Govt., large co. records were backed up in Gulf region

Most government agencies and corporations in the Gulf had good, remote backups of their data. For those who didn't, loss of data adds to the difficulties.

Government agencies and corporations in the Gulf Region had by and large done a good job of backing up their data, according to a Washington Post story.

Government institutions and large companies generally had adequate backup systems in place and data-recovery contracts with firms such as IBM to help rescue damaged data tapes and rebuild software systems. The best-prepared had backup files stored on computers outside the hurricane zone.

"I don't know of any situation we're dealing with . . . right now that the data is not recoverable," said Don DeMarco, general manager for IBM's business continuity and recovery sector.

 Still the disaster is a reminder to everyone of the importance of up-to-date, remote backups of crucial data. The Post story profiles a school IT manager who had backup tapes stored in a closet at school administration offices. That the tapes were safe and dry was largely a matter of luck.

Jacqueline Mae Goldberg, a personal injury lawyer who practiced in New Orleans, said she created backup files and stored them at her home. In an e-mail she said both places were wrecked by the storm.

"We've had a number of calls from companies in utter chaos," said Mike Sullivan, a senior vice president of VeriCenter Inc., a Texas firm that does data storage and backup. "They're at risk of losing their business, especially small and mid-sized companies."