Review: Microsoft Disaster Preparedness eGuide

Microsoft Disaster Preparedness eGuide“Disasters happen. Is your business ready?”

This is a free e-book in PDF and e-Pub format, all of 1.7Mb (produced using Adobe InDesign CS5 we note), available from Microsoft themselves. I got hold of it from the Microsoft Windows Small Business site.

Aimed at corporate customers, I include it here because it includes some sage advice to the home user and small business owner, too.

As you can guess it’s a Microsoft-produced publication which aims to introduce the unready business leaders, middle-management and newly promoted corporate execs to the tricky, but essential responsibility for Disaster Recovery Planning, or as we call it these days, Business Continuity Planning.

The wag who curates this site instantly responded; “nope, no one is ever ready for the disaster that is Microsoft.” That sceptic’s joke out of the way, what do we find in this 22-page glossy?

It’s Microsoft branded from top to bottom on every page. You expected that. The first few pages describe various threats to your business technology and data, throwing plenty of scary statistics along the way.

The next few pages start to outline the advice, a Technology Strategy in terms of specific items to look at; cloud based software and data backup, replication, encryption, security software and mapping your entire environment.  The accompanying business strategy is about policies and communication at all levels.

Next comes a little Disaster Readiness Quiz for you to fill in. How prepared are you?

There then follows the sales brochure within the book; Microsoft PC Scan, Office 365, Virtualisation, Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows 7 and Bit-Locker encryption, finally Windows Phone and Windows Intune. Why, gosh! These cover all of the issues that need to be addressed in the early part of the guide! Well I never!

The last few pages are in the form of a worksheet with which to begin your disaster response document; it actually asks a stack more pertinent questions.

It is very much a high-level, beginners’ guide and, believe me, there are whole books and training courses on the topic. For all that, it’s a good prompt for anyone, in business or domestic life, to address what to do in preparation of an unlikely, but devastating event. The threats are many, the solutions surprisingly common. You don’t have to buy anything form Microsoft to deal with it, but you will get good, if partial (as in biased) advice and some suggested remedies, for which there are many commercial and free alternatives.

It’s not a bad little freebie from Microsoft. Start planning, start evaluating, start implementing. AJS

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