo's it could be an alternative solution that works.


I find backups usefull to a certain degree.

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Effort to Rebuild

by Wayne M. In reply to How do you build a DR pla ...

Look at what will be required to rebuild the current system and make sure that data is available after the disaster. A second point is consider how big a disaster one wants to address.

To rebuild, one needs to know: the hardware specs for the system, applications used, and work in progress. Just backing up the data is not sufficient, one has to rebuild the environment as well. Protect licenses and install disks as well.

Offsite storage is always a good idea, but one has to know how far offsite to go. Another way of looking at the problem is how big a disaster one wants to address. To cover a flooded basement, storage in an upstairs bedroom may be sufficient. To cover a house fire, one may consider a fireproof safe (not too expensive at most home improvement stores) or a safe deposit box. A community wide disaster (think Katrina), may require even more remote offsite storage, though it this point, a home business may want to consider just giving up. At some point the cost of disaster recovery may outweigh its benefits.

The key thing to do is to actually think through the steps one would need to take to restore a system. What to do to get replacement hardware? What to do to get replacement applications? What to do to get replacement data?

Disaster recovery is an open ended situation. One can always do more. Decide how much one is willing to spend in direct cost, time, and effort; then address disasters up to that point. Just think through what one would have to do to rebuild the current system in another room, another building, another city.

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removable HD

by Dr Dij In reply to How do you build a DR pla ...

ran over to Fry's Electronics superstore
picked up 300 gig seagate USB drive
backed up mediate files from other disks to it.

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by michael_orton In reply to removable HD

Lidls in the UK have a USB2 external HD, 250 GB for 99 UK pounds.
They are a German firm, and the HD was a well known make, not one of their own brands, but to be fare, I have never had any trouble with Lidls or Aldi's own brands.

As for hardware specification: Forget it, I would never bother to replace like 4 like, the replacement(s) would be the best and latest that I could afford/con the Insurance company to cough up!

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