IT Disaster Recovery and Scouting: More Similar Than You May Think
In many ways, IT disaster recovery is a lot like scouting. You must prepare for the unexpected and understand what steps to take when disaster strikes. As more people plan to work remotely on their laptops from campsites and tents across the world, it’s important to have a solid IT plan in place for disaster planning. What happens if your laptop with confidential client data is lost in the woods? How can you protect your company’s data while working remotely from anywhere?
We asked our CEO and Founder about how to use the principles of scouting to apply to disaster planning and remote work. Outside of his time with Different Dev, Tom May has spent the last 18 years as a scoutmaster. He offers a unique perspective on the similarities between IT disaster recovery, remote work, and outdoor adventures.
Parallels Between Scouting and IT Disaster Recovery
It turns out that there are lots of parallels between scout training in preparedness and working in IT disaster recovery. Scouts learn how to prepare for possible situations that might arise in advance, much like an experienced and reputable business continuity and disaster recovery partner would.
Creating a disaster plan for a remote worksite in the middle of the woods requires a tremendous amount of planning and preparation. If you simply take your laptop out there, you might not be able to access the internet securely, if at all. It might go well, or it might go terribly. In many cases, a lack of planning disrupts continuity.
Internet Access in Remote Areas
One often overlooked area of working in remote areas, such as the San Juan Forest, is internet access. Around town, at home, or in the office, it’s so easy to connect to the internet that you may not even really think about it. However, when you plan to spend time in very remote areas, you may not be able to simply use your smartphone as a hotspot.
One such solution is using satellite internet, such as Starlink. It is a satellite internet system that uses satellite dishes to deliver high-speed, low-latency internet from remote or rural areas. You don’t have to permanently install Starlink and can take it with you on your travels. Many full-time RVers rely on Starlink to work on the road, no matter where they go.
As any scout could tell you, you won’t find electricity at most primitive camping sites. The more removed you are from the power grid, the more you will need to rely on your own power sources. If you plan to work remotely, you’ll need to have enough electricity to charge your mobile devices and laptop, at a minimum.
If you camp at a campsite, you can often access electricity this way. However, this isn’t always the case. Campgrounds can be expensive, and they don’t provide the same experience as more remote camping options.
Fortunately, there are many options for remote electricity, including solar generators and inverters, gas-powered generators, and battery packs. The right option for your needs will depend on how much power you need and how long you need to provide power for.
In scouting and remote working, redundancy is extremely important. If you plan on using solar energy, but it’s rainy and cloudy out, how else will you generate power? It is important to have several options available.
Solar energy is an excellent choice for most remote working situations. However, it’s often more difficult to implement solar generation and storage than people often realize. You can’t simply buy a solar panel and use it right out of the box.
To generate solar power, you need to have the right size solar panels. In most cases, you will need between 120 and 300 watts of power, which you can achieve with a combination of smaller solar panels or one larger panel.
Then, you need a battery to store the energy you generate. The size of your battery will relate to how many watts you need and generate. A charge controller helps to control your charging. Lithium-ion batteries will cost you more, but unlike traditional deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, you can discharge them down to 0%.
Finally, you need an inverter if you plan to power 120v AC devices, like your laptop and phone charger. You will also need to make sure that there is a sunny place to put out the solar panels.
Lighting is another important aspect of camping and remote work. For a camping trip, a flashlight might be enough for a weekend. However, this often isn’t enough to create a serious remote workstation where you can get work done.
You can invest in a 12-volt lighting system or several different standalone lights to provide the visibility you need. If you have a travel trailer, popup camper, or RV, you can install solar panels on the roof to use to provide electricity and lighting. However, you don’t need an RV to have solar panels, as there are portable panels on stands that you can place next to your tent.
In addition to what you’ll need to work, you’ll still need to be able to provide for your basic needs while in the woods. This includes water and bathing. If you want clean water, you will need to source it and/or clean it. If you want hot water, you will need a way to heat it.
You can bring water with you, but it may not be possible to bring enough. You can create a system that uses natural water sources like streams and ponds and sends water through a filtration system before storing it in your water storage container.
In the spirit of redundancy, it’s critical to know other methods of sanitizing water, such as boiling it, using iodine or chlorine tablets.
Robert Baden-Powell, largely considered the founder of scouting, said you have to be prepared. Today, “Be Prepared” is the motto of the Boy Scouts. This is the most important takeaway when it comes to thinking about scouting or remote working.
If you are working in a remote area, you won’t be able to simply run to the store if something goes wrong. You’ll need to have the supplies, parts, and equipment necessary to manage your needs on your own.
Remote Disaster Recovery
No one likes to think about it, but it’s possible that something could happen to your company’s IT systems while you’re working on a trip. You could face a cybersecurity concern, lose your laptop, or a critical IT system could go down. Having the right IT partner that can help to manage remote disaster recovery is key to maintaining business continuity from anywhere.
Tom once had the opportunity to complete a complete company restore while in the woods. For many clients, this timeliness and remote support can make a huge difference in disaster planning when any long-term disruption could have lasting impacts.
Learn More About Different Dev
In disaster recovery and scouting, the key to success is to be prepared. Now is the time to start getting ready for potential disasters before something happens and you need more help recovering.
Different Dev specializes in helping companies prepare for and recover from disasters. We know what it is like to find your company’s systems down after a disaster and how stressful that can be. Take steps now to make sure that your company can recover no matter what happens. Contact Different Dev to start disaster planning now.