Disaster Prep and Gate Security

Disaster Prep and Gate Security.

I had a recent personal experience that reminded me of exactly why it’s important to have a proper disaster preparedness plan in place

On a recent weekend, the security Gate for the community that I live in was jammed shut.  I had just come back from running errands, to find multiple lines of cars waiting to get in and out of the only access road the community has.  There were a number of people milling around trying to figure out what to do, while talking on their cell phones, and getting ever more agitated.

The Gate motor appeared to be in a seized condition. This situation prevented anyone from doing a manually assisted opening.  The manual over-ride switch was in a locked housing.  No one there had the key.  There were several home owner association members that had keys, however, one was on vacation, another could not be contacted, and the remainder had just left a few hours earlier on a long distance Motorcycle ride.

On looking at the way the gate chain was attached to the physical gate, the easiest  solution was to simply disconnect the drive chain from the end of the Gate. I figured that all I needed was a sturdy wrench, and deep socket, and socket wrench.  Many decades ago, I learned the value of always carrying a full set of mechanics hand tools in my vehicle at all times.  Since I had all of the tools that were needed in my vehicle, it less than 30 seconds to undo the nut holding the chain,  pull the chain out of the way without damaging it, and then shove the gate open.

After getting a number of thank yous, and bewildered comments on how the solution could have been that simple, I smiled slightly, while cleaning the chain grease from hands,  Turning towards the one lone board member present (but sans keys), I said, "It looks like everyone was lucky that I happened by when I did, otherwise you’d still be waiting around." , then adding, "As a suggestion, maybe there should be a schedule, so that there is always  at least one board member with keys around at all times…"   Obviously, no one had really given this much thought.  If there had been a real emergency, the local Sheriff, Fire, and
Emergency responders current policy is to ram the gate (thereby destroying it), in order to get in.

So with this event fresh in your mind, do you have your computer systems  disaster plan in place?  Winter and its challenges with power and snowed-in conditions is not far off.

5 Critical questions to consider while you are putting one together are:

  • Do you have the technical people on staff, or on retainer, who can deal with any emergency? This would include phone numbers, email addresses of all technical people that would need to be involved in helping with the recovery.  Consider backup contacts, after-hours contacts, weekend contacts and escalation points to the "super-tech" as part of your plan.

  • Do you have Logins and Password for the servers/workstations and other communication hardware, such as routers?  These can be kept online on a backup sever and secured with a product like Keepass.

  •  Is there verified backup media, and do the necessary people have access to it?   This can be Disk, USB Drive, DVD, Tape, or Remote Online server, for example. 

  •  Is there physical pre-staged backup hardware available in the event of complete hardware failure?  An online Backup Server, online Redundant Peripherals, and Components is desirable for your Critical Servers.  Higher-end servers like HP have these options for automatic or semi-automatic cut-overs.  Communication Systems for the LAN, Internet, and Voice should be considered as well.

  • Do you have a written plan on how to deal with likely scenarios?   What the Users. Technical Personnel, Desktops, Servers, Communications Systems are to do. 

If you need assistance with developing your disaster recovery, please contact the CCS Retail Systems Support Department.

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