Part 1 It’s clear why testing is important, but how to actually test your disaster…
According to USA Today in 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina, it was estimated that 7,900 businesses in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana that were previously in business no longer existed. Many of these businesses failedas a direct result of the destruction and impact that the storm had on their capacity to continue functioning. Hurricane Katrina was a devastating tragedy to families and businesses alike. Now in its 10th anniversary and in the wake of the flooding in South Carolina and Los Angeles, we’re looking back on why natural disasters like these can have such a damaging impact on companies, and how this can be mitigated.
Natural disasters can range in impact, affecting large areas or small ones, and causing various levels of damage and disruption to companies. While natural disasters can’t be prevented, developing a DR plan for your company is vital to keeping it running and profitable in the event of a natural disaster.
The first thing to consider when planning for a disaster is location. Natural disasters can happen almost anywhere, so you always need to be prepared, even if you’re in an area where you believe they are unlikely. One thing to consider is where your company is geographically placed. Another precautionary measure is to use backup power generators with plenty of aboveground fuel supplies. Power is commonly affected during natural disasters, with power surges and an inconsistent power supply posing a risk to data.
Server virtualization and data replication are cost-effective, rapid recovery strategies that can help your company meet their recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) during a natural disaster. At Baseline Data Services, virtual machines (VM) are guaranteed to perform optimally through CPU, memory and storage Quality of Service (QoS) parameters, High Availability (HA), and VMWare VMotion. When you temporarily move your company’s IT recovery systems to our safe hot site or crisis center you are guaranteeing the safety of your data. The crisis center is also available to companies to be utilized as an office space. You don’t have to physically move any of your company’s systems or maintain a duplicate IT environment to do this either. We will protect your data 24/7/365 so that once your site is back up and running, your data will immediately be available to you and business can resume as usual.
Advice from the Past
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25% fail within one year. Do not be another statistic. Companies need to be prepared when a disaster arrives that threatens their IT infrastructure, data, and company as a whole.
When Hurricane Katrina arrived, it hit the city’s IT operations office hard. Though it was located on the third floor, the company still suffered extensive damage that disrupted operations. Lamar Gardere, the director of IT and innovation for the city of New Orleans, recounts his advice from his company’s experience with natural disasters.
- Don’t have single points of failure (SPOFs)
- Regularly test your infrastructure and DR plan
- Have a written business continuity and DR plan
- Have a secondary recovery site and/or a cloud-based solution
- Don’t house your equipment (like VoIP phones and computer switches) in vulnerable places
Another aspect of DR with natural disasters that companies commonly forget is that they can brutally impact a staff member’s home life; many will have lost their house, have a family member injured or pass away, or have seen a neighborhood that they once cherished ripped apart. Being conscious of your employees’ mindset will help create a safer and more productive workplace following a disaster, as you work on a business continuity plan and the recovery of your company’s data and IT infrastructure.
What You Can Do Now
It takes just one natural disaster to make a company realize how important it is to ensure that they can withstand more disasters in the future—that is, if they were able to recover after the first one without a DR plan. At Baseline, DR preparation, testing, recovering, and restoring are what we do, and we do it well. We offer customized solutions to meet your company’s RTO and RPO, budget parameters, and system architecture. We keep pace with current technology and our technicians have mandatory on-going training so they are well versed in multiple operating systems and their respective software applications. At Baseline, we don’t want your company to experience any loss, whether it is loss of data or loss of revenue. We want to help you now to ensure that your business will survive and thrive following any natural disaster.