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The Most Common Uncommon Disasters

[This is part of a special
Disaster Planning section
from the November 2006 issue.]

On June 24 and 25, 2006, torrential rainfalls flooded the IRS headquarters,
leaving over 25 feet of water in the basements. Over 2,700 workers were displaced,
and 3 million gallons of water was pumped out over four days to reveal damaged
electrical systems, heating/cooling systems and stored information. We have
all feared a natural disaster such as a flood; and yet, typically the issue
is only elevated on our danger radar after a disaster has happened to a colleague
or a friend or after such an event has been widely reported. Hurricane Katrina
is a recent example. But what about everyday disasters that are not fires, floods
or natural causes? Do you really know what dangers lie in wait just around the
corner? Or should we say inside your computer, coffee mug or perhaps a devious


Evaluate your firm’s protection level:
• If your business were to lose its data, how long would it take to recreate?
• Could your business survive without its customer records, e-mails, financial
data and other documents?
• Because data is so important and because data is so vulnerable, every
business needs a proper method of backing up. Is your backup plan good enough?
Has it been tested?


Disaster recovery statistics:
• Nearly half of small companies that lose business-critical data in a
disaster do not reopen after the loss.
• 90 percent are out of business within two years.


Common unrealized statistics about data loss:
• 6 percent of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given
• 44 percent of data loss is due to hardware failure, hard drive crash,
faulty tape drives, laptop failures, and warranties that don’t cover your
• 30 percent of data loss is due to Personal Error Accidental —
file overwrite and/or deletion, disgruntled employees, and even spilled drinks.
• 12 percent of data loss is due to Software Error — compatibility
issues, programming errors, improper application termination.
• 7 percent of data loss is due to viruses and hackers.
• 7 percent of data loss is due to disasters such as terrorism, theft,
fire, flood and storm.

This information was provided by Acct1st Technology Group LLC (