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Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Harvey – the list of destructive storms that have hit the US goes on and on, and will continue to grow. Are you prepared for the next hurricane? What happens if a storm takes the power and crashes your system – will your data survive? Surviving the next storm’s impact on your business operations means having a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place to ensure business continuity.
Determine Recovery Hierarchy
Certain parts of your IT infrastructure are more mission-critical than others. Ask yourself which systems or data must be recovered in minutes, hours, or days to get your business back to running efficiently.
For example, you may find that recovering sensitive customer information and eCommerce systems take priority over recovering your email server. Whatever the case may be, prioritizing your systems ensures that the right ones are recovered quickly after a disaster.
Pay Attention to Location
Your backup site should be in a hurricane-free zone. Ideally, your off-site facility should be located at least 100 miles away from your main location. If this isn’t possible, make sure it is built to withstand wind speeds of 160 mph (as fast as Category 5 storms), and is supported by backup generators and uninterruptible power supplies.
You should also request an upper floor installation or, at the very least, keep critical IT equipment 18 inches off the ground to prevent water damage.
Use Image-based Backups
Unlike fragile tape backups, image-based backups take “snapshots” of your systems, creating a copy of the OS, software, and data stored in it. From there, you can easily boot the virtual image on any device, allowing you to back up and restore critical business systems in seconds.
Take Advantage of the Cloud
The cloud allows you to host applications and store data in high-availability, geo-redundant servers. This means your backups can be accessed via the Internet, allowing authorized users to access critical files from any device. Expert technicians will also watch over and secure your backups, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of enterprise-level backup facilities and IT support.
Back Up Your Data Frequently
Back up your data often, especially during disaster season. If your latest backups were created on the 15th of September and the next storm makes landfall on the 28th, you could lose nearly two weeks of data. Get in the habit of replicating your files at the end of each day, which should be easy if you’ve opted for image-based backups.
Test Your Disaster Recovery Plan
After setting up your backups, check whether they are restoring your files accurately and on time. Your employees should be drilled on the recovery procedures and their responsibilities during and after disaster strikes. Your DR team should also be trained on how to failover to the backup site before the storm hits. Finally, providers, contractors, and customers need to be notified about how the hurricane will affect your operations.
As cell towers and Internet connections may be affected during this time, make sure your company forums are online and have your employees register with the Red Cross Safe and Well website so you can check their statuses.
SWK Can Make Sure You Recover from Almost Any Disaster
It’s nearly impossible to experience little-to-no disruptions during disasters like Sandy or Maria, but with the right support, you can minimize downtime. If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, browse some of our free resources to learn more about how to ensure business continuity.
Download SWK’s Natural Disaster Survival Guide here for more information.