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Edwards Disaster Recovery Directory

By Drew Robb
July 18, 2006

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Edwards Information LLC of Brookline, MA, publishes what is known as the "Edwards Disaster Recovery Directory". Now in its 15th edition, the book styles itself as the professional resource for business continuity and emergency preparedness. It is a 400-page work that is available in printed or CD form.

It consists of thousands of listings organized into hundreds of categories. The traditional storage sectors are there such as data recovery, disaster planning, backup sites and services, file transfer and mirror imaging. In addition, though, it runs the gamut of non-IT disaster-related services: drying and dehumidification, smoke odor counteracting services, salvage, emergency rentals, storm damage restoration and more.

Thus the directory makes the important distinction between disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC). DR is traditionally defined somewhat narrowly to deal with the IT side of the equation, whereas BC is the broader term that includes DR as one small element in dealing with every aspect of disaster preparedness and recovery. As such, it encompasses management, risk insurance, building safety and human resources, as well as aspects such as food, sanitation and water supply.

"The Edwards Disaster Recovery Directory is designed to help companies be better prepared and save time and money when every second counts, by quickly locating crucial but hard-to-find recovery services throughout the United States and Canada," says Doug Tanger, publisher of the directory.

The 22-page introduction contains several helpful articles on writing and updating DR plans, how to cope with bio-terrorism; violence in the workplace; and the importance of communication during a crisis. Probably the most helpful item is a short write up on items often overlooked in BC, even by experienced planners. It covers: the vulnerability of telephone and network terminators to falling water; doors that need a key to open from the inside; assuring all safes are fireproof, keeping supplies of checks and PO’s offsite; anticipating the personal life situations of key personnel that might prevent them from arriving for their assigned roles during a disaster; and the need for outside emergency organization.

The first category addresses associations. It has dozens of listing for associations that specialize in after-event clean up, computer security, disaster assistance/recovery, insurance, records management, risk management and safety. In particular, there are groups like AFCOM on the DR/security side and the Association of Contingency Planers on the BC side that have chapters all around the country.

Drilling down into the Backup chapter, you find an impressive array of alternatives. Need collocation facilities or cold-site services? Turn to page 4-1. Data hosting is on page 4-3, and hot sites on 4-4, for example. What appears to be missing is sections on backup software and hardware. But then, that is not the purpose of the guide. Rather than covering an assorted collection of equipment, it is focused on services you may need prior to or right after a disaster. Thus it lists places that will backup your data, function as a secondary site, host your computers, etc.

An even larger amount of space is devoted to communication systems. This spans every aspect of telecom – from dispatch software to emergency notification systems and network monitoring to wireless.

One of the thickest chapters has the somewhat generic label "equipment". The good thing about it is that instead of just listing all the main vendors, it is more like an organized listing of distributors, VARs and local suppliers of gear and services. If you need a provider of Cisco, HP, IBM, Sun or even old DEC gear nearby, you might well find it here. In addition, you’ll discover ruggedized computer equipment of all types, alarm systems, coolers, dryers, dehumidifiers, fire fighting, furniture rental, power protection and even sandbag filling machines.

This section is relatively weak, however, on actual mainline storage vendors. Under "Data Storage Devices" it lists Qualstar, Quantum and StorageTek. Under a couple of "Tape" categories, it highlights ADIC, Exabyte and Exagrid. That hardly scratches the surface of the storage vendor community. But then, those most familiar with storage hardly need to be told who’s who in their world. They know most of the vendors in the many areas of the storage world. What they are generally missing, though, is an insight into the many non-storage aspects of BC. In fact, it may be fair to say that many storage administrators neglect this side of disaster preparedness. And when faced with an actual event, may be ill-prepared. Thus this guide, points them in a myriad directions they could well need in a crisis, yet wouldn’t have a clue where to look.

The directory also has nice sections on Materials and Publications (lots of texts and how-to manuals on BC), Mobile Facilities and Equipment, Training and Conferences, and a lengthy "Services" chapter that covers: board up, clean up/demolition, fire/water damage restoration (an excellent state-by-state breakdown), and numerous computer maintenance/repair/data recovery options.

To obtain a copy, visit

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