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There is a raging debate about where to locate alternate facilities, and honestly, the correct answer is, "It depends."  How complex is your organization?  What alternate facility are you talking about?  What are  your recovery needs?  How much can you invest?

 

The answer to these questions will shape your alternate facility strategy.  If you have multiple facilities in geographically diverse locations, you might consider gearing up each facility to serve as a backup for the other.  For "people" functions, this might be the least expensive solution for a short term outage.  However, for computers, maintaining two data centers might be cost prohibitive.  For manufacturing operations, it may not be viable to have that excess capacity standing idle.

 

There are basically four types of alternate facilities to consider:

 

Alternate Work Facilities are where office workers can go to continue administrative or sales functions.  They typically require PCs, office equipment, phones and access to computer servers.  Ideally the location will be within an hour's drive time of your primary facility.  This will allow a normal commute for most employees and still be within "striking distance" of your market area.

 

Alternate Data Center houses your backup servers.  This data center usually has a high telecommunications and electrical demand.  Even with generators and multiple telecommunication paths, if an event covers a wide geographic area (like a hurricane) this infrastructure may experience significant damage.  Another concern is the need to still be able to drive to that location.  When 9/11 happened, the first thing the government did was to close all airports.  So, unless you have managed services at the alternate data center, you should locate your alternate computers outside of your current electrical and telecommunication grids, yet still within a couple hours drive time.  Remember to make sure there are hotels in the area if you require overnight stays.

 

Alternate Call Centers require office space and a strong telecommunications infrastructure.  Try to find a space within an hour's drive time, but outside of your current communications service area.

 

Alternate Manufacturing Center is probably the most difficult to obtain, primarily because of the capital expense of equipment and the logistics for receiving raw materials and shipping product.  Honestly, this does not have an easy answer and must be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

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Tech Valley Continuity, LLC. provides business continuity and disaster recovery planning services to a wide range of public and private organizations.  Services include: Risk Analysis (RA), Business Impact Analysis (BIA), Plan Testing and Plan Audits for key vendors and customers.  We model our Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity plans against the national standard - NFPA 1600 Standard on Disaster / Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs

 

Tech Valley Continuity, LLC. promotes a full and complete business continuity planning process, performed with due diligence and conforming to industry best practices, and Tech Valley Continuity, LLC. asserts that only by employing these practices and applying them to your unique business environment can a comprehensive business continuity plan be developed.

 

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