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  Post #1 (permalink)   07-25-2008, 08:52 PM
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I was recently hospitalised and it left me with certain questions when it comes to similar issues when you have a web hosting business. How do you deal with time away that is short notice so you can't let people know, and that will completely take you away?
 
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   07-31-2008, 05:57 PM
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I have always had a "disaster recovery plan" in place, so since Day 1 I've known exactly who would be taking care of what, in the event I was incapacitated (long- or short-term).

When I was a reseller and doing everything myself, I had a file with my provider's contact information and the basic starter URLs to my billing system, helpdesk, et cetera. My provider, in turn, had a piece of paper stating that if ever a certain individual contacted them, they were authorized to work with that person to support my clients for either a period of one week, until I got in touch with them, or until that named contact person was able to provide a certified death certificate and proof of legal transfer of the company.

When I moved to dedicated servers, I contacted the prospective provider and asked if they would be willing to work with me in such a plan: I'd provide them with the name of the authorized contact person, and if this contact person did contact them, they'd work with that person, et cetera. I had to beef up my information-sheet a bit, because running a server takes a bit more information than a reseller account; but it only took me about 30 minutes to update everything.

This setup gave a smooth transition in terms of someone taking care of my clients' support requests, someone making sure the back end was running, and legal protection for the provider: they had legal proof of who was authorized, in what circumstances, and for what scope of authority. It also listed the circumstances under which "control" would be passed back to me, so again, the provider knew what was going on. They weren't required to make any judgment calls or guess, or take any actions that could put them at risk. Plus my clients were taken care of, and wouldn't even have to know that I was, say, in the hospital having an emergency appendectomy. All they knew was the server was running, their support tickets were being answered, everything was status quo.
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  Post #3 (permalink)   07-31-2008, 07:17 PM
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I applaud you, Lesli, for the amazing post and for setting up the structure in case of a disaster when you are unable to manage your business. Just seeing organized people like you out there who make sure even the slightest details are thought through - gives me an idea of your excellent business ethics and precision with which you run the rest of your business operations.

Apart from that, until about November of last year I didn't have any disaster management plans myself, which was surprising in a way because if you knew me you'd freak how organized I usually am.

While I don't have the clients who I am responsible for in the event of my "disappearance" act, I do run a few sites, including this forum, which is so dear to me that it would be a disaster to me personally to watch it just fade away and eventually get disconnected. So just like you, I sat down and wrote a letter (or instructions - whatever you want to call it) that would explain what to do and who to contact in regard of management/sale of said web properties. I am also keeping updated a document which contains all the services and access information to ensure business continuity.

That kind of planning is not very complicated, but requires great attention to detail. One small oversight might result in the whole document being useless.

The only oversight in my plan, as I realized after reading your post, is not advising my hosting provider the names of people who might get into contact with them. Something that I definitely have to do soon!
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   08-01-2008, 02:11 AM
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Disaster recovery is often left till it is needed if it be support and unable to support or hard drive failure where suddenly you cannot provide services you promised.

Disaster recovery is important and especially in hosting because if everything is not planned out then one day something will fail and customers will not be happy.

It takes time and sometimes money to get things in place but if you are not prepared then you end up loosing in a lot of cases.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   08-01-2008, 10:11 PM
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That definitely makes alot of sense and I applaud those of you who thought to do so. Its easy to just think everything will always be well, but its simply not possible. I've never thought about such a thing, but now I'm going to have to, as I am also rather fastidious in my organizing obsession.
 
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   08-02-2008, 12:32 AM
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We have one as well and two of the employees of ours (married) may end up calling upon it shortly for a very ill family member. Others are listed what they are doing, most are spilt into shifts if needed, just about everything runs itself. Though when you do have your own company you always wonder "what if", so its best to keep a plan in place if you can, for those of you without one now make this thread be your wake up call, get one just to be on the safe side.
 
 
 


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  Post #7 (permalink)   08-02-2008, 07:36 PM
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Lesli, I have to thank you again, you have a wonderful system in place. Though I don't have a business that I need to set this up for just yet there are other things in my life that would benefit from this system. It sounds like a nice, uncomplicated way of handing things over-thank you for sharing.
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   08-02-2008, 09:25 PM
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That really is a good plan to have. My mother inlaw was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma a few months ago and for awhile things were very touch and go for her. There were days when I thought I would be able to work and then as I was getting ready to start working I would get a call that she was not doing well and I'd have to drop my hours for the day. I think in circumstances like this you always have to have a plan B, just in case.
 
 
 


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  Post #9 (permalink)   08-04-2008, 10:09 PM
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You're welcome, Art and AbbieRose!

My first job after college was with the QA department of a telecomm company. They were going through ISO 9000 certification, and they were putting together a companywide disaster recovery plan (they hadn't really had one before) so I got to learn both of these from the ground up. And since I was doing clerical work, I learned a LOT about both.

A disaster recovery plan is just another form of documentation - only you're not just documenting a particular customer service procedure, you're documenting what is to be done in the event that you can't do anything. Hopefully it's something you won't actually need for years to come...but it's helpful to have.
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  Post #10 (permalink)   08-07-2008, 02:33 AM
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Agreed. And really the problem is that you don't tend to think about having one until it is too late-at least I was able to learn this lesson before it adversely affect a business. I would hate to think that at the worst possible time for a person (serious illness, death) that they would have to face the crash of their business, or that a loved one who used to appreciate its income would lose out.
 
 
 
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