Laptop “Disaster Recovery”

Over at the Productivity501 blog, there is a good article about laptop contigency planning. It is a must read. Go read it!

I’d like to take this one step further. Here in Wisconsin, we are having one back-breaker of a snowstorm (one and a half days so far). Closings everywhere – and people are looking to use the corporate VPN to work from home.

Here are some things to do to prepare for this ahead of time:

  • Make sure your certificate is current. You don’t want to find out your certificate is expired when you are desperately trying to get in.
  • Have you tried the VPN already? Does it work? When you are buried in snow and can’t reach the help desk is not the time to find out your software doesn’t work.
  • Try accessing everything you need to use. Is it responsive? Does it work? What are the quirks? If it’s slow, you can plan a backup strategy; if it’s not slow, you’ll know it’s not your machine when the VPN slows to a crawl.
  • Try accessing the VPN from where you would be when the snow flies (or wherever you would be when disaster strikes). Some ISPs have restrictive policies that will prevent your laptop from working if you are visiting someone. Try it first and find out how to solve any problems ahead of time.
  • Do you have your laptop with you? It won’t do you any good if you are caught without it when you need it. Do you have charging cords? Network cables? Wireless cards? Cellular phone modems? And test the connections!
  • Create backup plans. For all your careful planning, your laptop and Internet connection have gone south. Now what? Most likely, you’ll need phone numbers of your boss and coworkers, pager numbers, and other such things.

With this wintery weather upon us, it will be very important to be ready if you have to do your admin work from home (or on the road).

3 thoughts on “Laptop “Disaster Recovery””

  1. Excellent advice. Another thing I’d add: Make sure you have any passwords you need. I’ve seen. If you keep them on your work desktop or using some type of password keeper program that you can’t access from home, you may find yourself unable to get into important systems.

  2. @productivity501: I always have my password repository with me: wetware works the best 🙂 It’s all in my head…

    However, what you say is excellent – I’d also add that you need any SSH keys and GPG keys that you need daily – and perhaps even those you don’t need (to make things easier).

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