In the minds of many, a disaster means a hurricane, earthquake, flood, fire or other natural calamity or, possibly, a terrorist attack. These types of disasters are uncommon, but they do happen. However, for the purposes of this article, “disaster” has a broader meaning and thus is much more common. In this context, a disaster is any event that causes either of the following:

In the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack, the organization’s first objective should be, clearly, to protect and maintain the safety and security of its employees and other people on its premises. Once this objective has been achieved, or if people have not been placed at risk by the situation, the highest-priority task of the IT department is to get the business-critical systems running again as quickly as possible. Failure to resume operations swiftly can compound the effects of the disaster and threaten the survival of the organization. According to one often-cited statistic from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of all companies that experience a disaster never reopen, and more than 25 percent of the companies that are able to reopen close within two years. Thus, disaster recovery is especially vital.

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