Monthly Archives: March 2011

Lessons We Learned From Disaster Recovery Practice Day

Disaster Recovery Practice Day

We just completed a disaster recovery day, where we practice one of our potential disaster scenarios.  In this case we pretended that a database completely blew up, and the only way to restore would be from an off-site backup.  Oh, and we lost access to our internal network for documentation.  Not a likely scenario, but one that allows us to practice a lot of procedures. 

It seems like we learn something new every time, which is why I think disaster recovery practice is so important.  Below are some of the things we learned (and some that were just kind of funny)… 

  • Keep your contact numbers up to date, and make sure every team member has a copy.  You can lose precious time trying to find a phone number that you could have sworn you already had.
  • We loved using an Iron Key to store a backup of essential documentation needed in case of an emergency.  Worked great.
  • Practice the security access process at the data center for every member of your team.  How long does it take 3 IT professionals to get into the data center?  Yeah, good thing we rehearse this.
  • We are going to order an old-fashioned speaker phone for the server area.  Much easier to use than juggling phones.
  • There should be a procedure for every step needed in an emergency, even those steps that you’d think would be common sense.  Every minute saved is important.
  • Store backups of laptop power cords and cell phone cords in the server area.
  • Make sure you pick a cold, gloomy day for disaster recovery practice.  So much easier to concentrate.

But the most important step in disaster recovery is not something you do while in disaster recovery mode.  The most important step is done much earlier:  building real-time redundancy and backup redundancy into every part of your system.  This allowed us to meet all of our recovery goals and reaffirm confidence in providing consistent and trustworthy service.

How To Create Your Own facebook.com/yourname URL

find us on facebook

I’ve been envious of companies with a facebook.com/coname URL for a while now.  Because I didn’t do any research online – assuming only big bucks purchased such a URL – I didn’t realize how incredibly easy, and free, it is to setup one up.

Here’s how:

  1. Log into facebook
  2. Browse to: http://www.facebook.com/username/
  3. Enter a user name for your personal profile, and for each business/ non-profit/ etc.,  page that you are an admin for.  Choose your name wisely.

If only everything was so easy!  http://facebook.com/meetingplaceonmarket

Your Job Applicants Don’t Like Entering Sensitive Info Up Front

You’re busy. You’re hiring.  And you’re trying to reduce your time to fill.  You think, “Well, if I ask my applicants to give me their SSN, previous addresses, criminal history, and all that during the initial application, that will cut out the time to do that later.  I’ll be ready to run a background check at any time.  I’ll really cut down my time to fill!”

Yes, you will cut down your time to fill.  But you might lose some great applicants in the process.  What if I told you that you can cut your time to fill just as much, while still being nice to your applicants?  Asking for sensitive information up front erodes the trust you are trying to build when an applicant applies to your organization. Plus, it’s really time consuming for the applicant.  Instead, try this:

  1. When you invite the applicant in for a face to face interview, send an email to the applicant confirming the date and time.  (You should be able to configure your ATS to auto-generate the email upon a status update – if you can’t, see myStaffingPro.)
  2. In the body of the email, include instructions on filling out your phase 2 application.  Provide a link the applicant can use to fill out the application online.  Ask the applicant to complete the information before the interview.
  3. Configure the phase 2 application to present the information needed for a background check.  Include the ability to eSign the FCRA/ background release form so you have that on hand.

Because the applicant is excited about a face to face interview, he will be inspired to fill out the application.  His trust in your organization will not be eroded, because he has communicated with a real person.  Your time to fill is the same as if you had asked for the information up front.

Everyone wins!

Idol-Think

I have a love/ hate relationship with American Idol.  I love watching raw talent and listening to good vocals.  What makes it hard for me to watch, however, is the fact that for every person who makes it to Hollywood Week, there are thousands of performers across the country who are just as talented, but still unknown, sharing their gift in church choirs, coffee houses, or bar bands, but unappreciated and undercompensated. 

The premise of American Idol is that the best will rise to the top, and a superstar, the ‘best of the best’ will emerge.  Of course, we all know that’s not the case, especially when we see our favorites knocked out in earlier rounds.  There really is no best of the best, because choosing a winner is a matter of taste based on a small pool of applicants.  American Idol is basically a vocal popularity contest.  We all know how those popularity contests worked back in high school.

If we hated the popularity contests back in high school, why do we let popularity inform so many of our buying decisions?  Not only do we buy our music from the latest super-marketed superstar, but we make a lot of our buying decisions based on the biggest “name”.  Is it because we’re too lazy to research the options?  Is it because we don’t trust our own likes and instincts?  Is it because we want to feel like we belong?  I think in many cases it’s a little bit of all of the above.  

That doesn’t mean that the popular choice doesn’t have value, because it often does.  But when we make our decisions soley on what “everyone else is doing”, not only do we miss out on great alternatives that may not be embraced by the crowd, but we grant even more power to the perceived popular supplier, potentially resulting in fewer choices down the road.

Something to think about when you make that next purchase.