Molly advises a fireman on how he can use his skills to help businesses protect their data from the worst. May 23, 2001 Disaster planning and recovery careers Molly advises a fireman on how he can use his skills to help businesses protect their data from the worst.
Dear Molly: I’ve read your columns about getting into the IT security field, which sounds great if you’re a private detective or a police officer, but I’m a fireman. Is there a way to use my fireman training and experience in IT somehow after I retire in a few years?
Molly says: I think disaster planning and recovery would be a perfect segue for you after spending years putting out fires and figuring out what caused them. You could use those skills to help people put their businesses back together after a disaster. You could also help them learn how to assess their situation, prevent disaster, and plan for recovery if their worst nightmares come true.
Case in point: a recent local nine-alarm fire in a business park near me has put hundreds of people out of work and shut the doors of dozens of small businesses. The small-business owners didn’t realize that one of the reasons their rent was so inexpensive was that the old buildings didn’t have sprinkler systems. Turns out the buildings were so old, the borough figured they pre-dated the fire code that required sprinklers! You, working as a disaster prevention and recovery expert, could have pointed out the problem ahead of time, thus giving the businesses an opportunity to move or get additional fire insurance.
They could have also used someone with your background to create a plan for backing up their computer systems. One of the business owners interviewed on TV stopped to pull the network server off the network and carried it out with him before the building burned to the ground. He considered it his company’s most important asset–information on that server would have been much harder to replace than inventory.
To learn more about disaster recovery and how you can use your experience and skills to help businesses, start reading about the topic now and attending some conferences. Once you have a good foundation of general knowledge, start looking for companies that specialize in fire-related disaster planning and recovery. Here are a few Web sites to get you started: The Disaster Recovery Institute International offers training and several certifications; also check out the Disaster Resource Guide and the Center for Preparedness and Training.
Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at [email protected]