Let’s proceed by elimination. Servers? Those are the things that fall over when your data centre is hit by lightning and for which you do your disaster recovery planning anyway. Desktop PCs? They’re practically nailed to your desk, so they won’t be going with you as you run for the exit. Laptops? Maybe, although battery power and hard drive fragility may be issues. Smartphone? Compact, highly portable, runs tons of apps but has such a tiny screen. So finally, is the tablet computer the best compromise for IT on the run while you’re trying to get everything else back to normal?
In business, the tablet computer appears to have polarised opinion in many contexts. Whereas some companies swear by them, others swear at them, citing poor productivity as a major reason for sticking to notebook PCs instead. To do decent typing or word-processing, you need to add a keyboard and you may find yourself accumulating other accessories or adapters as you try to turn your tablet into, well, a laptop at least. However, disaster recovery isn’t necessarily like that comfortable office computing environment. Often it’s the bare essentials, top-priority activities that count like getting emergency news bulletins out to personnel via social media, keeping sales and order handling ticking over, and of course getting those servers back up.
In disaster recovery terms, the tablet computer has rather more to offer here than in the normal, non-crisis work mode. For one thing, it can probably hold all the necessary manuals and plans with ease, including your disaster recovery plan; and reading documents from a tablet is ‘do-able’. It can also be a user-friendly and usable repository for DR-centric apps to make it a go-to resource for getting back to normal operations. And if you take precautions like switching off Bluetooth, telling it to ignore new Wi-Fi networks and decreasing display brightness, you may only need to charge it two or three times in a week. That’s not bad if you’re constantly moving around trying to get the power back on, the flood water pumped out or the roof back on the building.