CAD Manager's Emergency Checklist

11 Nov, 2014 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: How do you prepare for a data emergency?

What would happen to you if disaster struck your business next week or next month? Would you be ready? What if a server room was vandalized or your business was gutted by fire?

These questions provoke a sober response for many of us, but they needn't be so troubling if we're ready. What should you do to be ready for a disaster from a CAD manager's point of view? This list (and some justifications for each item) should help you prepare:

Project Archives: Everything you need to pull projects back up and get rolling again. Please note that archives are not the same as backups. Backups tend to capture just files that have changed. Be sure to keep a record of in-progress projects and create your own copies on a secure source of your own and keep it in a disaster-proof safe or off-site location.

Software License Records: Lists of pertinent serial numbers, authorization codes, subscription numbers, web sites, and the like. In other words, if you needed to reinstall and reauthorize all your software, would you have all the information you need to do so?

Software Download/Install Files: If disaster strikes, the last thing you need to wait for is a two-day download of all your CAD application installation kits. If you download your software, be sure to store a copy of all files of the currently deployed versions you use as an insurance policy. If you create or modify any deployments based on those installation files, be sure to have copies of those.

Customization Files: Anything you do to customize your CAD environment should be stored along with your download/installation files. After all, what good is it to reinstall your CAD apps without all the programming, parts, blocks, cells, families, and sub-assemblies you need to make your apps perform?

Password Lists: Do you actually know all the passwords you'll need for support and subscription web sites for all your CAD software vendors? Keep an up-to-date list of them at all times.

Now for a word on how to store your information: All these backed-up resources should be available in an easy-to-read format (such as a portable drive) that does not depend on the cloud or your IT department. This is crucial for the following reasons:

  • Cloud downloads and syncs depend on Internet bandwidth, which will be glacially slow in times of disaster recovery. Having the information you need in hand eliminates this problem.
  • During disaster recovery, your IT department will be swamped trying to get e-mail, financial, and network systems back online and will not have time to retrieve files from backup for you (especially if the network isn't running yet).
  • If network recovery is really slow, you'll be able to install software to local machines and get running. It may not be ideal, but it will be far better than having no way to work.

It only takes a little bit of effort to be ready, but nothing will ever make you look like a bigger hero if disaster ever strikes.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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