In 2017, Hurricane Harvey left businesses in Texas and certain parts of Louisiana in ruins. Within the same year, Hurricane Irma devastated companies in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
A disaster recovery (DR) plan is your best line of defense when uncontrollable disaster strikes. A strong DR plan can save your company from significant revenue losses and damaging power outages. So, what's the best way to navigate the DR world? Let these tips guide you.
Determine the Disaster recovery hierarchy
Certain parts of your IT are more time-critical than others. Determine which systems or data must be recovered in minutes, hours, or days to ensure your business stays up and running.
For example, recovering sensitive customer information and eCommerce systems may take priority over recovering your email server. Whatever the case, prioritizing your systems ensures that the right ones are recovered quickly after a disaster.
Pay attention to the location
First and foremost, 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 the location is built to withstand wind speeds of 160 mph (as fast as Category 5 storms). Check to make sure that it is also 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, in the event of disaster.
Back up your data frequently
Back up your data often, especially during the 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 DR 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.
It’s nearly impossible to experience little-to-no disruptions during disasters like Harvey or Irma, but with the right support, you can minimize downtime. If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, call us today. We offer comprehensive business continuity services that every company should have.